Fresh Encounter: God's Pattern for Spiritual Awakening
By: Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King
Chapter 13 Review - The Role of Prayer in Revival
Prayer is a very powerful tool graciously given to every believer. But what is prayer? Simply put: Prayer is communicating (speaking) to our heavenly Father.
Through prayer we confess sins, ask for forgiveness and commit to live for God's glory. In theory prayer sounds pretty straight forward and easy. Yet for many prayer is difficult, lacking and shallow. Why? Of course every person will have a different story and issue when it comes to prayer. But generally speaking, I'd say that two of the major issues in prayer is (1) knowledge and (2) commitment.
(1) Knowledge: What do I mean? It's difficult to talk with someone you don't know well. Think of your closest friends. Conversation is easy and flows. Now think of meeting a stranger for the first time. Conversation seems choppy and shallow. The foundation to a great prayer life is a solid understanding of who God is as revealed in the Scriptures (Bible).
(2) Commitment: What do I mean? Obviously when you are talking to the God of all the universe it's different then talking with your good friends. Whenever we encounter God through reading the Bible and prayer there is an expectation of change. As believers we have committed our lives to becoming more like Christ. Prayer forces our hands. How can we come before a holy God and not walk away committed to being different than we were before? I fear many believers don't pray because they don't want to be faced with having to choose between God and their sins.
These ideas lead us to page 172 where the authors write:
Today many want to see revival come, but they are not prepared to cry out to God in prayer with the fervency and humility required. Jonathan Goforth noted, "The history of revival shows plainly that all movements of the Spirit have started in prayer."
Then on page 181 they write:
Are you willing to adjust your lifestyle significantly enough to be the kind of prayer warrior God will use to change your family, your church, your city, your denomination, and your nation?
The key to a vibrant prayer life is our willingness to acknowledge that God's ways are better than our ways. His will, His desires, His paths, His plans...ALL better. And you will know His will, desires, paths and plans when you know Him personally. Therefore, study the Bible to know more of who God is and pray with an expectation of committing to becoming more like Christ.
Chapter 14 Review - Corporate Hindrances to Revival
On page 184 the authors write:
One of the major reasons revival has not yet come - despite multitudinous praying, conferencing, and organizing - is because of corporate hindrances. Corporate hindrances are church practices that hinder rather than facilitate revival.
By allowing unbiblical theology as well as secular methodology to permeate their activities, church practices can actually quench the Spirit's work rather than promote it. In this chapter we'll consider eight obstacles to revival prevalent among churches today.
These eight obstacles are outlined on pages 184-191:
(1) Misleading Terminology, (2) Misdirected Appeals, (3) Mistaken Compassion, (4) Misplaced Priorities, (5) Misleading Revival Terminology, (6) Misdiagnosed Symptoms, (7) Misguided Relationships and (8) Missing Prayer.
Just as individuals are in danger of straying from sound biblical teaching so is the church. The church must diligently work to stay true to God's plan and design for His church. We must remember that numbers isn't the goal...glorifying God is the goal. Yes, we pray that many will be saved but we don't seek numbers at the expense of being obedient to the Word of God. Remember, a church with 50 people attending could be more faithful in glorifying God than a church of 50,000.
The church is called to make disciples, not to have mega marketing campaigns to get more people. As a church we must continually remind ourselves that God's ways are better than our ways.
May we at WFBC seek to glorify God as He has commanded us in the Bible.