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GOD-SENT PRAYERS USED TO PROMOTE REVIVALS

by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan
Deacon at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

A sermon preached at the combined retreat of Calvary Road
Baptist Church and the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Friday Morning, August 27, 2004

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3).


Evangelicals and even many Fundamentalists today have the wrong idea that Christians can do something to promote a revival. This may come in the form of initiating an ambitious evangelistic campaign, stirring up the people to bring friends and loved ones to a "revival meeting." These things will not bring true revival. That's because revival is a sovereign act of God, and He alone will determine if and when a revival will take place. This doesn't mean we shouldn't pray for revival. We should pray for it. The English commentator Matthew Henry said,

"When God intends great mercies for His people, He first sets them a-praying."

This heart desire of Christians to see God work in the conversion of sinners is expressed in an attitude of prayer. Indeed, all revivals seem to be born among a people with a spirit of prayer.

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3).

I. First, God commands us to call to Him in prayer, "Call unto me."

God commands us to pray. Yet because of our spiritual dullness there are only special seasons when we in fact call upon God in a spirit of prayer to do a special work. Such a time is when the Lord puts this burden upon our hearts. Too often we live and act as blind men, when we should be seeking the Lord in prayer for conversions. During a revival, God will send His Spirit in power to teach us how and what to pray for. Further, God will give us an abundant gift of faith to believe that He will do a wonderful work of conversion.

Also, as members of local churches who are in "one place" we should also be of "one mind" as we pray for revival, as those in the local church at Jerusalem were when the revival at Pentecost came (Acts 2:1). If God sees fit, a revival may begin by a man burdened with prayer who simply calls on Him to do a mighty work. O let us listen to the advice of Zechariah to "Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field" (Zechariah 10:1).

II. Second, God promises to answer our prayer, "And I will answer thee."

As God gives us the burden to pray for several of our young people to get saved, He also gives us this great promise in His word that He will answer us. What boldness that promise should give us at the Throne of Grace! What more could we want from God? He says to call on Him and then says, "I will answer." We cannot expect good things from God if we are not willing to pray for them. And we certainly shouldn't expect a revival if are hearts are too lazy and dull to ask for it. And O what assurance we have! When God says, "I will answer thee" you can rest on that because "God is not a man that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19). We ought to rejoice as a man who has found great spoil when we find such a precious promise in His word because our God has said, "I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it" (Exodus 22:14).

III. Third, God promises a marvelous display of His power,
"And shew thee great and mighty things."

By the grace of God we have come to know that it is a great miracle for a true conversion to take place. In the usual course of our churches - during "days of small things" and while "things are out of season" - conversions are slow and difficult. And so when revival comes and several of our young people are soundly converted in a short period of time we will be convinced that a great and mighty work of God has begun.

God wants His children to know of His goodness. Jesus compares the goodness of God to our earthly fathers. The Lord Jesus said, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13). His Fatherly goodness should prompt us to pray with confidence for Him to send His Holy Spirit in revival power. An equally, if not more powerful argument to pray, is found in the words of the apostle Paul, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). Oh, if we were to meditate more on the supreme goodness of our God, we would discover more boldness and importunity in our prayers for revival.

It is also God's desire to reveal to His children His power. Jeremiah said, "Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee" (Jeremiah 32:17). Oh, such a thought of God's omnipotence ought to motivate us to throng the Throne of Grace beseeching Him for powerful converting grace for sinners.

"O Lord, burden our hearts to pray that Thou wouldst show us great and mighty things through conversions of several young people in our churches. Reveal to us, O God, Thy goodness and Thy power in revival. Thou art Almighty God and nothing is impossible with Thee. Show us what Thou canst do, O God. Do what Thou hast done in times past during times of refreshing. Do this for Thy great name's sake. In Jesus' name, Amen."

IV. Fourth, God promises a great surprise, "Which thou knowest not."

None of us except our pastor, Dr. Hymers, has ever seen a local church revival. We don't even know what to expect. Even if we have read many accounts of revivals, we will still be wonderfully surprised when revival comes. We believe by the grace of God that He can send one to us. May God give us the faith to believe that He not only can but also will send us a revival. And along with faith may we work importunately in our prayers until the answer comes. What will happen if several of our young people are converted in a revival? We might experience something similar to what Jonathan Edwards observed in his local church. Jonathan Edwards writes of these experiences in A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God. In his narrative of the beginning of the revival he writes of revival among the young people,

"But although people did not ordinarily neglect their worldly business, yet religion was with all sorts the great concern, and the world was a thing only by the bye. The only thing in their view was to get the kingdom of heaven, and every one appeared pressing into it. The engagedness of their hearts in this great concern could not be hid; it appeared in their very countenances. It then was a dreadful thing amongst us to lie out of Christ, in danger every day of dropping into hell; and what person's minds were intent upon, was to escape for their lives, and to fly from the wrath to come."

Later in the revival, after several young people were converted, he writes,

"In all companies, on other days, on whatever occasions persons met together, Christ was to be heard of, and seen in the midst of them. Our young people, when they met, were wont to spend the time in talking of the excellency and dying love of Jesus, the glory of the way of salvation, the wonderful, free, and sovereign grace of God, His glorious work in the conversion  of  a  soul,  the  truth  and  certainty  of  the  great  things of God's word, the sweetness of the views of His perfections, etc."

O may scenes of revival such as these fill our churches!

"O God, Thou hast said, 'Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.' And we are calling upon Thee, our sovereign, omnipotent, and gracious God, even our Heavenly Father. We are pleading with thee that Thou wouldst show us great and mighty things in the way of awakenings and conversions to Christ among several of our young people. Do what Thou hast said, O God. Thou changest not, O Lord. Thy word says so. So we pray that Thou wouldst do for us what Thou hast done for Jonathan Edwards' congregation and others during times of revival. For Thy glory's sake and for the sake of Thy Son. In His name. Amen."

(END OF SERMON)

THE OUTLINE OF

GOD-SENT PRAYERS USED TO PROMOTE REVIVALS

by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan.


"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3).

I.   God commands us to call to Him in prayer, "Call unto me,"
Acts 2:1; Zechariah 10:1.

II.  God promises to answer our prayer, "And I will answer thee,"
Numbers 23:19; Exodus 22:14.

III. God promises a marvelous display of His power, "And shew
thee great and mighty things," Luke 11:13; Romans 8:32;
Jeremiah 32:17.

IV. God promises a great surprise, "Which thou knowest not."

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