Monday, September 24, 2012

Anatomy of a Revival 1: Prayer and Patience are Needed for Revival

Sometimes church consultants will look at a particular church and declare it too far gone to be renewed. The building is too run down and the people too tired and demoralized. They usually recommend that a church like this celebrate its past and shut the doors.

Its easy to get used to worshiping in a rundown building. Deterioration can happen so slowly that its hardly noticed by regular attendees. However, the cumulative effect is what visitors see. A church that needs paint and yard work can give the impression of spiritual decline.

Jerusalem had become run down like a neglected inner-city church. Once the center of worship for God's people, now it was a slum. The Israelites had been allowed to return from their exile but after many years the walls of Jerusalem were still in ruins. The physical condition of the city reflected the spiritual condition of its inhabitants. They had become content and learned to live among the rubble.

Nehemiah was heartbroken when he heard the news and decided to do something about it. He was an exiled Israelite who worked directly for the King of Persia. He had a burden to rebuild Jerusalem and was in a position to make it happen.

Vision begins with a dissatisfaction over the way things are. One person can get the ball rolling and soon others will join in. Even a simple act of painting the church or cleaning out a classroom can lift the spirits of the members. They will start to think about the future and talk about their church.

Godly change begins with prayer. Nehemiah prayed and waited patiently for months before an opportunity presented itself. The great revivals in history have all begun with the prayers of God's people.

Our hearts ought to break at the sight of a rundown church the way Nehemiah's was broken over the ruins of Jerusalem. We need people with a Nehemiah spirit to pray and work toward revival in our churches.

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace.
The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. 
For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah 1:3-4


Recommended Reading: Hand Me Another Brick by Chuck Swindoll

1 comment:

Melissa Baxter said...

I remember when you came to BT and started having groups come in and clean out closets we hadn't touched in years. They discovered many rooms that could be used again while doing their cleaning.

Thank you for being a Nehemiah at BT. As a result of your being a visionary pastor, we have found room for a school and two additional churches to meet under our roof.

Our church will never be the same!