None of us has perfectly pure motives for anything we do. We talk about “agape,” God’s kind of self-sacrificing love, but we never quite achieve it. Whether it is doing something for someone who can do nothing for us in return, even doing it anonymously, or pouring out our praises and adoration to our Lord, there still remains, if we are brutally honest with ourselves, a tinge of sin and self in our motives. Even when we pray for Revival.
What should be our motives in praying for Revival? To return America (or our church) back to the “good ole days?” To ease our conscience? To change people who oppose us—homosexuals, Muslims, liberals, etc.? We can readily see the selfish mixture in these kinds of motives. But what about the desire to see people come to Christ? To bring joy and fervor to our worship? To transform our schools? To reclaim backslidden church members? These are good desires, and, no doubt, proper and possible results of an Outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
But the highest and purest motive for praying for a Visitation of God, as in everything we do and pray for, is the Glory of God.
That’s a fairly easy statement to make, so easy, in fact, that it can become a cheap cliché. For a preacher, it’s a guaranteed method of getting a sprinkling of “amens” when the people seem a little drowsy. In spite of its shallow misuse, we must learn to be relentless in examining absolutely everything we do or say in the merciless light of “Does this bring Glory to God?” Especially should this be the case as we pray for Revival in our churches and Spiritual Awakening in our nation and in our world.
Revival can make a revivalist look good. One can get a reputation for being an instrument of Revival wherever one goes. Although that’s a good prayer request, it’s a dangerous reputation. Even the godliest and most sincere will admit it feels good, but human adulation is hollow and short-lived. Duncan Campbell was adamant to the point of irritation in declaring that he did not bring Revival to the Hebrides in the early 1950’s. Evan Roberts completely withdrew and became a virtual recluse when he became the “idol” of the 1904-05 Welsh Revival. Like these brothers, we must become insanely jealous for the Glory of God.
A Revival can turn sour in a heartbeat. Not that there’s anything deficient in the work of the Spirit. But Satan can supply counterfeits; people not really under the influence of the Spirit can get caught up in the heat of the moment and fake it, sometimes subconsciously, sometimes maliciously. Christians seem to have a propensity to be the most gullible people on the face of God’s green earth. We are so overanxious for evidence of the miraculous that we voraciously swallow almost any claim to visions, encounters with angels, direct words from God, even roundtrip experiences to Heaven, or hell, and especially reports of Revival. We are not blessed today with an excess of discernment. If you doubt this, just get on Youtube and search for revival, miracles, healings, raising of the dead, angels, you name it. You will also find that the Church has become the laughingstock of the lost world. I must admit, two world famous TV “evangelists” telling jokes to one another in “tongues” and slapping each other on the back is funny stuff. If it weren’t so blasphemous.
The Holy Spirit is God. He is not the influence of God, the power of God; He is not “it”. Like Father and Son, He is fully God, the Third Person of the Trinity. It has always been a staggering realization to me that a puny creature like me, a worm, can grieve and quench the Spirit of the living God. He is hypersensitive to sin, especially to the root sin of pride. Human pride robs God of the Glory He will not share with anyone. We must constantly examine and reexamine our motives in praying for Revival, knowing that they will never be perfectly pure. But like any other sin, less than perfect motives are continually cleansed by the blood of Jesus, the washing of the water of the Word and the sanctifying grace of the Heavenly Dove.
With the vestiges of sin still digging their claws into our sanctified nature, we’ll never do anything right—completely, purely right. Not this side of Heaven. But, relentlessly asking the Holy Spirit to purify our motives, let us press on, giving Heaven no rest for the very thing Heaven has the most desire to grant, the reviving of His Church and the healing of His land. All to the honor of the glorious Name of Jesus.