Year after year I hear the same fervent prayers rising to heaven from many denominations and movements across the body of Christ: “God, pour out Your Spirit. Send revival.” And yet the outpouring we long for has not manifested. What gives? Doesn’t God want to send revival? Doesn’t God want to see the church wake up and rise up? Doesn’t God want to see the flood of souls come into the kingdom that results from an awakening?
Why won’t God answer our intercessory prayers? After all, James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much.” Are our prayers not heartfelt enough? Do we lack persistence? Do we lack righteousness? Does God lack the power to bring revival to our nation? Of course not! So what gives?
There’s not one single reason, but there is a solution. Some of the challenges are in the culture and some are in the church. It’s up to the body of Christ, though, to recognize and overcome those challenges because lives are at stake.
Joseph Mattera, founder of Mattera International Ministries, bishop of Resurrection Church in New York and the U.S. ambassador for the International Coalition of Apostles, offers a laundry list of modern challenges to awakening and revival.
“Many—if not most—evangelical and Pentecostal churches have only a lukewarm commitment to seeing the power of God operate in their midst,” Mattera says. “Even in Pentecostal churches rare is the evidence of the gifts of the Spirit and healing power of God in both the church services and the people’s lives.”
As he sees it American and Western Christianity is bowing more and more to the mindset of its culture, devolving into churches that offer nice programs and therapeutic messages run by corporate-style church governments and systems. In most cases, he bemoans, the simplicity and the power of the gospel has been replaced by this pragmatism and naturalism.
There is more than a single reason revival has not manifested, but one major culprit is division. I’ve long noticed a lack of unity in the body of Christ, and it has long grieved me. But the Holy Spirit has recently given me a keen awareness of the gravity of this lack of harmony. It grieves me deep in my spirit—and if it grieves me, I can only imagine how it grieves the Holy Spirit.
The anointing will flow in our churches when we come to the unity of the faith. Sure, we may disagree on whether the gifts of the Spirit have ceased or whether women can preach, but we can still unite under the Apostles Creed. And if we want revival—not just powerful meetings but sustained revival that brings true change—we must unite.
I am convinced that disunity in the body of Christ is causing more problems than we can see even with a discerning eye. I am challenging you—and challenging myself—to be in one accord and of one mind (Phil. 2:2), to put on love that binds us together in perfect harmony (Col. 3:14), and strive side by side for the faith of the gospel (Phil. 1:27), even with those who have small differences in how they view the Rapture, spiritual gifts and other issues that aren’t central to the gospel of Christ.
Having said that, let me offer a balancing word here. Pursuing unity doesn’t mean tolerating compromise or sin in the church to avoid stirring the waters. Unity doesn’t mean we ignore deeper issues that will ultimately bring destruction to people’s lives. Unity doesn’t mean preaching a gospel of inclusion. We cannot compromise the gospel. There is no revival without repentance. Unity and repentance are baselines.
I believe a fresh move of the Spirit is coming, but I believe it will take place in our response to desperation. I believe desperation is the ultimate key to overcoming every obstacle to revival.
We see plenty of examples in the Bible of God answering desperate prayers. Jairus was desperate for his daughter’s healing (Matt. 9:18-26). The woman with the issue of blood was desperate for her own healing (Luke 8:43-48). Blind Bartimaeus was desperate for his sight (Mark 10:46-52). All of these received what they cried out for. Throughout Scripture we find that when people cry out to the Lord in desperation, the Lord hears their cries and delivers them. It may not happen overnight, but it happens consistently.
America is just not desperate enough yet. But the desperation that brings revival starts with a remnant making an appeal to heaven. Are you part of that remnant?
Prayer Power for the Week of May 25, 2015
Continue to cry out to God on this Memorial Day and the week following for a move of God that would shake our foundations and establish us once again as a nation under God. Cry out for personal repentance and revival. Pray that believers would unite across denominational lines in oneness of humility, prayer and purpose, so that God would hear our prayers and heal our land. Thank Him for His protection and past provision in spite of our turning away from Him. Pray for fervent prayer warriors to rise up calling for a harvest of souls, laborers for His harvest field and worldwide revival (Matt. 9: 18-26; Luke 8:43-48; Mark 10:46-52).