Stir The Flame Of Desire Into Fervency!
By M. L. Means
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells us about talents. A man gave his three servants their assignments and then took a journey. He gave them each what he knew they could handle. When he returned, he had a business meeting with them. Two of them he was pleased with and promoted because they had doubled what he had given them. The third one was fired because he did nothing with the talent he was given.
A desire for God is like a talent. Each of us has been given a measure of desire. If we take that desire to the exchangers, it will increase. The exchangers are anything that will increase our desire for God. Things like prayer, fasting, study, praise and worship will always increase our desire for God, and the more we do them, the stronger our desire will get.
Deep in the heart of every Christian is the call of the Holy Spirit to “Rise up, my fair one, and come away” (Song of Sol. 2:10-13). With this call is the promise of spring, the bursting forth of flowers and the singing of birds, the promise of revival, if we will rise up from where we are and run after Him. It isn’t always easy but the results are exciting.
The Hunger Principle
I found a key that has really helped me. It’s what I call “the hunger principle.” Here’s how it works: in the natural, the more you eat, the less you hunger. No matter how hungry you are when you sit down to eat, as you eat your hunger fades away. But in the spiritual it’s just the opposite: the more you pray, the more you hunger! That also means the less you pray, the less you hunger.
Most people don’t understand this spiritual law. They really want the exciting life of revival and victory, but they are waiting for God to do something that He is calling them to do. So while they wait the flame dies, their desire, their hunger gets weaker and weaker and they have no power against temptation. They are soon turned aside to involvements and entanglements, and prayer becomes a burden and they have no heart to pray or seek the Lord. Without realizing it, they take the lukewarm-city exit and revival dies within them.
Paul warned Timothy of this: “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:3-4).
We must stop thinking like cub scouts and think like soldiers, good soldiers. A good soldier isn’t focused on ease and comfort. He thinks in terms of hardships and sacrifice. Anybody can pray when it’s easy and enjoyable, but we have an enemy who does everything he can to make it hard and boring in the prayer closet, and only those who think like soldiers will keep on plowing away in prayer, knowing that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. I find that many Christians are waiting for God to make them pray and won’t pray until He does.
A Place by God
During Israel’s trek across the wilderness, Moses was up to his neck in problems. A multitude of hard-headed, rebellious people made him finally realize the job was too big for him, so he cried out to God for help. God responded by informing him, “There is a place by Me” (Ex. 33:21). It was uphill and difficult but he found a way to get there, and when he came down from that encounter, he was different. His face so shone with the glory of God that people ran from his presence, and Moses had a new power with God.
That same place by God is open for us, and the same voice is calling us. If we will find a way to lay aside our involvements and set a determined course to find Him, He has promised He will meet us (Jer. 29:13; Heb. 11:6).
I came to a place in my own life where I realized that ever so slowly my relationship with the Lord had been eroding. O I still had a pretty good prayer life but it had lost a lot of its fervency. I stopped hiding behind excuses and admitted I had come to a place of leveling off and had let up on my quest for God.
He took me to Isaiah 64:7: “There is none that calleth upon Thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee, therefore Thou hast hid Thy face from us and our iniquities have consumed us.” Stirring yourself is simply making yourself pray and making yourself get fervent.
We all have a fleshly nature that doesn’t want to pray at all, especially to pray fervently. Even Elijah, probably the greatest man of prayer in the Bible, had this problem. James 5:16-18 tells us that “He was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly…” But he was a man, a real soldier, and he prayed fervently, so fervently that his prayer locked the fountains of heaven. Not a drop fell for three and a half years, not even a cloud in the skies! Then it took the same kind of praying to unlock the heavens.
Do you want to see an example of real fervency? “So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees” (1 Kings 18:42). He got fervent, super-fervent, and heaven responded. I wonder what would happen today if God could get someone to pray like that for revival.
Stirring Ourselves Up
As God dealt with me on this I was shocked that I was becoming one of those God was turning His face from. Once I had enjoyed a very close walk with the Lord and although I still knew Him, I wasn’t that close any more. I had enough of the fear of the Lord in me to know that was a dangerous place to be.
As I cried to the Holy Spirit for help, I rose up and began to do my part. Like those people who ran around the lake to hear Jesus, I did what I could, I stirred myself, and I kept on stirring myself. Since my days were filled with much activity, I asked God to wake me in the night. This wasn’t easy for me. I have a real good bed and I really enjoy resting my tired bones in it.
That night I woke up at 2 A.M. I was excited that God was responding to my cry and was helping me. I spent the rest of the night in prayer. Since then I have repeated that many times and that flame is beginning to burn again.
A new excitement is rising up in me and a new urgency! My hunger for revival is increasing and I notice that the things I say have a greater impact on people. The Word of God is coming alive again and exciting things are happening.
The Holy Spirit is the eyes of God and those eyes are running to and fro throughout the whole earth like a giant searchlight, looking for a hunger in people. In 2 Chronicles 6 we see a promise for anyone who finds himself in captivity. If he cries to God from the place where he finds himself captive, God will hear and deliver.
Nothing will change in our lives as long as we are content to stay where we are. We must realize we are caught in a trap and will stay there until, like blind Bartimaeus, we cry out to God for help. What He brings us out of is exciting, but what He will bring us into is more exciting.
Friend, this is no time to let up on our pursuit of God. Our nation is sliding downhill at a terrific rate. Only the relentless, fervent prayer of God’s people will save us. Our nation desperately needs revival, and it will only come when individuals cry for real repentance and personal revival. Like the woman at the well, when we have a personal encounter with Jesus, we will overflow with excitement and the overflow will bring revival to the world around us.