Praying the Revival Scriptures
By Mark D. Partin
As one of our Sunday worship services ended and the last prayer was prayed, Mrs. Helen lingered behind, leaning on her walker. Mrs. Helen is a 77-year-old widow who has been a part of our church for many years. She is a godly, God-fearing prayer warrior—a woman of deep faith.
“Revival is coming,” she said. When Mrs. Helen speaks, I listen. I thanked her and rejoiced as I hurriedly made a note of the date and the encouraging words she spoke.
The following week, a faithful man in our church dropped by my study and said, “God told me revival is coming. We better be ready.” My heart leaped with joy and again I wrote it down and dated it. I heard those words more than a year ago. Although revival has not happened yet, I pray daily with expectancy for true revival to come to our lives, our church, and our country.
Praying with Earnestness
Every revival throughout history has been directly related to prayer. When followers of Christ become desperate and long for God to move in revival, we will cry out to Him. God responds to the cries of His people. And, I have found the best way to cry out to God in prayer for revival is by praying Scripture—His very Word—for that revival.
Are you desperate enough to do whatever it takes? Are you willing to pray with earnestness according to God’s promises? How does a church or an individual go about praying for revival? Make no mistake about it—the primary venue God uses for revival is the local church.
My own church experienced a mighty outpouring of God’s presence in 2006 when a four-day meeting turned into six weeks. We met every day for 40 days, seeking the face of God together. Services began at 7:00 p.m. and lasted until 11:00 p.m. or later each night during those 40 days. The “afterglow” lasted 11 months. Many people arrived at the church at 8:00 a.m. to pray; others stopped by during their lunch breaks. Everyone brought a hunger to desperately seek the face of God. They came longing for God and for His presence.
And God responded by coming into our midst in a powerful way that refreshed and revitalized us.
Even So, Come
The Book of Revelation is a book for revival. The ending verses offer a clarion call: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20, NKJV). Revival is about Christ coming into our lives, our churches, and our land.
Much of what happened in the Church of Ephesus in Revelation 2 shows a church in desperate need of revival.
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold I this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Rev. 2:1–5).
The Church of Ephesus was much like our churches today. It was a busy and hardworking church that did not tolerate false teachers or false doctrine. It was also a discerning and persevering church. However, it left its first love. It was busy, but barren—substituting routine for relationship. Even with all its good attributes, this church needed a fresh touch, a fresh awareness of God. It needed revival.
There are several revival principles in this admonition to the Ephesus Church. Some are evident, while others lie beneath the surface. We can clearly see the principles of remembering, repentance, and repeating the first works. We remember who God is: He is sovereign, holy, and majestic. We remember His mighty acts and His salvation. We bow before God in repentance, turning from our sin, and crying out to Him for forgiveness and cleansing. We return to those things we did at first, which were motivated by love for God and fulfilled by yielding to the Holy Spirit.
Also included in this passage are the revival principles of humility, confession, seeking God, and abiding in Christ—making it a helpful template for scriptural revival prayers. If we want to see revival come to our churches and nation, we must learn to pray biblically and with the expectation that the Lord longs to renew and restore His Church.
Prayers of Hope
Here are some principles and sample prayers that are biblically based and filled with hope that God might move again throughout our churches and in our nation with another great awakening.
- Pray for Christ to be in our midst, and for His presence to be real and moving among us: Father, I come to You, seeking to align my life with You. Oh, God, I plead with You to show me any area where I have failed You. As You examine my life, show me how I have left You as my first love. All of my good works and ministry mean nothing if I do not love You fully. All of my doctrinal soundness is worthless if I have forsaken my first love, the Lord Jesus. My discernment is useless if my love for Christ is not foremost in my life.Your Word does not say that I “lost” my first love—but that I “left” my first love. I am responsible. I have sinned. We, as Your Church, have sinned. I am listening and my heart is ready to receive Your truth, Your rebuke, and Your restoration. Show me the error of my ways and make a path for me to return to You. I pray this for Your Church, as well. Allow Your Church to understand how we have left our first love. We can be so busy serving You and yet barren of any lasting fruit. Walk in our midst and expose our sin. Forgive me. Forgive us. Fill us with Your holy presence. Revive us to the fullness of Christ in our midst.
- Pray that we will remember God’s greatness and glory in our lives: Oh, Father, help me to remember Your greatness and majesty. Transform my mind so that I keep my focus on You. Enable me to remember when You saved me and sealed me with Your Holy Spirit. Remind me of the joy of Your love. Awaken my love for You—not for ministry, not for another Bible study, not for fellowship with other believers—but a hunger for You. Unleash a desire to be with You. May I rest in You and know You with greater intimacy. Through my repentance, may I know Your joy, peace, and strength. Oh, Father, send revival to Your Church—and begin in me.
- Pray in repentance and brokenness: Heavenly Father, teach me repentance. Show me how my ways are empty and full of sin. My theology, my ministry, my works and labor all fall short of You and Your glory. It is so easy for me to believe that my works are not evil or wicked—and therefore acceptable to You. They are not. Anything I have done in my flesh or initiated on my own reeks of sin. Isaiah 64:6 describes my best works as filthy rags: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins are swept away.”Father, forgive me—forgive us, Your Church. We become program-driven and purpose-driven, but we fail to be Person-driven. Show us how to repent and corporately confess our sins. Show Your Church our pride, unbelief, greed, bitterness, and stubborn rebellion. Oh, Father, enable me to humble myself before You in honesty and brokenness, confessing these sins so I can be cleansed and forgiven by the blood of Christ.
- Pray that the lampstand, the illumination of Christ, abides with us: Father, Your Word says if we do not repent, You will remove Your lampstand from our midst. Lord, have we been meeting in the dark and not realizing it? Have we been moving by momentum and machinery, but not by Your Spirit? Your lampstand distinguishes us from every other humanitarian society in the world. Your lampstand illuminates, directs, and warms us. Father, help us repent so we will not lose Your illumination.May I repent completely so that I am not lighting my own fire: “But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment” (Isa. 50:11). I may appear religious and devoted on the outside, but be barren and empty on the inside. Father, it is only by Your Holy Spirit that I can know the conviction of sin and the conviction of true righteousness. Let Your Holy Spirit move freely, illuminating, directing, and giving understanding to my heart and to Your Church. I pray for a Spirit-initiated and Spirit-led revival.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to be the One producing the works: Father, teach me to return to the first works that You did through me by Your Holy Spirit. Lord, let me understand that in the energy of my flesh I cannot produce anything that will last or bring You glory. Everything I do on my own is wood, hay, and stubble in Your eyes. You are only impressed by what Your Holy Spirit does through me.Father, I am Your “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. 2:10, nkjv). These good works are produced from lives empowered by the Holy Spirit as we walk in fellowship with Christ. Oh, God, let me walk in fellowship with You and know the fullness of Your Spirit. Let me do good works that can only be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. If I fail, I lose my testimony. If the Church fails, it loses its testimony to the world—and You will remove the lampstand.
- Pray with desperation for God to move: Father, I am desperate for You. Your Church is desperate for You to move in our midst in revival power. Apart from Your reigning presence, power, and glory—we have no hope. I pray as the Apostle John did, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20, nkjv).
Though revival has not yet returned to bless us again, I remember the words of Mrs. Helen: “Revival is coming.” We will continue to pray the truth of God’s Word with expectation and anticipation.
MARK D. PARTIN is the chief officer and field director of Minister to Minister International, a ministry devoted to taking the message of revival to pastors around the world. He is also the pastor of Indiana Avenue Baptist Church, Lafollette, TN, and the author of The 40-day Reign of God. His newest book, Praying with Fire: Seeking His Presence through the Revival Passages of Scripture, was released in August 2013 by PrayerShop Publishing (prayershop.org).