By Patrick Hawthorne
The Lord has stoked within me a burning desire for a subject that holds different meaning to different people. It is the subject of revival. In my last post, Revive Us…Revive Us for What? (https://servinggrace.com/2017/01/07/revive-us-revive-us-for-what/), I asked the question, “Why are we asking for revival?” To this, I received many wonderful responses. However, one response stood above the others in that it addressed the heart of my concern. It came from fellow blogger and teacher, Mel Wild.
“I guess my problem with some of our praying for revival is not the heart behind it, but that our notions of revival actually keeps us from living in revival. Our paradigm is rather Old Testament. God comes and goes, the Holy Spirit only visits rather than inhabits, it’s a “please don’t take Your Holy Spirit away from me,” prayer, when, in reality, we are in Christ in heavenly places in God (Eph.2:6), and He inhabits us continually. What we need is greater awareness of Who’s in us, not living as orphans, waiting for God to come and rend the heavens, but living under an open heaven as His sons and daughters everyday, growing in grace, from glory to glory! (Underline Mine.) Mel Wild
It is sad to say but Mel is correct. To many in the Body, revival is considered a request for a visitation from the Holy Spirit rather than a desire for His full time habitation. For others, it is a “feel good touch” meant to soothe the conscience of those who have lost their anguish for lost souls. For most, it is a failure to realize that revival means to be raised from the dead…to be revived.
Who do we blame this death on? Do we blame it on the hardness of the heart of the lost? Are they the ones responsible for the coldness found within many of our churches? Consider the words of Oswald J. Smith from his book The Revival We Need, first published in 1925.
“Oh, no, my brethren, the fault is ours; we are to blame. Were we what and where we ought to be, the signs would still follow as in the days of old. Then should not every failure, every sermon that fails to break the people down, drive us to our knees and result in deep heart searching, and humiliation. Let us never blame the people. If our churches are cold and unresponsive, it is because we are cold. Like pastor like people.
I don’t necessarily agree with laying full blame on the pastor. However, to view the heart of the congregation as a whole, one may need only view the heart of the pastor. If the pastor does not pray, neither will the congregation. If the pastor is not in full expectation for a move of the Holy Spirit, nor shall his or her congregation be in expectation. If the pastor does not anguish over the lost, how then shall their congregation anguish? Truth be known…they wouldn’t
O’ that we would dare to pray the prayer of John Smith, “Oh, give me souls, or else I die!” Again, I ask the question, “Why are we asking for revival?” Be blessed.