"O God, Restore Us . . ."
By Rich Carmicheal
In October my wife and I had the privilege of attending The Irresistible Cry! Conference on Revival sponsored by International Awakening Ministries (IAM). The two main speakers were Richard Owen Roberts, a founding director and president of IAM, and Paul Washer, founder/director of HeartCry Missionary Society. The messages by these men, along with other speakers, were strong and sobering, as well as challenging and encouraging, and I hope that we will be able to share printed versions of some of the messages with you in upcoming issues of the Herald.
One of the bittersweet truths shared by Brother Roberts is that while he believes revival is indeed coming, there is no guarantee that everyone will participate in it. He reminded us of the tragic reality that even though Jesus Himself entered Jerusalem as King, He wept over the city because the people did not recognize the time of the divine visitation (Luke 19:41-44). In another illustration of such a sad truth, Brother Roberts shared with us that even in the revival in Wales in 1904-1905 that so profoundly impacted that country, many churches missed the divine outpouring and were unaffected by it.
This is the time for us to both seek the Lord for the revival that is so desperately needed and to prepare ourselves for the divine outpouring when it comes. The Herald staff is in agreement with Al Whittinghill (see his article below) that harvest is coming and we need to be ready for the special season of ministry the Lord will grant to us. This is the hour for us to pray and intercede for individuals, families, churches and nations; the hour to fully devote ourselves to the ministry of God’s Word; the hour to disentangle from sin and worldliness and to seek above all things the Lord and His kingdom and righteousness. Though the days ahead may be difficult in many ways, we will have the opportunity to bear much fruit for our Father’s glory, and help prepare God’s people in anticipation of the return of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ! Let us not be among those who will not recognize the time of divine visitation.
Is Revival Possible?
In the opening message of the conference, Brother Roberts preached from Psalm 80 and pointed out how desperate the situation was at that time for God’s people. Though they had been a great nation, God had withdrawn His presence, removed His hedge of protection, and placed them under judgment because of their sin. This situation is sadly paralleled in our day in regard to the United States. Though the Lord raised up this nation and made it great, He has now placed the U.S. under judgment because the people have not honored Him as God, but have turned away from Him and His ways. For those of us who have lived any length of time in this nation, we are all too aware of how far our country has fallen spiritually and morally (and in many other ways).
So for the U.S., as well as other nations that are in pathetic spiritual and moral condition, is there hope for revival? Brother Roberts pointed out that the heart of Psalm 80 is the prayer that is repeated three times: "O God, restore us, and cause Thy face to shine upon us, and we will be saved" (vv. 3, 7, 19). In a similar prayer in verse 14, the psalmist pleads, "O God of hosts, turn again now, we beseech Thee; look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine." The psalmist had hope for revival in his day, and we can have hope for revival in our day, not because of who we are, but because of the nature and power of God. The heart of revival is God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. In revival God turns toward us and He turns His people toward Him. Revival is His sovereign work in response to the prayers of His people. He is looking now for those who will call out to Him to turn toward us and to restore and turn us toward Him.
About This Issue…
With all of this in mind, the Herald staff hopes this issue will provide special encouragement to you, especially in the matters of revival and prayer. We consider it a blessed privilege to join our lives with yours through these printed pages, and we pray the Lord will work through these messages, and future messages, to deepen your relationship with Him and your faithfulness to His purposes for your life and ministry. We pray that He might stir your heart so that you, along with many other believers, take fully to heart His call for His people to humble themselves and pray, and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways so that He might hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land (2 Chr. 7:14). As we pray for you, we ask that you pray the same for us. May the Lord work in and through your life and ours all that is pleasing to Him!