“When without special meetings and sensational advertising, the Holy Ghost sweeps across cities and towns in supernatural power and holds men in the grip of terrifying conviction; when every shop becomes a pulpit; every heart an altar; every home a sanctuary and people walk softly before God —This is REVIVAL! — Ownen Murphy
Such special seasons of GRACE usually only come once in a generation. So when God begins to move and open the door of revival we must be ready to respond. If not, our hopes and dreams for another GREAT AWAKENING might slip away and become this generation’s GREAT REGRET. It’s not enough for us to just discern the seasons of revival correctly, we must also respond correctly. The Scriptures repeatedly exhort us to discern the times, so we can rightly respond to the needs of the hour. When Jesus saw that His disciples were about to miss a special once-in-a-lifetime moment, He strongly urged them to WAKE UP and, “Keep watching and praying that they might not enter into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41) The Bible is filled with these wakeup calls, so we won’t miss our special moments of grace.
“Ask the Lord for rain In the TIME of the latter rain.” (Zechariah 10:1)
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while He is NEAR;” (Isaiah 55:6)
“Let everyone who is godly pray to You in a TIME when You may be found;” (Psalms 32:6)
Discerning the Times & Responding Correctly
In Daniel 9 we find another reminder about the necessity of discerning the seasons of grace. Daniel is carefully studying the prophecies of Jeremiah so he can understand the timing of God’s promised revival and restoration. He realizes that the time has finally come for all his revival hopes and dreams to be fulfilled. Now he just needs to respond correctly.
“In the first year of (Darius’) reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made CONFESSION, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,” (Daniel 9:1–4)
Notice how when Daniel realized that Israel’s time of captivity and bondage were over, he didn’t immediately begin to sing or dance. No, his very FIRST response was to humble himself, and begin to pray, fast and mourn over the sins of his nation. He stood in the gap as a true intercessor and personally IDENTIFIED with ALL the UGLY sin and brokenness of God’s people. He embraced the sorrow and repentance for their sin as his very own. He made sure that there was nothing lacking in the repentance process that would hinder the promise of revival. Is this how our generation is responding today?
Revival Opportunity or Revival Outpouring?
Many are saying that revival is already here, and the Church simply needs to learn how to enforce its Kingdom rights through faith and more power evangelism. This is definitely TRUE to some extent, but we still have a lot of UNFINISHED repentance to get done. There’s nothing wrong with calling for more faith and expectation about revival. My concern isn’t with what we’re doing, it’s more about what we’re NOT doing. I’m concerned that we’re not responding in humility and repentance in proportion to the desperate needs of our times. Without a deeper move of repentance and united intercession, I believe our hopes for a widespread revival are totally unjustified. Yes, we have a fresh OPPORTUNITY for revival today, but a revival opportunity is NOT the same thing as a revival outpouring. Only a deeper work of humility and repentance can turn this generation’s revival invitation into a true visitation!
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven… A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”(Eccl 3:1–4). Revivals are always a time for joyful singing and dancing, but revivals are also a humbling time for weeping and mourning over sin. We all should be very concerned that in the hour of America’s greatest NEED, our churches would rather dance and sing than weep and pray! Certainly there are strong signs of a coming revival all around us — The Holy Spirit is already at the door waiting to be poured out. But like Daniel, we must know how to respond correctly with fasting and prayer. We must FIRST repent and intercede on behalf of our backslidden churches and stubborn nation. Then (and only then) will our faith declarations about a coming revival be justified and confirmed.
An Opportunity for a Right Response!
On this coming February 28th thousands of believers across America will come together and pray for our nation’s colleges. I truly hope these gatherings will be triumphant celebrations of great faith and joy — I hope there will be dancing, praising and singing in God’s presence. But I also pray these gatherings will be much MORE than just a time to dance and declare the coming blessings. I hope there will be TEARS of travail and intercession for our nations sins. I long and pray to hear the sobs and broken cries of deep repentance — The sound of mourning over a nation that has lost its way and forgotten the God of their fathers. On this coming February 28th let’s agree TOGETHER to examine our hearts and rediscover the ancient pathways of humility, repentance and weeping intercession.
— David Smithers