Grow Deep: Praying With Jesus Edition, Week 3
Praying for Revival
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16b
I know a woman whose prayer life puts mine to shame. She begins her mornings with devotions of prayer asking forgiveness for her sins and praying about the Scripture she read. Then, throughout the day, she prays as her thoughts place someone or something on her heart. If she is listening to the radio while driving and hears of an accident, she prays. If she hears an ambulance, she prays for the well-being of those involved and that they know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Her evening devotions are intentional, with a list of people for whom she prays.
I reflect on my prayer life often. I wonder, “Am I asking for more than I should? Is what I am asking what He wants for me or for the other people in my prayers?” But God TELLS us to be bold in our prayers. In fact, Ephesians 3:16 (one of my favorite verses) clarifies things quite well: “That according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being. A few verses later, Paul minces no words in verse 20: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or imagine, according to the power at work within us.” Well, I guess that generates a great freedom in our prayer lives, doesn’t it? We have power. God has given us the Holy Spirit. We can pray with all boldness, because nothing is too big for our God. I cannot even imagine bigger than our God … and I can imagine pretty big!
This Pentecost, let’s pray confidently for our missionaries who seek out those who do not know about God’s perfect love and salvation. Pray for our Pastors to speak courageously and challenge us to trust God. Finally, let us pray for ourselves, to take our mission into neighborhoods, schools and our social lives. We can live bravely, because God promises us that it isn’t our words, but the Holy Spirit’s words that will sow seeds and bring others to Him!
Sunday, May 20
Read: Acts 2:1-21
At the end of Luke and the beginning verses of Acts, followers of Jesus are gathered together wondering “what’s next” after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. Jesus has promised that He will send the Holy Spirit. And that is what happened. After Jesus sent His Spirit as tongues of fire came down, immediately all those gathered were able to hear the Gospel in their own language. God began a great revival of the Spirit on that Day of Pentecost.
Reflect: Try to imagine what was going through the minds of the people on that first Pentecost? What does Pentecost mean to us today? How does Peter call us to pray? Revival begins with prayers of repentance. How do we mirror this for our children? What does it look like in your life?
Monday, May 21
Read: Psalm 85
This psalm is thought to have been written during the time of Israel’s return from exile. The writer begins by prayers of thanksgiving that God has brought His people out of captivity and restored them and forgiven them of their sins. He continues with a prayer for continued restoration and revival among the people. He prays that God will help His people live in peace, love and in reverence of God and to refrain from returning to their foolish ways. The writer has faith, trust and confidence in the goodness and righteousness of God.
Reflect: How does this prayer apply to our lives? Can we have revival without repentance? What does repentance look like? How does God use difficulties and our sin to guide us to lean on Him?
Tuesday, May 22
Read: 2 Chronicles 6:18–21
1 and 2 Chronicles are believed by Jewish scholars to have been written by Ezra. 2 Chronicles is the story of Solomon and emphasizes his building of the Temple. In these verses, we read a dedication prayer of Solomon. He asks for God’s eyes to be on their gathering and produce revival.
Reflect: How important is it for God to watch over us? To be with us in everything that we do? How do we take the prayer of Solomon and apply it to our daily walk with God?
Wednesday, May 23
Read: 2 Chronicles 7:11-16
Solomon has completed the Temple and dedicated it to the Lord. The Lord’s response to Solomon’s prayer details what will happen if His people turn from Him back to their sinful ways; it calls for His people to turn to Him in prayer for revival. He promises to hear our sincere prayers if we humbles ourselves before Him.
Reflect: Reread verse 14. What does that kind of humility look like in your life today? Does this passage make us think of things to pray for that are intangible, yet important to God (i.e., peace and for people who seek to harm others to turn from their ways and seek Him)? How can we be more intentional about praying for things that grieve God in our personal lives, in our culture, in our world?
Thursday, May 24
Read: Psalm 28:7-9
This psalm is a prayer of David who pleads with God to refrain from punishing him with the wicked. In the verses we read today, David continues with a “vigorous” prayer of praise and supplication. He addresses God as our strength and shield and asks for the Lord to shepherd His people in revival.
Reflect: How is Jesus your strength and shield? How does that knowledge help you when you speak to others about Him? What does it look like to see Jesus as your shepherd? If we pray that God will save all people, what is the burden that we carry, then, to be sure that others hear about His love and forgiveness?
Friday, May 25
Read: Ephesians 3:17-21
This is one of Paul’s great revival prayers for the church. He appeals to God for spiritual strength for the Ephesians and a knowledge that goes beyond information but translates into their day-to-day living. He prays that faith would be so infused into the hearts and lives of the Ephesian Christians that they would respond in all situations out of that faith and the knowledge of God’s love for them.
Reflect: What do you think of when you hear that Christ dwells in our hearts? Paul says that we will have the strength to comprehend how high and deep God’s love is for us, because Christ lives within us. How does this promise of strength and understanding embolden us to speak to others about Christ and what He has done for us? How does the Holy Spirit guide us to encourage one another and help those among us in need?
Saturday, May 26
Read: Acts 4:23-31
Upon the release of Peter and John from prison, the believers shake the house with prayers to speak the word with boldness! They begin by acknowledging God’s sovereign control and continue by remembering His Word. They boldly lift up their requests to Him and put their confidence and trust in Him and His power!
Reflect: Peter and John had to think that in some way, the Council may treat them as Jesus was treated before being crucified. Why do you think they were so bold? Does the Holy Spirit help us in times when we speak to others? We live in a country where freedom of speech is available to us. Still, it can be very difficult for us to speak the saving word of Grace to friends or neighbors. Why? John and Peter were so excited to see what God had done, their enthusiasm was palpable. How much did it help them that the multitudes around them were praising God and praying for them?