Increase Your Longing And Hope
By Dale Schlafer
"Oh, Breath of Life, come sweeping through us,
Revive Thy Church with life and pow'r,
O Breath of Life, come cleanse, renew Us,
"And fit Thy Church to meet this hour."
– Bessie Porter Head
"Lord, I give myself to You, whatever the cost may be. Take every aspect of my life and use me for Your kingdom to glorify Your name. I’m not here on earth to do my own thing, to seek my own fulfillment or my own glory. I’m not here to indulge my desires, to increase my possessions, to impress people, to be popular, to prove I’m somebody important, or to promote myself. I’m not here even to be relevant or successful by human standards.
"I’m here to please You. To live like this, I yield myself to You, to know You, to worship You, to obey You, and to grow in Your holy fear. I’ll do anything that You want me to do, go anywhere You want me to go, and say anything that You want me to say. Father, there isn’t any gift that You have for me that I don’t want. If You want to use me in a way that I’m not used to, I yield myself to that. Today I affirm my love for You, my God, and I choose to live and minister in Your way. I trust You, Lord, to do that which I cannot do for myself. Teach me, guide me, empower me to fear Your name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen" (Portions, authored by Myers, Jacobs, Schlafer).
During the revivals and awakenings God has brought to this country, the impact in many geographic areas has been unusual. Often, God brought a special sense of His presence to a region. As a person approached a city, he could literally feel the presence of God there. Imagine then, whole areas of America so saturated with God, that you could literally sense God’s presence. During The Second Great Awakening (1794-1830), a divine influence seemed to pervade Utica and Rome, New York, during a season of revival. People would feel compelled to get right with God the moment they entered the city limits. So strong was this presence of God, that the term "zone of holiness" was coined to describe what was transpiring there.
During The Prayer Revival of 1857-1859, the Holy Spirit seemed to hang like a cloud over much of the East Coast. At times, the cloud seemed to extend out into the ocean. The following was reported by such a large and diverse number of people that the accounts cannot be doubted.
"Those on ships approaching the East Coast at times felt a solemn, holy influence even hundreds of miles from land. Revival began on one ship before it reached the coast. People on board began to feel the presence of God and a sense of their own sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicted them and they began to pray. As the ship neared the harbor, the captain signaled, ‘Send a minister.’ Another commercial ship arrived in port with the captain, and every member of the crew converted in the last 150 miles of the journey. Ship after ship arrived in the ports of the East Coast with the same story: Passengers and crew were suddenly convicted of their sin and turned to Christ before they reached the American coast" (Wesley Duewel, Revival Fire, pp. 133-134).
Charles Finney said, "Many times great numbers of persons in a community will be clothed with this power, when the very atmosphere of the whole place seems to be charged with the life of God. Strangers coming into it and passing through the place will be instantly smitten with conviction of sin and in many instances converted to Christ" (Arthur Wallis, In The Day Of Thy Power).
These stories about the "zones of holiness" are given in order to cast a vision for your prayer life. Wouldn’t it be something if the "hell holes" of our inner cities and suburbs could become "zones of holiness"? Wouldn’t it be something if America became a clean, vibrant, holy place? We cannot make it happen, but our God can! He has done it before! Would you join with me in asking…begging…imploring…pleading with our heavenly Father to bring a revival and awakening to our church and then to our land?
If a revival and awakening is to come, you and I must be changed. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has said, "Revival is not just another emphasis to add to our already overcrowded agendas. It’s not an option. It’s not just a nice idea. A meeting with God in genuine revival is our only hope; our church’s only hope; our nation’s only hope." I couldn’t agree more. If a genuine revival and awakening doesn’t come very soon, then we will move from the remedial judgments of God that we have been experiencing to a more severe judgment.
Someone once asked the British evangelist, Gypsy Smith, "How do you start a revival?" Smith replied, "If you want to start a revival, go home and get a piece of chalk. Go into your closet and draw a circle on the floor. Kneel down in the middle of the circle and ask God to start a revival inside the chalk mark. When He has answered your prayer, the revival has begun" (Tom Phillips, Revival Signs).
A couple of years ago, a group of us were praying for revival and awakening when suddenly one of the men broke into tears and sobbing. This lasted for some period of time. When he finally stopped crying, he started to sing an old hymn. Here’s what he sang:
"Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
do not pass me by.
Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
do not pass me by."
– Fanny Crosby
You are the revival that God is seeking! Don’t allow Him to pass you by today; rather, like Jacob in the Bible, hang on to Him. Don’t allow Him to leave you until you are changed. Join with others from your church to pray for a revival and awakening there. Join with others in your city to pray for the revival of Christ’s Church and the awakening of the lost. Join with people of different races, cultures, and church traditions. In united prayer, ask God to bring revival and awakening to your church, your city, then to America, and finally…to the world!
"Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away Your displeasure toward us. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger through all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation" (Psa. 85:4-7).
– From Revival 101 by Dale Schlafer. Used by permission of Pray!Books.