The coming of revival in our time will demand personal preparation among God’s people. Jeremiah said, “Thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘Break up your fallow ground and do not sow among thorns’” (Jer. 4:3). We must sow our seed in anticipation of a harvest. We must sow with prayerful expectation. As we prepare our hearts, souls, and minds for God to work, we position ourselves to expect Him, to hear Him, to see Him.
Let it start with you. You can have revival even if no one else does. The choice is yours. Do you want to live with all God has for you, or are you willing to settle for less than God’s best? Surrender is a personal issue before it ever becomes a corporate issue. Revival always begins with the remnant. It never begins with back-row Baptists who can take it or leave it. It will rarely, if ever, happen with the Sunday morning crowd. We must sow into fertile ground.
How are we to sow? Hosea tells us how: “with a view to righteousness.” Israel had plowed iniquity; the only cure now was to sow righteousness. As Alexander MacLaren once noted, “Sowing is not all; thorns must be grubbed up. We must not only turn over a new leaf, but tear out the old one. The old man must be slain if the new man is to live. The call to amend finds its warrant in the assurance that there is still time to seek the Lord, and that, for all His threatenings, He is ready to rain blessings upon the seekers.”6
True, sowing is not enough. There must also be reaping. Hosea told the people, “You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies” (Hosea 10:13). Therefore the nation was broken. Relationships were shallow, barren, and tumultuous, in need of change and restoration. Sounds like a lot of churches I know of today.
You can always discern the vertical by the horizontal. How do I know someone is seeking the Lord? I see them dealing with others in kindness. John said you can’t love God and hate your brother. Jesus told us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We’re good at loving ourselves, but do we have the same kind of love for our neighbor? I’ve met people who would rather die than get right with someone else. But sowing should result in the reaping of new, holy desires.
Not only will revival demand personal preparation but also persistent supplication. How long do we have to pray for revival? Until we have surrendered to His will alone and until He comes. How long? Until God shows up. Until God is enthroned in His rightful place. Until He rains down righteousness on us.
I’ve seen mercy drops of revival, but I’m asking God for showers. Are you pleading for showers, or are you content with a few mercy drops? To see the showers of blessings, we must surrender. We must break up our fallow ground and sow seeds of righteousness. We must be tender toward God. Nothing is settled until it is settled right, and nothing is settled right until it is settled with God. People who can hold on to sin and selfishness and say they have a “peace about it” are lying. When revival starts to come to the surface, all the things that stand in the way are removed. Seeking revival doesn’t mean we’re asking for a new manifestation of God. We’re not begging for an event, a method, or a feeling. To pray for revival means to surrender, to get our minds on the same page with God’s sovereignty.
And perhaps most of all, it means we are to seek nothing else. Israel’s heart was divided. They worshipped for a while, then walked back to their idols—faithful for a season, then back to business as usual. They would go to Jerusalem to check the box and take the offering, then head back to their idols and altars. Their faithfulness was fickle. There was no surrender, just stroking their conscience. James said that a double-minded man is “unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). The saints today are unstable because they have not bowed the knee in surrender. They stand on shaky ground and shifting sand.
Are you surrendered to nothing less than the God of revival? Do you want anything more than you want Jesus? Is your one goal and passion to see God arrive on the scene in a fresh wind of revival? I’m not talking about the thrill of the fill. If all you want is a thrill, put your finger in a light socket. You’ll get a feeling you won’t forget! If you want a simple test for surrender, ask yourself, “Am I willing to settle for anything less? Is seeking the Lord the one thing that dominates me, drives me, motivates me, and sustains me?” Don’t settle for something almost as good as Jesus—get Jesus! There’s more to Jesus than you know right now, for His well has no bottom and His sky has no limits.
Have you ever lost something and gone on a mad search for it? I’m an only child. My dad always said, “You won’t have to worry about arguing over the will with relatives when I die.” He was right. I didn’t have to argue with relatives. But I did have to argue with the government . . . because my dad hid his will. It was nowhere to be found after his death.
I looked everywhere. I found his fireproof safe, but it wasn’t in there. I looked through all his files, but it wasn’t in there. I searched high and low. Meanwhile, I was paying tens of thousands of dollars in taxes because I couldn’t produce a valid will. I was unable to prove I was the sole heir, and it was costing me major money in lawyer’s fees and other red tape, not to mention untold amounts of time and frustration.
I finally found my dad’s will—not in a place I would have ever thought to look—hidden behind his college diploma. Locating his will was a relief, though unfortunately it was long after the time had passed to refile taxes on his estate. I spent a lot of time thinking, What if? But one of the greatest thoughts that came to mind was why for most of my life I haven’t sought the Lord with that kind of diligence. I haven’t spent the time I should in desperate pursuit of Him. It’s my loss. Not in money but in blessings beyond measure.
Catt, Michael. 2010. The Power of Surrender. Nashville, TN: B&H Books.