(Scripture Portion: Psalm 85)
In verse 6 of this wonderful psalm, the psalmist prays for revival. Multitudes today are praying a similar prayer, and in this study we shall discover some of the things that God says about revival. Some of us have seen revivals on a very small scale, where in crowded meetings many souls have been saved, lives have been transformed and there has been a deep spirit of prayer resting upon the people of God; but few of us have seen any large-scale revivals. We have read sufficient about such mighty movements of the Spirit of God to make us long for the Lord to do it again! But – what is revival? Revival is renewal, restoration - a fresh inflow of the life, love and power of God. People faint and then, when help is brought, they revive. Flowers droop, and when placed in fresh water they revive. Christians and churches also droop, faint and need reviving. There are degrees of revival. A sick person may revive and get a little better, and then later be restored to full health and strength. The same is true with Christians and churches.
As we study this psalm let us pray that we may become deeply burdened for God to send a full-scale Holy Ghost revival in our land, and indeed throughout the world. What are the steps that lead to such a revival?
- We must confess our NEED of Revival
The psalmist’s prayer was a confession of need; it was only when he felt the need that he prayed – verse 6. Think of the need for revival:
- In the outside world. Multitudes are without God and without hope in the world (Ephesians 2:12); most of them are outside the churches, and revival is the only key to this tragic situation.
- In the Church. Many churches are worldly, formal and lacking in spiritual power and vitality. Only revival can alter this state of affairs.
- In our own lives. How powerless we are! How frequently we fail, our testimony seems ineffective, and how little we pray! Revival is our personal need.
There will never be any revival until we are willing to admit our desperate need for it.
- We must admit the POSSIBILITY of Revival.
Are we convinced that revival is possible? The psalmist was! Six times in verses 1-3 he reminded God of what He had done - “You showed… You restored“. And the fact that God has sent revival in the past demonstrates the possibility of revival coming again. Some people will not admit the possibility of revival coming in our day; for example, the ultra-dispensationalists, and all pessimistic, unbelieving, self-satisfied, worldly Christians will be slow to admit the possibility. But history, plus the promises of God, prove the possibility of revival. Look up 2 Chronicles 7:14; Jeremiah 33:3; Malachi 3:10
- We must recognise the SOURCE of Revival
Where does revival come from? Verse 6 tells us. “You …” - look up Psalm 62:11. It comes from God; it is not worked up but sent down, and therefore our eyes must not be upon men, methods, churches or denominations - but upon Him.
“When we look to man, we get what man can do; when we look to money, we get what money can do; when we look to organisation, we get what organisation can do; when we look to denominations, we get what denominations can do; but when we look to God, we get what God can do.”
Look up Psalm 62:5.
- We must employ the MEANS for securing Revival.
What is the secret of revival? It is prayer – “Will you not… ?” (verse 6) – passionate, believing, urgent prayer. Has there ever been a revival that was not preceded by prayer? Pentecost, the Moravian Revival, the 1859 Revival, the Welsh Revival, movements of the Spirit that are taking place in different parts of the world today …Look up 2 Chronicles 7:14 again.
- We must provide the CHANNELS for Revival.
God is wanting to send revival, but He needs channels - “us” (verse 6) - believers, Christians; for - “Revival is the outflow of the Spirit of God through the regenerated spirit of man” (John 7:38-39). Thus, if revival is to come, you and I are to be ready to receive the full blessing of God and to be channels through whom that blessing can flow.
- We must remove the OBSTACLES to Revival.
In verse 6 the psalmist prays for revival - “that your people may rejoice in you.” This indicates fellowship, walking with God, agreement with God (Amos 3:3) - being right with God. The greatest barrier to revival is sin. Are you right with God? Is there sin in your life? Are you living in disobedience to the Lord? Face up to this!
Many years ago D. L. Moody heard Henry Varley say, “The world has yet to see what God will do with one man who is fully surrendered to Him.” Moody said, “By God’s grace, I’ll be that man!” Will you be another? Will you begin now to pray the same prayer for your church, that the world may see what God can do?
- We shall enjoy the RESULTS of Revival.
Read the rest of the psalm, and notice several results which are mentioned: salvation (7); peace (8); glory (9); harmony (10); increase (11); provision (12); Psalm 37:23!