By Dave Butts
Perhaps the most important thing to remember as we begin to pray for revival is that God is waiting for you to ask Him to send revival. You are not trying to talk God into doing something He doesn't want to do. The Father's heart longs to see Jesus loved, honored, and esteemed in the midst of His people. He desires to see a Christ-Awakening in which the Presence of the Lord is experienced and His transforming power forever changes the way we "do church". Your prayers simply place you in agreement with all that the Father is purposing to do among His people. When the matter of agreeing with the Lord concerning revival is settled, then you are ready to begin praying with faith and passion.
As in every aspect of prayer, the best guide is the Bible. Learning to pray scripture helps us stay focused on what God wants instead of our own desires. Bringing scripture into your praying gives you a vocabulary that you may have lacked. Instead of trusting to your own concept of what revival may be, you find that your prayers are filled with the divine perspective of revival. Praying the Word gives you the confidence that it is indeed the will of God that is being prayed.
There are many passages of the Bible that can and should be used for asking the Lord to send revival. Some, like Isaiah 64, speak clearly of the cry of God’s people for the Lord to return to them. Others, like Psalm 85 use the word "revive" in ways that we plainly understand. Virtually any passage that deals with issues of repentance or the Lord's desire for the holiness of His people are fitting for our prayers.
As we "pray the Word" regarding revival, we will find that it is important to bring Old Testament phrases and passages under New Testament theology. For instance, in the above-mentioned passage from Isaiah 64, we hear the cry for the Lord to return to His people. Because of their sin, they had lost the Lord’s Presence. In the New Testament, believers have the promise of the Lord that He will be with us always. Unfortunately, it is very possible to walk in unawareness of His Presence. Our prayer then, instead of "Return to us", would be "Make us aware", or even "Wake us up".
Revival can and should certainly be experienced on an individual level, but its' full impact comes when whole groups are touched by the Spirit of God. Accordingly, your prayers for revival should not be limited only to your own private times of prayer. Look for ways and times to join with others around this great purpose of the Lord's. You will both be blessed and will bless others as your voices unite in passionate prayer for the Lord to once again revive His people.
Dave Butts, President of Harvest Prayer Ministries and Chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee