EDITOR’S NOTE: This column is part of the call to prayer issued by Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, to pray for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world during 2013. Baptist Press is carrying columns during the year encouraging Southern Baptists to pray in specific areas and for specific needs in petitioning the Father for spiritual awakening.
NASHVILLE (BP) — This call to prayer is excerpted from “A Biblical Foundation for Revival Praying,” a presentation Rick Shepherd made to PrayerLink, a ministry group of state convention and SBC entity prayer leaders, during its Oct. 10-11 meeting in Nashville.
Shepherd drew lessons and directives from 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, offering four keys to praying for spiritual revival.
See Him. Look from ground level, not a self-exalted place — “humble themselves and pray, and seek My face.” Get a clear perspective. That only comes as we see God clearly and correctly. See Him. To have a clear perspective and a clear connection we must stop, we must humble ourselves. That means to deflate any inflated, self-inflated or other-inflated, opinion of ourselves, our work or our ministry that is not truly His ministry. Come level, come to the Lord. Have an honest conversation with God.
When we seek His face, we are looking for His view, what His eyes see and what His eyes say. If we must seek His face, it is because He has turned His face from us. Fellowship has ceased. In pride, we have stopped listening. We are without a humble, obedient, pliable, surrendered heart and will. Sometimes God chooses to purposefully go silent.
See us. We must view ourselves from His perspective, from His Word, by His Spirit, what He knows and says about us, about each heart — “whose heart You know for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men” (2 Chronicles 6:30).
When we look up to Him, He reveals Himself and He reveals us. As He reveals sin, we confess or agree that it is sin, agree to turn away from it and agree to turn to Him and His way. It is not simply dealing with a few sins; it is dealing with “wicked ways,” the way we think, the demeanor and mindset opposed to Him and His ways.
See His way forward. We pray in faith, like Enoch (Hebrews 11:5-6). Because we believe God is who the Scriptures say He is, we keep coming to Him. We diligently seek Him. Our faith in Him, in who He always is, moves us in diligently seeking Him, seeking His face. What is His way forward and how do we receive what He wants to give, do and say?
See His will. See what He wants to do. Here, we can be part of what He is ready to do in many lives — hear, forgive and heal. He is ready to hear, to forgive, to heal and do His new works. He promised His people in 2 Chronicles 7:14—”then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Psalm 46:10 states: “I will be exalted among the nations … in the earth.”
He hears from heaven, from “control central.”
He forgives sin, any and all sin. He promises restored relationships and rich fellowship.
He heals the “land,” referring to the actual land in the Old Testament, but the Old and New Testaments go beyond that. God focuses on the relationships that affect everyone living in the land. The New Testament emphasis is on Christ. As the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, Jesus heals in many dimensions.
Obviously, He heals spiritually for time and eternity, but also physically, emotionally, mentally and even geographically for His purposes. That is not all. Ultimately, He heals the whole earth. It is the Messiah, the Christ who comes to reign and heal the very earth, reversing the curse and revealing His healing touch throughout the earth in the millennial reign (Isaiah 2:1-4, 11:4-16, 12:1-6; Revelation 20:4-6).
Every revival in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, in church history, in any country, region, community, church or individual life, has dealt with these factors in one way or another.
Today, we need to pray. We need to look up and see Him, look in and see us, and look forward, seeing His way forward. Finally, we need to look out and see His will.
Rick Shepherd is team strategist for the Prayer/ Spiritual Awakening Team of the Florida Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).