-by Andrew Strom.
Merely changing the structures will achieve very little in itself. It is like re-arranging the "boxes" or the outward shell. It is like trying to form a new wineskin but forgetting about the 'new wine' that goes in it.
So it is high time that we talked about obtaining this NEW WINE from God. That is what true Revival is all about.
Some of you will have read about these "2 Secrets" before. But please read this article anyway, because I am going to be applying them in a way that goes beyond what I have written in the past.
The two key questions that we will be covering in this article are: (1) How do I get into a state of "Personal Revival", and (2) How do we get from there into a state of "Corporate Revival"?
As many of you know, I have been studying Revival history now for many years. I have looked at Revivals from recent decades and Revivals from centuries ago. And after all this research, I have found that the secrets of Revival seem to boil down to 2 main things.
These things are: (1) Extremely deep REPENTANCE, and (2) A kind of "wrestling, agonizing" prayer - crying to God for the "OUTPOURING" of His Holy Spirit.
These two things have been the secrets to countless Revivals down the ages - and I fully believe they will be so again. That is why there is NOTHING more important that we need to be discussing right now.
ACTUALLY "EXPERIENCING" DEEP REPENTANCE
You have probably heard of Frank Bartleman's statement from the 'Azusa Street' Revival: "I received from God early in 1905 the following keynote to revival: 'The DEPTH of revival will be determined exactly by the DEPTH of the spirit of REPENTANCE.' And this will obtain for all people, at all times."
I can affirm that all history backs up Bartleman's words here. And I can also tell you that if you want to get into a truly "Revived"state - or a state of "personal Revival" - then DEEP Repentance is one of the keys.
What we often find is that Christians have turned away from a lot of the "obvious" sins, such as lying, stealing, adultery, etc. But there are other things that they are aware of in their lives that are not right. It is dealing with these "other things" that can be the key to a far greater intimacy with God.
Do you know that God HATES all sin, and that when you get close to God then your heart will HATE sin just like He does?
So let's get "practical" with this. Here is what you need to do to deal with these things at a DEEP level: Firstly, get off by yourself with God. You need a couple of hours or more in a quiet place alone with Him. Secondly, ask and plead with God to "shine His light" into your heart. -To show you any unclean thing, whether it be unforgiveness, lust, speaking against people behind their backs, holding grudges, little "white" lies, etc. Ask God to show you how HE FEELS about sin. Ask Him to shine His light deep inside you and show you things that you need to confess and renounce and ask forgiveness for. In some cases, you may need to go to a brother or sister and apologize to them or even make restitution. Make sure the repentance goes to the DEEPEST LEVEL possible. Confess each sin specifically to God, turn from it and ask God to cleanse you. With a lot of people it is these so-called "MINOR" SINS that are holding them back.
Here is one last quote on this subject from Evan Roberts of the Welsh Revival: "First, is there any sin in your past with which you have not honestly dealt,- not confessed to God? On your knees at once. Your past must be put away and cleansed. Second, is there anything in your life that is doubtful - anything you cannot decide whether it is good or evil? Away with it. There must not be a trace of a cloud between you and God. Have you forgiven everybody - EVERYBODY? If not, don't expect forgiveness for your sins..."
This issue of TRULY forgiving those who have hurt you can be a big one. It is important to be BRUTALLY HONEST with yourself. Is there still "bad feeling" deep inside you towards certain people? Is there a trace of bitterness when you speak about that person? We all need to get before God and repent and RENOUNCE all unforgiveness from deep within us. Going through this whole "deep repentance" process is the first key to personal Revival.
KEY # 2 - "WRESTLING, AGONIZING" PRAYER
When you study history, you soon notice that there is a specific type of prayer that you see in Revivals again and again. When I first began to study past moves of God I quickly realized this, because I came across it so often. This special type of prayer is an ESSENTIAL ingredient of Revival.
The old Revivalists used to speak of having the "spirit of prayer". They spoke of weeping, agonizing, pleading, wrestling, 'travailing' in prayer. The whole reason that these Revival preachers were so anointed and saturated with the presence of God was because they had truly broken through, right into His very throneroom in prayer, and had spent much time communing with Him there. This type of praying has always been one of the most important keys to true Revival.
Charles Finney said, "Unless I had the spirit of prayer I could do nothing... I found myself unable to preach with power and efficiency, or to win souls..." George Whitefield said: "Whole days and WEEKS have I spent prostrate on the ground in silent or vocal prayer..." Frank Bartleman wrote: "At night I could scarcely sleep for the spirit of prayer... Prayer literally consumed me." And D.M. McIntyre wrote: "Before the great revival in Gallneukirchen broke out, Martin Boos spent hours and days and often nights in lonely agonies of intercession. Afterwards, when he preached, his words were as flame, and the hearts of the people as grass."
As history shows, the church can only expect true Revival when a remnant of God's people get DESPERATE - desperate about the backslidden state of the church, desperate about the lukewarmness within them and all around them, desperate about sin and compromise, desperate about the fact that God is not GLORIFIED, that He is not truly LORD of His church, that His words are mocked and largely seen as irrelevant by a dying world. Revival will come when God's people truly humble themselves, when they replace their "positive imaging" ('Rise up, you people of power", etc), with the reality of James' lament: "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up" (Ja 4:9-10).
As was said of Evan Roberts: "He would break down, crying bitterly for God to bend them, in an agony of prayer, the tears coursing down his cheeks, with his whole frame writhing." And John Wesley asked: "Have you any days of fasting and prayer? Storm the throne of grace and persevere therein, and mercy will come down." Brothers, sisters, we need to get DESPERATE in our praying!
HOW TO "WRESTLE" IN PRAYER
Now, it is very important to realize that this type of prayer is not just for "special" people or leaders. It is absolutely one of the keys to "personal Revival" for every one of us. The Bible makes it very clear that the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man" is available to us all.
And history shows that "wrestling Revival prayer" can actually be TAUGHT to Christians. This comes through loud and clear in the book 'Anointed for Burial', which is Todd and DeAnn Burke's account of the mighty Revival in Cambodia in the 1970's. It occurred when God had already been moving there for some time. Todd wrote: "Referring to Genesis 32, I told them how Jacob WRESTLED with the Lord until He blessed him. 'If we expect power and blessing from the Lord, we are going to have to be willing to wrestle with Him in prayer and fasting, in self-denial, in taking up our cross,' I said. Then I shared with them from a devotional book by Hudson Taylor, "An easy-going, non-self- denying life will never be one of power." With that, everyone began to wrestle in prayer, and before long, the blessing came."
When these people broke up into prayer groups and began to "wrestle" with God in prayer as Todd had taught them, the result was actual "OUTPOURINGS" of the Holy Spirit. (ie. The Holy Spirit descending upon whole groups of Christians just like in Acts, with incredibly powerful results). It was an amazing time.
Notice that these Christians were actually TAUGHT to "wrestle" with God in this way. And they simply went and did it!
Early in the 1904 Welsh Revival, Evan Roberts taught the children of Moriah to pray this simple prayer: "Send the Spirit to Moriah for Jesus Christ's sake." Later, he developed this same concept for his general meetings. -Because it was vital that people plead with God to "send His Spirit" down upon them.
After all, this is exactly what Pentecost was all about. It was the 120 in the upper room, crying out to God for ten days, and then God "sending His Spirit" like a mighty rushing wind, and filling them to overflowing. In the past 50 years, there have been many powerful Revivals in which God outpoured His Spirit in a similar way. When God "outpours" His Spirit like this, it is far more than a person simply being baptized in the Spirit. -It is a general "outpouring".
In fact, an "Outpouring of the Holy Spirit" is the essence of what Revival truly is. And just like Pentecost, the result is that many become FILLED with the Holy Spirit, and many others become greatly CONVICTED of their sin. True Revival is the Glory of God coming down. It is His Spirit being "POURED OUT" in a specific place or upon a specific people. We need to 'wrestle' with God to see such an outpouring occur in our day.
Now, before you can 'wrestle' with God in prayer, here is what you
need to do:
(1) Become DESPERATE to see God GLORIFIED in the earth;
(2) Cleanse your "hands" and your "heart" so that you can truly enter into the throneroom of God;
(3) Plead with God to outpour His "spirit of prayer" upon you;
(4) Nurture His "fire" in your heart, so that you can 'agonize' in prayer before Him.
(5) When you do pray, be very SPECIFIC in 'wrestling' with God to outpour His Spirit upon YOURSELF or upon a specific group. -We all need this fresh infilling.
If you can do these simple things, then TODAY is the day when you can begin to "wrestle" with God in prayer. Do not delay. This could be the key to seeing you transformed by "personal Revival" and coming into a far deeper communion with God.
Having studied Revivals now for over 20 years, I am convinced that the road to "personal Revival" is really the same as the road to 'corporate Revival'. The major keys have always been "deep repentance" and 'agonizing' prayer.
Our motives for seeking God must never be selfish ones. We should be seeking Him for His own sake, not for what He can "do for us". It is to see HIM GLORIFIED that we ask these things.
So, my friends, all I can do is urge you to get into a quiet place and give yourself to heart-searching repentance and "agonizing" prayer until you see a massive "BREAKTHROUGH" in your Christian walk. We all need to be filled with His Spirit again and again. Since I was 17 years old, I would attribute almost every spiritual breakthrough in my life to these two 'Revival' secrets. They have truly revolutionized my life.
So what about "Corporate" Revival - where God's Spirit is poured out upon whole communities and cities? Well, what God will often do is what He did at Pentecost. -He will take His "Revived" ones and use them to bring Revival to others. In other words, if God can find a GROUP of people who have gone through "personal Revival", then He can use them to speak Truth and carry His anointing into whole areas. -And to PRAY for further outpourings.
So what does God need to find in the earth today? Simply GROUPS of "Revived" Christians who can begin to preach repentance and pray for God's Spirit to be outpoured. It all starts with people who have been "Revived".
As A.T. Pierson wrote, "From the day of Pentecost, there has been not one great spiritual awakening in any land which has not begun in a union of prayer, though only among two or three; no such outward, upward movement has continued after such prayer meetings declined."
If you are someone who decides to ACT on what you have read today, then please write to me and let me know the results, my friends? I know that these truths actually WORK in the real world because I have experienced them myself. I pray that they will truly revolutionize many lives.
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