B. Motives for Seeking Revival
a. First motive: for God’s sake
1. Being God-centred
We must never forget that the first priority in our lives is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind (Matt 22:37). It is loving God for himself, not for what we can receive from him.
When Moses was faced with the daunting call to lead Israel into the Promised Land he prayed to the Lord asking “Now show me your glory” (Ex 33:18). That should be our motive for seeking revival. We should seek God before we seek Revival.
The Psalmist writes: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? … You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psa 42:2; 63:1).
Revival means experiencing the awesome presence of the Lord in greater depth than ever before.
Duncan Campbell said: “Revival is not churches filled with people, but people filled with God.” Roy Hession described revival as follows: “Revival is just the life of the Lord Jesus poured into human hearts.”
Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote: “Our essential trouble is that we are content with a very superficial and preliminary knowledge of God… we spend our lives in busy activism… The inevitable and constant preliminary to revival has always been a thirst for God, a thirst, a living thirst for a knowledge of the living God and a longing and a burning desire to see Him acting, manifesting Himself and His power, rising and scattering His enemies.” [i] He also said “A revival, then, really means days of heaven upon earth.”
Our first aim should be to hunger and thirst for God, to seek his awesome presence. We should pray for a deeper hunger and thirst for God.
When we come to pray for Revival we need to dwell on the presence of God. The following might be helpful:
The Lord is here – just above us. Yet he fills the universe.
He is silent. Yet he wants to speak to our hearts and minds.
He is still. Yet he wants to guide us.
He is gentle. Yet he is all-powerful.
He is holy. Yet he welcomes our attention.
He is majestic. Yet he waits for us to notice him.
He is love. Yet he is largely ignored.
He is grieved. Yet he forgives.
He is offended. Yet he restores.
Those words should give us a strong motivation for seeking Revival. God in his glorious but invisible and silent presence is largely ignored by the vast majority of people in our society. But it is also true that many Christians don’t take anywhere near enough notice of him. They’re so busy with their lives and even sometimes with church activities and committees that they don’t take adequate time to pray. And when they do pray they’re so full of requests and words that the Lord finds it difficult to get a word in edgeways. We need to seek the Lord for his own sake and to let him get through to us.
It is wonderful that I can sit consciously in God’s presence, seeing him with the eye of faith, hearing him with the ear of faith. He is looking at me, hearing me, expressing his infinite, eternal love to me, whether or not I receive any thoughts or words. This is awesome. The immanence, the intimate presence of an all-loving Father. My heart is lifted towards him. My whole self is inspired by his presence. My mind is filled with adoration. My soul thirsts for him. His awesomeness overwhelms me. And he’s there all the time, even when my attention is on other things.
God is searching for people who will spend time with him and listen to him, then pray to him because it is through such people that he can fulfil his desire to bring Revival. They don’t have to be ‘important’ people. It is well-known that God greatly used two ladies in their eighties, one of whom was blind, in bringing about the 1949-52 Lewis Revival. But there were others too. They spent time seeking God for his own sake and listening to him.
We should be profoundly grieved that God is largely ignored in the world (as well as blasphemed and rejected). That should be our top priority for praying and preparing for Revival.
Our top motive for deciding how to behave should not be “Does it please me?” or even “Does it please others?” but rather “Does it please God?” A constant thought should be “Is the Lord pleased?” We can bring pleasure to God and that should be the most important consideration in our lives. God is love and love yearns for love.
If this is our top motivation we shall want others to love him and please him too. And the most effective way of achieving this is through Revival. We need to ask God to make a desire to love and please him ourselves dominant in our thinking and to pray for Revival so that many others will love and please him. Revival, first and foremost is for God’s sake.
We should also remember that Revival is not an “it” which God sends. Revival is Him. So we should pray: “Lord, come in revival power.” First and foremost, it’s all about Him.
BEYOND THE VEIL
There is a veil between the beauty of the earth and the unimaginable beauty of heaven. It is as if you dwell in a magnificent parallel universe.
Reveal your majesty, O Lord. You far transcend all power and authority, all understanding and imagination, all created things. You are high and lifted up. Reveal your majesty in Revival, O Lord. Catch me up into the edge of your overpowering glory, for more than that I could not survive.
A MEDITATION ON THE GLORY OF GOD (using biblical imagery)
The appearance of the likeness of your glory, O Lord is like a violent storm – an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The centre of the fire looks like glowing metal. There is a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome. Above the vault is a throne of lapis lazuli, on the throne is a figure like that of a man, who looks like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and brilliant light like a rainbow surrounds him.
You, the Ancient of Days are on the throne. Your clothing is as white as snow; the hair of your head is white like wool. Your throne is flaming with fire. A river of fire is flowing, coming out from before you. A hundred million stand before you.
Lord Jesus, you are the Son of man. Your eyes are like blazing fire. Your feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace, and your voice is like the sound of rushing waters. Your face is like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”
Under your feet is something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky.
You who sit enthroned have the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shines like an emerald encircles the throne. From the throne come flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. …. Also in front of the throne there is what looks like a sea of glass, clear as crystal … Day and night the heavenly host, including 100 million angels, never stop saying: ‘“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,”who was, and is, and is to come’ And ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.’” They also cry ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!’
(Relevant references: Ex 24:9-11; 24:17; Psa 9:3-9; Isa 6:1-4; Ezk 1:4-28; 8:2; 10:1; 43:2-5; Dan 7:9-10; Luke 9:29; Heb 1:3; Rev 12:12-16; 4:2-11; Rev 5:6-14).
[i] Martyn Lloyd Jones, Revival, Crossway Books (1 Feb. 1987), Chap 7