Revival (spiritual renewal and deliverance) is typically birthed in prayer. Throughout the Bible, we can learn and discover God responds to the prayers of His people in spite of their natural and spiritual circumstances. Multiple Biblical examples are recorded to encourage us to grasp the value of crying out for a sovereign visitation from the Lord.
Often we reference God’s promise to Solomon that He is willing to listen if His people will humble themselves, pray, seek His face and turn from sin to obey Him. Even today, He is waiting to hear our prayers, forgive us and send healing. He is faithful; however, we must repent and pray.
When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. II Chronicles 7:13-15 NKJV
There are other Scriptures with promises to those who humbly pray, seek and turn to God. When Israel was in captivity, Jeremiah wrote a letter to those held in bondage. Examine his letter found in Jeremiah 29:
Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive – to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. Jeremiah 29:1 NKJV
Jeremiah wrote to encourage the captives to pray for peace to the Lord:
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters – that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. Jeremiah 29:4-7 NKJ
Jeremiah instructed the captives to build houses, plant gardens, get married, to raise children and pray to the Lord for it (the land in which they were captive); for in its peace you will have peace. We should seek God’s peace at all times.
Undoubtedly, this contradicted the thoughts they had in captivity. The same call to prayer is applicable to us living in this present age. We are not living in a foreign land, held captive in bondage to other peoples. However, multitudes of the children of God are held captive by their lack of understanding God’s character; thus, they are limited by the forces of Satan working against them, bound in fear and ashamed to share their faith in Christ because of the weak state of Christianity surrounding us today. We must pray for a deep-rooted spiritual awakening of freedom.
Nevertheless and in spite of Israel’s captivity, God prompted Jeremiah to write promises of peace and hope in his letter:
For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. Jeremiah 29:10-14 NKJV (Note: italics emphasis words to reflect upon).
God’s promises of peace, a future and hope to those in Babylon are also available to all who believe and pray. God has plans to use every person and we need to encourage one another by praying with fellow believers.
Israel, the Jewish nation, God’s chosen people, had refused to obey the Lord. God turned to a non-Jewish people who did not know Him. He sought us and is waiting today to hear and answer our prayers.
“I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ To a nation that was not called by My name. I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts; … Isaiah 65:1-2 NKJV
Paul, in Romans 10 explicitly quoted the words of Jeremiah: But Isaiah is very bold and says: “I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” But to Israel he says: “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” Romans 10:20-21 NKJV
For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek Me and live; but do not seek Bethel, nor enter Gilgal, nor pass over to Beersheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nothing. Seek the Lord and live, lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, with no one to quench it in Bethel – You who turn justice to wormwood, and lay righteousness to rest in the earth!” Amos 5:4-7 NKJV
Amos’ prophesy to the house of Israel was to “Seek Me (the Lord) and live! God Himself, not the sanctuaries, is to be sought. Turning to God gives us new life. Desire the heart of David’s prayer in Psalm 27. We, as Israel, may assume God is only found at the sanctuary. We need Jesus constantly. How frail is our understanding of God’s abiding presence!
“I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me.” Proverbs 8:17