For years I have prayed for God to send revival. I couldn’t figure out why we were not seeing God move in power in our churches. In this last season of COVID and quarantines, I began to feel more desperate than ever before. Before everything shut down, I had started to feel complacent, and I felt we would never see revival.
I began to wonder if the promises God had made to me years ago would ever come to pass. I was even discouraged with my weekly jail ministry, and it almost felt like a chore to go and hold services. I began to doubt if it was really making a difference anyway. But when COVID came along, and I could no longer go into the jails or other venues, my perspective began to change.
It’s so easy to become complacent and start complaining about things, even when things are good. We can quickly go from blessing to blaming when our attitudes fall out of line. For me, COVID shutdowns not only restricted a lot of my traveling ministry; it caused me to take a long hard look at my attitude. I could get discouraged because my schedule went from full to nil, or I could dig deeper and prepare for the next season.
I’m so glad I chose the latter because Jesus taught me some important lessons in that time. I think the most important lesson He taught me was to quit praying for revival. That’s right, He told me to stop praying for revival as I knew it. Many of us have a concept of what we want revival to look like. We often look back to grand revivals of the past and desire that kind of great outpouring.
And I definitely believe we can see and experience that again as well as even greater outpourings. But Jesus showed me that our approach must be different. He began to give me dreams and visions of revival that looked different from anything I have seen before. People were coming to Jesus in total desperation and complete surrender.
Something had changed within them. The things of earth had grown strangely dim in their eyes as they began to look to Jesus. It was as if they had been sifted, and their focus had been shifted. They were desperate for something more than holy goosebumps, and personal blessings. They were desperate for Jesus.
And as they began to see their need for Him, they began to experience His power within them. It was in the realization of who He is, and whose they are, that revival was birthed.
Ephesians 1:18-20 (NLT) says:
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”
First, we must realize whose we are. We are His holy people, and His inheritance! We are treasured. Next, we must understand that the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us, and His power is available to those who believe—that’s us. We often pray for revival and beg God to send His power, but He already has. We carry revival within us!
The exact same power that raised Christ from dead is in us and available to us! What if we simply believed this power is within us? What if we quit looking for revival to spontaneously erupt in our church and began to step out in the power He has given us? What if we began to do what He has called us to do? This became very real to me over the past month.
I became desperate to go back to jail. Since the Holy Spirit lives within us, and He gives us power, I began to increase in praying in the Holy Spirit. I also increased my praise and worship and Bible study. I began to feel like Jeremiah must have felt—like fire shut up in my bones. I couldn’t wait for an opportunity to speak—anywhere. I was ready to see God move. I finally believed He was going to move wherever I went because I carry His power inside me.
Over the course of one month, I saw 16 people saved, nine people baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, and three who received a call into ministry. These took place in a school, in an open field and inside a jail. And this only goes to prove that we carry the Spirit of revival within us. The Holy Spirit is still the same. He has not changed. Our ideas of how and when He will move have.
The Holy Spirit’s power is displayed out of our desperation. Not just a desperation to see Him perform great signs and wonders, but the desperation to see Him change and transform lives. When we desire to see God do the miraculous for others, and not just ourselves, we will see Him move. He is just longing for someone to believe in the power that is within them.
He will do the rest!
Donna Sparks is an Assemblies of God evangelist, podcast host and author of the popular books Beauty from Ashes: My Story of Grace, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous and her latest book The Masquerade: Deception in the Last Days. A sought-after speaker for women’s conferences and revivals, Donna travels extensively to minister in churches and other venues. She also leads a vibrant and fruitful women’s prison ministry, through which she has seen God perform countless miracles in the lives of the ladies to whom she ministers. Donna boldly shares the Bible’s unchanging truths with an intense desire to equip and encourage others to step forward into the things God has planned for them. She has been married for 23 years to the love of her life, Bryan, and they have two lovely young adult daughters. Donna and her family reside in Lexington, Tennessee. Learn more or invite Donna to speak for you at donnasparks.com.
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