(If) my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. 2 Chron. 7:14 (Msg.)
There are some who say history is bunk and at the other end of the spectrum others who believe that if we don’t learn from history, we are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past. If we scan the pages of the Old Testament, for example in the Book of Judges, we see the tragic and repeated pattern of sinful behaviour and rebellion against God by the people of Israel. God allows the nation to fall under oppression which results in repentance and recommitment, leading to restoration. However, invariably Israel’s turning back to God is short-lived and insincere. They are a stubborn and unfaithful people, and the spiral of spiritual and societal decay is ever downwards and will eventually lead to national ruin and exile. The essence of the situation is captured in the repeated phrase, “People did whatever they felt like” (Judges 21:25). A most postmodern outlook! Judges has much to say to our 21st-century society.
In 2 Chron 7:14, God makes it abundantly clear to King Solomon what His people must do. God’s requirements haven’t changed in the intervening millennia. Throughout history, every time of revival, refreshing, reformation, restoration, transformation, God-movement, awakening, awareness, move of His spirit has been preceded by a time, often years in length, of fervent prayer. These times of God’s blessing have so often been sporadic and short-lived in duration. Could this be because we do not pray for revival? Many Christians have not studied past revivals and as a result, don’t know what happens in a revival. We, therefore, have little or no basis for any expectation of one and thus no faith and desire to pray for revival. Revival, which will transform a community and nations, is almost given a “top secret” status, something not to be revealed or spoken about. The reverse must be the case!
Today how many people in Ireland, North or South, are familiar with the names James McQuilkin, Jeremiah McNeilly, John Wallace and Robert Carlisle and what their three years of soaking in prayer and Bible study in the Old Schoolhouse at Tanneybrake, Kells, County Antrim helped unleash. “The 1859 Revival” is surely a wholly inadequate description of what was probably the most powerful, tangible, and long-lasting move of God’s Spirit in Irish history since the time of St. Patrick. It changed society in Ireland and arguably across the world in a way that no government could ever do. This Pentecost Sunday let’s pray for the outpouring of God’s Spirit on Ireland again!
Heavenly Father, because You care for Your people and want all mankind to have life, You fervently desire revival in our land and across the entire globe. Your revival brings life and nourishment, preservation and restoration. Thank You for sending Jesus to give us Your abundant life. Lord of the Harvest, position Your labourers in strategic places to minister as You pour out Your Spirit on all flesh. Almighty God, show Yourself mighty and strong with signs and wonders. Amen.