A New Testament Revival Prayer: Let’s look at the events of Acts 4:1-31 and how hardship spurred believers to pray, not for personal safety or the end of hardship, but spiritual revival...let’s use their prayer as a springboard for our Revival Prayer today:
And as [Peter and John] were speaking to the people, the priests [and other rulers] came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody...so [the rulers] called [Peter and John] and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus...but Peter and John answered, ‘...for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard…’ When [Peter and John] were released, they went to their friends and reported what the [Rulers] had said. And when they heard it, they lifted up their voices together to God and said…
1. Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them (Acts 4:24). When we consider the evil of the human heart and the power of that evil to keep people entangled in it, we are often left with the feeling of hopelessness. “They are too far gone”, we might say. Or, “people never change”, we utter in despair. In reality, these are true statements. If the hope for transformation is in our church programming, our fancy presentations, or clever arguments, then we will and should live in despair. However, when we consider that our Jesus is THE Sovereign Lord of All the Universe, then all of a sudden, hopelessness vanishes and despair flees. He possesses both All Power and Infinite Goodness. As you consider who Jesus is in all of His Goodness and Power, can you cry out to Him to intervene in the spiritual affairs of your heart (“Give me the grace to humble myself before You”)...and the hearts of others (“Open the “eyes” of my neighbor's heart to see their sin and their need for saving”)? Remember: He alone opens blind eyes, heals our sin problem, and reconciles us with God...not me and not you!
2. And now, Lord...grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness (Acts 4:29). When we speak of The Gospel, we open ourselves up to ridicule, to mockery. Even Peter and John, who saw Jesus’ baptism, His transfiguration, and his resurrected body, faced situations where their courage faltered. If the “Sovereign Lord” can sustain the universe and keep every heart beating simultaneously, then emboldening us is not outside the realm of His will and power. But remember, boldness was not requested to “set people straight” or “win the argument” or “tell it like it is”. The request for boldness was to speak God’s words when He presented the opportunity. No doubt, fear was still present but boldness/ courage allowed them to speak with love and grace the truth of the resurrection and the need for salvation. Do you need biblical boldness? This type of boldness is that which speaks the truth regardless of personal cost...and speaks it with a heart full of love regardless how we are treated. Can you cry out to the Lord and ask Him to revive your heart, give you a heart of biblical boldness, and open your eyes to the opportunities that He is giving you?
3. To do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place...stretch your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus (Acts 4:30). Remember Joshua standing on the doorstep of the Promised Land and the Pre-Incarnate Christ appearing before Him? Joshua asks, “Are you with us or with them?” Joshua is asking the Second Person of the Trinity, “Whose side are you on?” God replies, “No; but I am the commander of the Army of the Lord. Now I have come.” Paraphrase: “I’m on God’s side!!!” True, God is FOR us. He makes a covenant with us through Jesus, makes us incredible promises, and gives us a new identity with a new future. That said, remember, the story of salvation is not ULTIMATELY about you and me, its about Him. Rather than asking, “Are you on our side?” Joshua should have remembered that he was ON GOD’S SIDE. Notice how the Revival Prayer of Acts 4 focuses on God’s authority to do as He wills. They beg God to act upon His will to heal, save, and forgive. We get to join in on what God is doing...not the other way around. Have you forgotten the order? Do you effectively live as you will and ask God to bless your decisions? Cry out to the Lord to revive a right vision of who is doing what. He wills, determines, and saves, and we get to partner with The Sovereign Lord full of Grace and Truth.