“The people of Israel are going to live a long time stripped of security and protection, without religion and comfort, godless and prayerless.” Hosea 3:4 (MSG)
“A church that neglects prayer becomes disunited, scattered, lethargic, and all but dead.” Charles Spurgeon
Recently we reflected on how Pride was an enemy of revival. We now consider how prayerlessness also causes revival to be delayed. Prayerlessness has been described as pride’s first cousin, relying on self and the resources self can produce. It refuses to lean on Jesus alone. Bible and church history demonstrates that there has never been a revival without much prayer. You see, prayer is the ultimate statement of (our) inability, it acknowledges deep personal and profound dependence on Almighty God.
So why should we pray?
We pray if we desire intimacy with God (Hebrews 3:7, 10), God wants us to love Him and have fellowship with Him. We pray because we need God’s guidance (Proverbs 3:6) and help (Psalm 46:1), and if we want more of His power (1Corinthians 12:31). God commands and wants us to pray (Luke 18:1; 1 Timothy 2:1), and He answers prayer (Luke 11:9). Prayer is a sign of our faith, that we trust God (Heb. 11:6). In prayer, God allows us as His creatures to be involved in activities that are eternally important. Prayer affirms how important we think God is in our lives – we are giving glory to God, displaying our dependence upon Him, that we are genuinely convinced of His wisdom, love, goodness, and power. It should therefore be no surprise that those persons God used the most have been those who prayed the most. Finally, and we do well to remember, that the Lord is our Jealous God (El Kanna) who cannot endure unfaithfulness (Exodus 34:14), faulty teaching (Revelation 2:14ff) or lukewarmness (Revelation 3:14ff).
What’s prayerlessness like?
To state the obvious, it applies when our prayer life has grown lukewarm or cold, so we have little or no desire to pray. Our prayers (if we do pray at all) lack any fervency and are little more than empty words designed to impress others. So, our church socials and dinners are better attended than prayer meetings. We would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible and pray. We can make time for sports, recreation, and entertainment but not for Bible study and prayer. It is evident that our love for God, for fellow believers and concern for the lost is gone.
Consequences of prayerlessness?
From time to time, you come across something in the Bible which really rocks you back on your feet. Samuel 12:23 expressly tells us that not to pray is a sin and we’re told it is right to pray (Luke1:18; Ephesians 6:18). Not praying demonstrates pure unbelief (Hebrews 11:6) which is made all the worse given the many promises and encouragements we’ve been given. In the context of reviving the church and awakening nations, prayerlessness is a sin because of all that fervent pleading repentant prayer can accomplish. God invites each of us to influence our community, our nation, and the world – to literally direct history while we’re on our knees. Surely prayerlessness also leaves an open door for all other sins (Matthew 6:13) because it is the root cause of all our deficiency and lack of spirituality.
The Battle to Pray
Christians must oppose evil; this is the battle we’re born for. Every Christian is a soldier in God’s resistance engaged in spiritual warfare – this must direct our focus and actions. The Apostle Paul clearly tells us (Ephesians 6) not only how to be equipped for battle but how to act effectively – we’re to pray on all occasions. Prayer is the battlefield and fully armed we are called to persevere in praying for all the Lord’s people. The battle for the lost, of sharing God’s love with people who are Satan’s hostages in a world under his control, is won by prayer and intercession. Put simply prayer is the means by which we release the hostages!
Prayer and Revival
It’s absolutely crucial to be completely clear that God is the One who revives His repentant people. It is an act of the Sovereign God, and we cannot cause a revival to happen, we cannot compel God to act. God brings revival under His conditions and on His timetable. Yet, it is evident that God wants us revived more than we do, for it is He who causes us to want to be revived, we come to Him at His invitation. God initiates revival and He brings it about when His people have met His conditions – pray – humility – seek God’s face – and repentance (2 Chronicles 7:14; Malachi 3:7).
Prayer for revival isn’t magic or some sort of a tool for manipulating God or just a ‘to do’ activity. Prayer is a relationship with God in which we respond to Him, come near to Him, and find Him. When it results in our genuine repentance, then God keeps His promises! Praying for revival is a place of preparation. As we enter God’s presence we cannot help being confronted by our sinfulness and that can lead to the repentance required for revival.
“We do not pray for revivals because we have not studied past revivals, thus we do not know what happens in a revival and therefore have no basis for any expectation of one, and thus no faith and desire to pray for revival.” Brad Tuttle
Lord, we ask You to reveal anything in our lives which might hinder revival. Lord, continue to encourage us to remain faithful in pursuing revival until You return with revival to Your church. We pray that the Holy Spirit brings a willingness on church members to join together in repenting and returning to the Lord.
Heavenly Father, we pray for the various denominations in our communities that You would send revival on them all. We pray that pastors and leaders would begin praying together for revival. Amen