By Dave Butts
The issue in churches today is not that we are not praying. Every church prays some. The problem is that rarely do we pray what I call Kingdom-focused prayers.
Most of our churches are praying self-focused, need-focused prayers—our needs, our families, and things right around us. We are supposed to pray for those things, but that is only one aspect of prayer. We also should be praying every day for revival, for the completion of the task of world evangelization, for our governmental leaders, for the unsaved. Those are Kingdom-focused prayers.
In many churches, people need to move away from the common concept of revival as a week of meetings or something that we schedule. True revival is heaven-sent and is in God’s hands.
A correct concept of revival helps us know what we are praying toward. Arthur Wallis wrote, “Revival is such a display of God’s holiness and power that often human personalities are overshadowed and human programs abandoned. It is God breaking into the consciousness of men in majesty and glory.”
The South African revivalist Andrew Murray said, “A true revival means nothing less than a revolution, casting out a spirit of worldliness and selfishness and making God in His love triumph in the heart and life.”
My favorite definition is from Stephen Olford: “Revival is ultimately Christ Himself seen, felt, heard, living, active, moving in and through His body on earth.”
The whole idea of revival is a Christ-awakening. The true Church believes that Jesus is in their midst but is somehow failing to experience it. Revival crosses the great divide between our intellectual, theological, and biblical belief—and what we actually experience with Jesus’ presence.
I prefer the term “revival praying” rather than “praying for revival.” If I am praying for revival, I can become revival focused rather than focused on Christ. We want to learn to pray for what God desires to have happen—and that is the reviving presence of Jesus.
I like to think of revival praying in terms of preparing ourselves for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament talks about plowing up hard or fallow ground so that if the rain falls on it, it will not just run off. The soil is drenched with life-giving water that causes everything around it to flourish.
If we prepare ourselves for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on us, we can persist in praying to God, “Give us revival! Give us revival!” Jesus will come in answer to such Kingdom-focused prayers.
- Praise God for heaven-sent revival that is a true Christ-awakening. He’s done it before; ask Him to do it again!
- Pray that your church goes beyond belief in Jesus to experiencing the reviving presence of Jesus.
- Pray that God will prepare your church for an outpouring of the Spirit that is life-giving and causes your church to flourish in your community.
- Ask God for revival that focuses on Jesus alone and manifests His Kingdom here on earth.
- Pray that God will fill you with unrelenting faith to pray, “Give us revival! Give us revival!” Pray that you do not lose hope before He does it again.
–Dave Butts was the co-founder and president of Harvest Prayer Ministries until his passing to glory in November 2022. A prolific writer on revival, this was taken from the 21-Day devotional Do It Again, Lord! 30 Days of Hope-Filled Prayer for Revival (PrayerShop Publishing 2023).