In Monday’s blog post, we began a series regarding revival. After discussing the church’s rightful desire for revival and it’s definition, we listed some characteristics for revival.
Today, we want to answer the question, “Should we plan for revivals? Or better yet, how can we be ready for revivals.”
In short, I would say that God gives us examples of praying for revival. I do believe the church should always be ready for a revival and the passage of Scripture that I would suggest to you is proof is Psalm 85.
“Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.”
The theme for Psalm 85 is one of crying for real revival. Notice, the psalmist isn’t scheduling revival or planning it; there isn’t a verse in Scripture where someone schedules a revival. But the psalmist does sincerely and desperately want to see His people and His land experience this great moving of God. It is a fervent prayer that God’s people will continue to experience His presence and blessing rather than settle for “life as it is.”
Some suggest the occasion of this psalm is after the 70-year Babylonian Captivity and, I suppose, if you were going to try to pick an historical occasion for this psalm, it would be that one. If that’s the case than Nehemiah 1:3-4 might be a good description of the current situation of the psalmist as he penned Psalm 85 –
“’The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.’ So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
That prayer may have been Psalm 85.
Whatever the case, the people needed revival – physical and spiritual. They needed a return to godly principles as they spent decades in deep-seated idolatry and apostasy and then were judged for seventy years in a pagan land that hated God.
In tomorrow’s post, we will begin looking at this Psalm together and discover how the psalmist remembered God’s past redemption (vs. 1-3), petitioned God for revival (vs. 4-7), and then how he anticipated God would answer (vs. 8-13).