Prayer – the Key to Revival | God’s Word Today

“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

 The Miriam-Webster Dictionary attempts to define the word “revival” as “a period of renewed religious interest, an often highly emotional evangelistic meeting or series of meetings.”  It describes the popular understanding of the word–canvas tent, flamboyant evangelist who works the crowd for the offering and an orchestrated attempt to touch the emotions of people.

Our English word “revival” comes from a French word that means “to return to consciousness of life,” simply put to have new life or live again.  In the culture and context of the twenty-first century, the term “spiritual awakening” describes what was thought of as a genuine revival fifty years ago.

And students of church history know that from time to time, God sees fit to send revival to His church, often through the efforts of only a few people who have laid themselves before God and pled with Him to bring a spiritual awakening to a church, a city, or a nation.

At the beginning of the last century such a phenomenon took place in Wales.  It began in a small prayer meeting when a teenage girl stood to her feet and said, “Oh, I do love Jesus.”  And then she broke out in tears, her heart deeply touched.  In the 1930s revival came to Norway through the prayers of a church janitor who, one day, soberly announced to his pastor, “This year there will be revival in this church.”

In the Philippines, a spiritual awakening took place at FEBIAS College of the Bible in the early 60s when Chuck Holsinger spoke in chapel saying, “The love of God, I cannot understand it,” and a spirit of supplication and prayer seized the students which turned into an all-day prayer meeting and continued.

Armin Gesswein, one of the participants in the Norwegian revival, spent a lifetime in ministry calling people to pray for revival.  Armin directed the prayer ministry of the Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles in 1949.  Eventually this unique and godly man, became the father of the modern prayer movement.  Armin was a dad-in-the-Lord to me.  He lived in our area so we provided an office for him which meant that we saw each other frequently.

The week Armin was called home to heaven at age 93, we had a serious conversation.  We had just remodeled an area at Guidelines where our staff meets for prayer.  It was late in the afternoon and I had many things to do, yet when Armin pulled up a chair and sat down, I thought the least I could do was sit down and chat for a few minutes together.

“Harold,” he began, “there are two things we must do: get prayer back into the churches and get it into the schools.”  He spoke of Bible schools and seminaries which train men for ministry.  Some folks might ask, “What did he mean, “Get prayer back into the churches…” thinking, “Hey, they pray in churches, don’t they?”

What Armin meant was serious, focused prayer, asking God to bring a spiritual awakening.  Little did I know that this would be my last conversation with this great man of God.  Less than fourteen hours later, a stroke silenced him, and three days later, God called him home. In a 1988 article written for Decision magazine, Armin wrote, “It all comes down to this: Revival in our churches is as near as our prayer meetings.  Not only Scripture but all church history shows that no revival can ever come any other way.”

A contemporary of Dr. Armin Gesswein’s was J. Edwin Orr, an Oxford scholar who spent a lifetime studying revivals.  Both agreed that prayer is the key to God’s changing our world by changing our churches which results in changing our lives.  Yes, prayer is the key.

Resource reading: Acts 12:1-19

This devotional © by Harold J. Sala.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission from Guidelines International Ministries. Not for sale or profit.

Dr. Harold J. Sala

Speaker, author and Bible teacher, Dr. Harold Sala founded Guidelines in 1963.Pioneering the five-minute commentary in Christian radio, Dr. Sala’s daily “Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living” is heard the world over in a variety of languages. Sala, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical text, has authored over 55 books published in 19 languages.He speaks and teaches frequently at conferences, seminars, and churches worldwide. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children (daughter Bonnie is now Guidelines president) and eight well-loved grandchildren.
Dr. Harold J. Sala

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