Going to many youth conferences and large church events when I was young influenced the way I thought God moves. I have heard many times about revival and how God will pour out his spirit and tangible presence on multitudes of people to bring thousands to the kingdom… But I subconsciously always believed it would be an event that happened outside of my influence and I would simply join in to what was happening. However, my heavenly Father has completely changed my understanding in this! I have come to realise that revival is not an external event, but rather, an internal process.
It was a beautiful spring day that I was working from home. I had so much work to do, and not enough time to get it all done. There was a little outreach event happening in the city that day and I was invited to go. I hesitated several times and nearly didn’t go. Finally, I decided to go and arrived in the city with my mind on a dozen things.
After some time passed with the usual events happening, I saw a homeless man stop and watch the event about five meters away from where I was standing. I went up to him and started talking. After the speaker finished, I talked more with him and asked to pray with him. As I prayed, the tangible presence of our heavenly Father came so strongly I started to get emotional. I looked at the man I was praying with, and he was already crying, tears flowing down his weather-worn cheeks.
After prayer, I talked to the man about the Father and his love for a while, then asked if he wanted to surrender his life to Jesus. He wanted to, so we prayed through a prayer of repentance and surrender! It was incredible how the Father took care of everything. It was so easy; The man wanted to be saved.
This all happened only days after a discussion with friends about how God works in us, then through us, then around us. I know the Father’s love and his presence, so I wanted to move on to the next part, God working through me! I expressed this desire in the conversation, and only three days later was able to lead a man to Christ!
I realised that God wanted to use me to bring about a revival. It wasn’t an external event that “just happened”. No, it’s a process that goes on inside of me, healing and transforming me until I am ready to step out in faith and advance the kingdom of God!
Psalm 51 points to this reality of looking at the heart first, and being revived there first.
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.Psalm 51:10, 12-13 NLT
The progression here is firstly being right before God, then from that place teaching his ways to the ungodly and bringing them to salvation. This makes sense because how can we save someone if we ourselves are not saved? Jesus said it this way in Matthew:
So ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.Matthew 15:14 NLT
If a teacher is teaching something he does not know, how will the person hearing be helped? There is another verse that talks about the heart:
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.2 Chronicles 7:14
There is certainly a pattern here of working on the heart first, then from that seeing God at work around us. Are you willing to start the process of revival from within you? Will you open your heart to the Father for him to work in it?