The movement that started at Asbury is just part of what God is doing. We can all play a part and that is what this note is all about. –
What Causes God to Pour Out His Presence?
Lord, we pray that the revival fire You ignited at Asbury would not go out. Show us how to keep the fire going, God, and how to participate in what You are doing across America.
As we have watched the events unfolding at Asbury, the questions I have been asking (and hearing others ask) is: What causes revival? And how do we “host” His presence?
In our yearning for a mighty move of God, aren’t these the questions we should all be asking?
Revivals, awakenings, outpourings, renewals — these have occurred repeatedly throughout history, and they have been defined in many different ways. But I believe they all have one thing in common: an increased awareness of and desire for the presence of God. These moments in time have had different themes: the salvation of souls; the planting of churches; the release of spiritual gifts; the desire for personal holiness; and the sending out of missionaries, among other things. Sometimes those in the midst of an awakening are aware of the theme of what God is doing, and sometimes they are not.
What can we conclude? How can we participate in this current awakening? Is it possible to even encourage the continuation of spiritual outpouring?
Let’s look at four principles that are critical to fanning the flames of revival:
- Humility is key. – The Scriptures describe Moses’ relationship with God this way: The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend … (Exodus 33:11 NIV). No other person in all of Scripture is described this way. What could qualify him for such a special relationship? I believe the answer is in the uniqueness of Moses as described here: Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the earth (Numbers 12:3 NIV).
The Hebrew word translated “humble” — anav — has the meaning of “bowing one’s mind.” The realization that was always at the forefront of Moses’ conscious mind was that he did not have in himself all that he needed, nor did he possess in himself what God possesses, but he did have access to the power of God’s wisdom and grace for any situation. Humility is what positions us to host God’s presence.
The quickest way to cause the presence of God to evaporate is for individuals to begin taking credit for the start of a revival, or for them to be seeing themselves as somehow special enough to have sparked it. Those who attempt to capitalize, for personal gain or to build their own ministry, on what God is doing will quickly see His presence vaporize into thin air. So, this has been my most prevalent prayer: that the leaders who are a part of this revival would walk in humility.
- Expectation is always present. – There is always the faith that God can and will break through at any moment. This is the hard part of outpourings: We spend more time hoping for and expecting them than we do actually being in the midst of any. We need to relish those moments when we are in a revival, as we are right now. Thousands have participated in corporate encounters with the Lord directly, and hundreds of thousands more have done so indirectly, online.
What a great faith-builder it is that we can watch the videos from Wilmore and witness the sincerity and innocence in the eyes of those attending. We need to relish the moments when heaven breaks through, and we must realize that the pursuit of these outpourings will be where we spend most of our lives.
- A community in prayerful pursuit of His presence is critical. – The first outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts came as a result of a group of the early disciples who were meeting together and praying: They all joined together constantly in prayer … (Acts 1:14 NIV). They had to be together so that they might recognize the work of the Holy Spirit. The context of their community was constant prayer. The corporate activity of looking upward, that deep desire to host His presence — this is an atmosphere God responds to.
Certainly, leaders can encourage this, but what we really need is to pray that God would ignite a personal passion in people for fervent prayer. Such a yearning then flows naturally and becomes unstoppable.
At a Tuesday evening prayer meeting in 1727, 14 people gathered inside a small chapel in Herrnhut, Germany, to pray all night. They had a glorious evening of prayer and were greatly impacted, so much so that the following Sunday, their pastor threw himself on the ground — which in turn resulted in a prayer meeting at the Wednesday night service that launched sessions of “hourly intercession” for the next 100 years. Yes, you heard right: a prayer meeting that lasted 100 years! God’s presence is attracted to unified intercession.
- Holiness is a result. – An encounter with the living God will always change you. Think of Isaiah, who, despite his calling as a prophet, had a visceral, emotional reaction to encountering God: “… I am a man of unclean lips.” The stark contrast between us and a holy God brings out in living color just how distinct He is. We don’t bump into Him to some little effect; no, our interactions with Him are a clash to the senses — in which we must grapple with our own limitations and brokenness. Being in the manifest presence of God causes us to become undone, with a deep sense of the futility of our own attempts to find satisfaction in life outside of Him. Any unholy attempts at personal fulfillment come into stark clarity as being unhealthy and sure to bring only negative results.
Part of the lifestyle change is also the realization or release of destinies and callings. The 1806 Haystack Prayer Meeting revival moved out from just five college students — who were literally meeting under a haystack in Williamstown, Massachusetts — to the birthing of the modern-day Protestant missionary movement in America. More missionaries have been sent out to the world from America than from any other nation. All of this because a small group of 19th-century college students came to understand that God had an assignment for them.
God has been putting a passion for prayer and intercession upon the hearts of millions at an accelerating pace over the past five years. This has been a remarkable time to mobilize prayer for our nation. No coercion is needed. No slick marketing is necessary. God is moving!
Could it be that all those who have been praying passionately for this nation over these past five years had a part in this recent Asbury revival? Absolutely!
And could it be that with such a large and powerful stirring taking place already, the Asbury revival will keep growing to spread all across this nation? That is our prayer.
Source: YouVersion Devotional