You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. Acts 1:8
That was the prediction made by Jesus to his disciples just before he ascended into heaven. And sure enough, only a few days later it happened.
…they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1-4
· and that’s when the fun began … and the power exploded …and the world changed forever.
· Beginning on September 11th our 25th anniversary I want to do a long exploration of what happened thereafter…when the Holy Spirit came upon them in wind and fire. We’ll see powerful things that emerged in and through them and eventually set in motion events that changed the world to this very day. Amazing and true stories.
But, let’s back up a minute. So, Jesus made that prediction and it did come true…but what happened in between? What happened between Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:1?
· for one thing they went through a process of replacing Judas as a leader…with a guy we don’t ever hear much of Matthias.
· But they also did something else that in hindsight may have been the most important activity they ever engaged in…7 of the most important words in all of the Bible: They all joined together constantly in prayer. Acts 1:14
o it’s hard to sense the intensity of this from our translation
§ joined together = unanimously of one mind
§ constantly = intensely and continuously
And I believe it was this intense communal prayer that made Jesus prediction come true. If they don’t pray…the Holy Spirit does not come. If they don’t pray there is no release of power.
God does nothing except in response to believing prayer. John Wesley
This is especially true when it comes to revival. There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer. —Arthur Tappan Pierson
If the Holy Spirit is the catalyst for revival…then prayer is the conduit of revival.
· prayer – especially corporate prayer – is the means by which God unlocks heaven
· prayer, earnest passionate prayer is the channel of the power of God
There is no revival without prayer.
So…Church. We must pray. But, how? There are dozens of kinds of ways to pray. Are there some better than others when it comes to revival? Yes.
4 Essential Prayers for Revival:
1. Prayers of consecration and repentance
2. Prayers of faith and boldness
3. Prayers of abiding
4. Prayers of persistence
These are the prayers we will explore over the next 4 weeks.
AND…once again we are going to jointly participate in a 40 Day Prayer challenge. Draw the Circle, Mark Batterson With an accompanying guide
So for the rest of the days leading up to and following our 25th Anniversary it’s going to be all about prayer all the time.
Now, before we dive in I implore you to go back and watch the weeks leading up to this…especially our theology of the Holy Spirit – the catalyst for power…but today let’s begin to explo0re the conduit of the power of God – prayer
So, I’m guessing that most of you have caught at least a bit of the Olympics. We have been privileged over the past week to watch the heights of human physical skill.
· Boudia and Johnson, Michael Phelps, Simone Biles … all tore it up but I want to point out one habit they all practice …they warm up.
o they don’t just walk into their arena and start doing their thing – they prepare themselves
o stretch, meditate, do repetitions
The same is true about the exercise of prayer…especially prayers for revival.
· you don’t just dive in. you prepare
· There are a couple of kinds of prayers that are important preparation prayers.
Today I want to tell you two stories that illustrate these preparation prayers…
Joshua 3 ______________
Joshua 1-3 (1400 BC)
· 40 years of wandering
· Moses is gone/ Joshua commissioned
· at the edge of the promised land
· sent in spies/scouts
· began to get ready to cross
and Joshua says these words:
Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it." 5 Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." Joshua 3:1-5
Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.
Consecrate yourselves. What does that mean?
· Imagine Joshua shushing everyone. “this is serious business”
To consecrate is to declare something as set apart or unique or holy
· A prayer of consecration is a “stop the presses” prayer
· A prayer of consecration is a massive re-focus prayer
· A prayer of consecration is a stop what you’re doing prayer
· A prayer of consecration is a hit the reset button prayer
· A prayer of consecration is a “this is deadly serious moment” prayer
A prayer of consecration looks like hand held high…STOP! …and focus
A prayer of consecration sounds like: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed by thy name…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”
You can’t pray for revival on the fly.
· It is STOP…prepare…focus…recalibrate…and get ready prayer
· A consecration prayer always is followed by a pregnant pause and a holding of the breath.
· Something is about to happen!
There is no revival without prayer - prayer that begins with consecration.
And there is another preparation for revival prayer that accompanies consecration.
· and if consecration is hands thrown high … this 2nd type of prayer is knees to the ground
· it is the prayer of repentance.
Interestingly the Hebrew word for consecration comes from a word that means to wash and make clean…so consecration implies repentance.
But here’s a story where it is not just implied but explicit:
2 Chronicles 7:11_________
· 400 years after the story of Joshua and entering promised land
· King Solomon carries out the wishes of his father, David to build a Temple for God.
· It ends in spectacular fashion:
1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, "He is good; his love endures forever." 4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD. 2 Chronicles 7:1-4
· for a time it was all good! but watch what happened next
11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, 12 the LORD appeared to him at night and said: "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
…but…13 "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,…when things are a mess again and you all turn on me… 14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
God says: When it goes south (and it will) I will bring revival if and only if you repent.
· seek my face = come before one more mighty than you.
· to humble = to bend the knee, subjugate yourself
· turn from wicked ways = The term turn = שׁוּב, shūbh, = a radical about face.
o implied orally confessing
o and then willfully obeying
There will be no power without this kind of corporate prayer.
The Holy Spirit will not come upon us until we get on our knees.
There is no revival without prayer - prayer that begins with consecration and repentance.
What does it sound like? …repentance?
O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. O LORD, we are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. Daniel 9:3-10
O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you…because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our forefathers until now, our guilt has been great. Ezra 9:5-7
O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God I confess the sins we, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave us. Nehemiah 1:1-11
Moses was so distraught over the sins of His people that his repentance was extreme: He describes his repentance this way…
I fell prostrate before the LORD for forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water, because of all the sin we had committed,
I feared the anger and wrath of the LORD, for he was angry enough with you to destroy us. Deuteronomy 9:18-20 (Moses)
What if I told you that that is the kind of repentance that is required of us today?
The world has lost the power to blush over its vice; the Church has lost her power to weep over it. --Leonard Ravenhill
It’s time to weep…
“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time.”
―Martin Luther King Jr.
This is where we start.
1. We identify those ways we as human beings, even as a church, have willfully disobeyed God. We confess those sins.
2. We identify those ways we as human beings, even as a church, have indifferently ignored what we should be doing and saying. We confess those sins.
There is no revival without prayer- prayer that begins with consecration and repentance.
Let it begin today.