Prayers We Don’t Mean

Repentance | Revival – is what happens when people get right with God and with one another. If you’ve been in church very long you’ve probably heard someone say, “We need to pray for revival!” You may have even prayed for revival yourself. All too often when we ask God for revival what we’re looking for and what we get is not the same thing. I think it’s because our expectations are off. Praying for revival is like praying for patience…you better not do it till you’re ready to confront God’s answer. Why? When you pray for patience God doesn’t magically transform you into a more patient person. He places you in situations that allow you to BE patient. Like exercising a muscle these circumstances allow you to exercise your faith in God and cause you to grow in patience. Certainly the Holy Spirit is at work in you transforming you into the beautiful picture of grace God intended. That transformation is both refined and tested in the every day decisions of life. Have you prayed for patience? The Holy Spirit is giving you patience and, as the result of your simple obedience, giving you the opportunity to test and strengthen the patience He’s placed in you. If our prayer for patience goes ‘unanswered’ it’s much more likely that we missed an opportunity to obey God than it is that God ignored or denied our request.

I believe there’s a whole string of prayers God answers in this manner. We pray for courage, God places us in circumstances that allow us to be courageous. We ask God to take away temptation and God reveals to us changes we should make in our lives that affect our habits, hobbies, and schedules. We pray for our family to be strengthened, God places our family in situations where the members of our family can come together. Do you see the pattern? It seems to me there are some prayers we can pray and know without a doubt that God’s answer will be YES! Prayers for faith, wisdom, the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control); prayers that ask God to deliver us from temptation and mature us in holiness; these prayers God ALWAYS ANSWERS YES! The question isn’t whether or not God says yes, it’s whether or not we will follow through in simple obedience to Him once we’ve received His yes. Make sense?

The same is true for revival. When you pray for revival God’s answer is YES! But He doesn’t magically sprinkle you with holy water so you can suddenly start thinking happy thoughts; fly off with Tinker Bell to Never-Never Land and live the rest of your days as some kind of spiritual giant. When you pray for revival God opens your eyes to SIN in your life. He begins to show you those areas of your life that aren’t completely surrendered to Him. Through His Holy Spirit He prompts you to repent, to agree with Him regarding the nature of your sin and to give that sin up for good.

There’s a subtle play on words in that previous sentence. Giving up the sin He convicts you of is something you need to do for good, meaning forever. It’s not about turning over a new leaf – you’ll only find old dirt. It’s about trusting God, agreeing with Him and simply obeying Him as each moment you make your choices based on His leadership and Lordship in your life. You do this for good, meaning forever. It’s also something you do for good, meaning for the sake of righteousness. Daily I make choices based on what I think is best for me. Will my choices be for good or for ill? The choice is yours and the answer revolves around simple obedience to Him.

As a Believer you’re already forgiven. With revival and repentance the question is not whether or not you’ll be forgiven, the question is whether or not you’ll be useful to and used by God. He want’s to be an active part of your life. The degree to which He is involved in your life is up to you.

Just like with patience, when we’re in the middle of the situation we’ve asked God to give us we can either BE patient or argue with and blame God for the fact that we’re not patient yet. When God reveals sin in our lives we can either argue with Him about who’s right and who’s wrong; we can get depressed over the fact that we’ve messed up again; or we can agree with God, repent and simply obey. The last option is revival – people getting right with God and with one another. When you pray for revival His answer is always YES! He reveals sin in your life – not so you can argue about it; not to depress you; not to degrade you, but in answer to your prayer for revival, for holiness.

 This week, pray for revival; ask for repentance and be ready for what God will do. It’s not holy-dust sprinkled into your life. It’s God lovingly revealing where you’ve missed the mark, reminding you that you’re forgiven and showing you how to overcome to the end.

 

Love y’all, God Bless,

Chad

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