It’s very difficult to measure and discern if we are growing in our walk and relationship with God but one way of checking your spiritual pulse is through taking an honest look at your prayer life. Prayer expresses our desire and hunger for God. It shows how much we think we need him. It shows how much we want to communicate and relate to him. It’s a supernatural act of faith which acknowledges that no matter how busy or active we are in serving God, we can only produce fruit through abiding in Christ and relying on him. In fact Jesus said – “Without me you can do nothing”. This is such an intriguing statement because it puts our utter dependence on God at centre stage.
It’s quite possible (and I’m sure it often does happen) that the church carries on with business as usual without very much prayer and without any expectation of anything out of the ordinary. But maybe the problem is that our ordinary is not God’s ordinary. Our order of service has become so rigid that we have shut the door on a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit because it would upset the apple cart, offend Mrs. Smith who sits at the back of the church, and…well…it’s not very British. Is your church culture ready for the next move of God? Because he may come in such a way that challenges your assumed theology and rattles a few cages.
I’ve heard it said many times that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman and there is some truth to this understanding of the character and gentleness of God. But on the day of Pentecost the Spirit of God came like the rushing of a violent wind. The Scripture says that he came from heaven. He came as fire upon the disciples who were gathered. They were all gathered to pray. They devoted themselves to prayer and the word of God. Prayer was not an afterthought. Relationship and dependence on God were of central importance. They were praying and waiting for what Jesus had promised – A baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.
The Holy Spirit is also described by Jesus as “rivers of living water” (John 7:37) And if anyone wanted to drink from this river then they must come to Him – “Let anyone who is thirsty, come to me and drink”. This is a posture of prayer and dependence on Jesus as the Source of living water. Only in Him can thirsty souls be satisfied.
The great revival on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, was birthed in prayer long before it was made manifest. Two old ladies faithfully prayed for an outpouring of the Spirit. The dam had been filling up for years awaiting the Sovereign timing of God. And it was through prayer that the dam broke as a small group of men prayed.
“Lord, you have promised to pour water on him who is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground but it’s not happening. So I challenge you to fulfill your covenant engagement”
Duncan Campbell states that as this prayer was prayed a power was let loose in that place and the whole house literally shook like a leaf. The dam broke and revival power came to Lewis. Many were saved and brought into the kingdom of God. But it was all birthed in prayer which is an expression of our total dependence on God to do what only he can do.
Are you hungry for God?
Do you believe that he can move in revival power again?
Will you pray in the words of the psalmist?
Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you? (Ps. 85:6)
Richard H H Johnston, Director, Revive Us Again.
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