“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence—As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil—To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence!” Isaiah 64:1-2 (NASB)
Slowly, but surely more and more Christians are coming to realize that our world needs something more that any man or method can produce. Today we stand in desperate need of a mighty work of God! We need spiritual renewal (revival) among the saved! We need a spiritual awakening among the lost! It is at this point we would be wise to consider what the great old Methodist preacher, John Wesley, had to say. “Prayer is the engine that drives revival!”
If revival is the need of the hour, and prayer is the engine that drives revival, then that poses a valid question. “How should we pray for revival?” The disciples were on to something when they came to Jesus in Luke 11:1 and said, “Lord, teach us to pray!” Surely many have learned by now that the more we know about prayer, the more we understand how much we don’t know about prayer, bringing us to the place of repeating the same prayer the disciples prayed!
Add to this what Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 10 concerning the Old Testament scriptures, “These things happened as examples for us” (v 6), and “they were written for our instruction” (v 10). We are told to avoid the bad decisions of the old testament saints, but we are to adopt the good decisions! With that in mind let’s learn from Isaiah in 64:1-2 how to pray for a mighty work of revival in our day.
Notice the terms that Isaiah uses: Rend (tear) the heavens; Quake (shake) the mountains; Boil the waters (oceans, rivers); Tremble the nations! The Bible teaches God is always and every where present (theologians refer to this as His omnipresence), but Isaiah goes beyond that, asking the Lord to manifest His presence in an supernatural fashion. We see this illustrated in many of the great historic revivals. People testified in the great Welch revival in the early 1900s that the presence of God was “indisputable and inescapeable!” A woman converted in the revival in the Hebrides Islands in the mid-1900s said, “The islands were saturated with the presence of God!” Reports in the New York City newspapers in the prayer revival of 1858-59 stated that crew members sailing into New York harbor from foreign lands would fall under heavy conviction and cry out to God before the ship ever docked and anyone had an opportunity to speak to them!
It seems more than apparent that we need to learn from Isaiah and adopt his practice when it comes to praying for a mighty work of God in America today, asking the Lord to make His presence, purity and power known in an unusual way!