And they are scratching their heads wondering why lesser developed countries are experiencing great revival while their churches here in the U.S. are not.
I believe I have an answer – one anyway.
We have gotten away from the experience.
Here in the U.S. we have gotten used to having things come rather easy for us (easier than in many other areas of the world). I am not talking about jobs or housing, but more of the nitty gritty stuff – the experience of things.
We don’t have to toil in the fields or hunt our food in order to eat. We just drive to the grocery store, lay a few dollars down and it is right there, ready to consume.
If we want heat or light or information or entertainment, just a flick of a switch brings it directly to us.
Few people in the U.S. have to build a fire for heat anymore, but maybe it would be a good exercise for us all, particularly if we want revival in our churches.
In fact, creating an environment for revival is much like making a fire. It takes work. You can’t just sit around and wait for it to happen and you certainly can’t flick a switch (like some people use prayer). It takes effort and energy – work.
You have to gather kindling and place the wood just so. Then you have to strike the flint to get the spark and light the tender. Blow on it gently to get the flames going, then place it in the kindling and wood. But even once the fire is going, you have to stoke it and tend it so that it does not go out.
Revival is like that.
As a body you have to be active – active in prayer, in worship, in praise, in fasting, in Bible study (personal edification) and in outreach.
Every member must commit to daily prayer and Bible study. This is not the quick, “Lord, help me pass this test,” or “Jesus, help me get through this meeting.” No, we must all commit to real prayer, prayer that draws us closer to Christ and builds a relationship between us and Him. That means at least 15 minutes (but that should increase the deeper you get).
As for Bible study, that does not mean reading a verse or two and maybe a devotional. No, you need to spend time in God’s Word. If you read a couple of verses, read the rest of the chapter to get the context. Read any cross referenced scripture. In other words, STUDY God’s Word, don’t just read a line of two here or there.
But once the people start showing up and the church sees growth, you can’t stop there. Like the fire, you have to stoke it and tend it. There is never a point where you can stop praying, stop praising and worshiping and stop studying your Bible. In fact, as you go deeper and see growth, you will be called to do more and more, invest more and more of yourself in it.
Revival takes effort and commitment far beyond a little singing, dancing and hand raising on Sunday morning. It means committing your life to God and making that commitment active and growing every single day.
In our ease that technology has brought us, we have lost the experience and it has bled into our spiritual life.
And until we get back to the experience, we won’t see revival.
Image by Cristof Wittwer