Tag Archives: revival

NO Brokenness, NO Revival

Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them. The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. –Nehemiah 9:1-2

Many “prophets” of the western Church are “prophesying” that revival is coming and a billion souls will be saved. Some even say revival is here. Yet, the first sign of every true revival is sadly missing. What is that sign? Brokenness over personal and corporate sin.

Nehemiah 9 contains the longest recorded prayer in Scripture. The wall had been rebuilt around Jerusalem in 444 BC. On the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles there was a holy assembly where the Law of God was read for a fourth of the day (Neh 9:3). Upon hearing the Law of God the previous seven days, the people were broken over their sin of intermarrying with the Gentiles around them. They separated from those wives and came weeping in brokenness and repentance before the LORD God for HOURS! According to Nehemiah 9:4 the leaders, “cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God before the entire assembly. No one was looking at their sundial.

This is true revival–when God’s leaders and God’s people come corporately weeping, broken, and crying out for forgiveness before the Holy LORD God for the shipwreck they have made of their lives.

I saw this recently in Juba, South Sudan. Several students began weeping uncontrollably and cried out to the LORD for cleansing and forgiveness for their sins. Some of the men went to their brothers in tears begging for forgiveness. That is a true sign of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Do you see that in your church? When was the last time you wept over your own sins, broken before the Lord? Most churches no longer have a regular corporate prayer meetings because they devolved into “organ recitals.” Many churches no longer have a time of repentance in their worship services because “we don’t have time for that.”

Since repentance and brokenness over sin is a gift of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 2:25), what are we to do? Leonard Ravenhill stated, “the only reason we don’t have revival is because we are willing to live without it.” In other words, the status quo is quite acceptable. I have settled for that status quo. So let’s ask the LORD to make us weary of the status quo. Ask Him to give us an intolerable burden for Him and the gift of brokenness.

Ask our Father to search your own heart for hidden sins and beg Him for the gift of brokenness and repentance. Pray through Nehemiah 9 and and ask the One who brought revival in Nehemiah’s time to do it again in the church leaders and congregation where you worship. He delights to answer that prayer.

“Oh LORD God, please do it again!” And begin with me.

A Divine Desperation

Why is there no revival? Why does our nation continue its downward spiral? I believe there are more followers of Jesus praying for revival than ever before, yet revival tarries. Besides the sovereign plan of God (which is key), I believe revival tarries from the human side because God’s people do not have a divine desperation. For what? For Him! For His Presence!

To paraphrase my friend, Al Baker, a divine desperation is an intolerable burden to experience a dramatic change from the status quo. “Status quo Christianity” is how most believers live. Yet, this divine desperation for the presence of God is placed within every believer by the Holy Spirit (Ps 16:11; 42:1; James 4:5). It is why our Lord Jesus stood just east of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in John 7:37-38 and cried out with a loud voice, “if anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to Me and keep drinking of Me, and he who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

The Old and New Testaments are filled with men and women who had this divine desperation for the Presence of the LORD.

David had this divine desperation for the presence of the LORD when he cried out in Psalm 27:4, “one thing I have asked from the LORD that I shall seek, that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to mediate in His temple.” The future King of Israel thirsted “as a deer pants for the water brooks” (Ps 42:1) for the presence of the LORD. It was his deepest desire.

KIng Solomon hungered for the presence of the LORD as he fulfilled his father’s will by building the Temple and inviting the presence of the LORD into that Temple (2 Chron 6:10-11). Ezekiel wept bitterly when he saw the Presence of the LORD depart from the Temple (Ezek 9-11). Ezra was desperate for the Presence of the LORD as he cried out in deep repentance on behalf of Judah’s idolatry (Ez 9:5-15). Nehemiah had that divine desperation for the Presence of the Lord when he fasted for four months seeking the face of God and restoration of the wall of Jerusalem (Neh 1:1; 2:1). Immediately after the Ascension of the Lord Jesus, the disciples went into the upper room and “were continually devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:13-14) seeking the Presence of the Lord promised by the Father.

You, too, must have this divine desperation for the presence of the LORD. How do you get it? How do you get it back if you lost it?

First, you must repent. The Lord Jesus said to the Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:4-5, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent.” You must cry out to the Lord in deep, grieving repentance that you have lost your first love for Him, that you run to the world for what only He can truly give.

Second, you must run to the Cross. Cast all your idols, your compromising with the world, your passionate love for comfort, your going-through-the-motions worship and fellowship, and your lukewarm obedience onto your Suffering Savior. Cast them all on Him and believe He forgives you and cleanses you.

Third, as a marathoner runner disciples himself, so discipline yourself in the means of grace. Fast and pray weekly. Schedule a day alone with the Lord. Set your alarm an hour earlier each day and spend that hour in the Presence of the LORD. No longer settle for going-through-the-motions worship or fellowship. Worship Him for all He is worth each day. Do not settle for lukewarm obedience. Daily run to Him and cry out to Him that you long to obey Him in response to His infinite and unconditional love for you. Not out of duty, but delight.

Finally, cry out daily to the LORD for a divine desperation for His Presence.

I get so wrapped up in ministry and life that I lose a passion for His Presence. It is an ongoing battle with my flesh. I ask the Lord daily for a divine desperation of His Presence. He answers that prayer because it brings Him glory and because it is the place of greatest joy and pleasure for us (Ps 16:11).