"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land" - 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
Revival has been described as increased spiritual interest or renewal in the life of believers. Revivals do result into mass conversions of non-believers who repent of their sinful nature and turn back to God.
Historically revivals have changed societies, and led to restoration of the church to a vital and fervent relationship with God. For example, the abolition movement that led to the end of Atlantic slave trade was inspired by the "Awakening" which also produced some of the greatest world universities like Dartmouth and Princeton.
Here in Uganda we are privileged to have been close by to the 1930 East Africa revival considered by some to be the longest running revival in Christian history. The "Balokole movement" had a sweeping effect on the "dead church" and helped revive it with the fire of a message of repentance and turning back to God. Wherever it touched the Balokole movement changed society with its stressing the importance of education, virtuous living and personal hygiene.
Like all, this revival drew from the Pentecost when believers received the Holy Spirit who totally changed their lives. "When the day of Pentecost came, 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. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (Acts 2: 1-4).
There was transformation of lives. "Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" (vv 44-47)
One particular characteristic of this revival was devotion to the teaching of the word and ministry of prayer. "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (vv 42).
If we want to see a revival from which lives will change, just as before, we need to pray for revival and let the Holy Spirit move!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of creation, of heaven and earth, today I pray that we as the church may devote ourselves to the ministry of prayer from which all great revivals that have changed nation’s spring!
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!