Why Revival Tarries
The last great awakening and revival in America was in the mid-19th century starting just before the American Civil War and also during the American Civil War (See my Blog APRIL 7th 2020 Revival Birthed In A National And Worldwide Crisis). There was revival in both the northern and southern army's camps, and many souls were regenerated (Ezekiel 36:26-27) and brought into the kingdom of God! Great preachers like A. B. Simpson and many others were birthed, who brought sound doctrine and Christology back to the evangelical church movement and affected many like A. W. Tozer and Leonard Ravenhill! Both Tozer and Ravenhill wrote about why revival has been delayed. Leonard Ravenhill wrote an excellent book Called "Why Revival Tarries".
Over 150 years have passed without another true Word-based revival from God. We certainly are in desperate need of another in our present day. The so-called Evangelical Church in America is in deplorable shape and looks like, talks like, and acts like the lost world. She has lost her Salt and Light. Matthew 5:13-14--"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." Without a divine intervention soon from the Holy God of the Bible, the American society and the American Evangelical Church will be falling totally off the moral cliff and descend into a consumingly wicked and devilish abyss! Deuteronomy 32:18-20 "You neglected the Rock who begot you and forgot the God who gave you birth." The Lord saw this and spurned them because of the provocation of His sons and daughters. Then He said, "I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; for they are a perverse generation, sons in whom is no faithfulness." Leonard Ravenhill in his book "Revival God's Way" quoted: "The world does not believe the Bible and the church does not obey it. If there ever was a day when we should cry with Charles Wesley 'Oh for a trumpet voice on all the world to call!' it is today!"
Why has there been such a long delay? Many have said it is because there has not been enough prayer. It is true that the American Church is no longer a house of prayer. The Wednesday night prayer meeting has gone the way of the dinosaur and has been replaced with personalities, processes, and programs! I would agree whole heartily that prayer has an essential part in true revival coming. But the truth is that we have had a considerable amount of prayer for revival for many decades. Tozer and Ravenhill who were ministering during the 40s, 50s, and 60s stated there was much prayer going on during those decades for revival, but the revival did not come. Both Tozer and Ravenhill believed that sin was the cause of revival prayers not being heard. Since 2001 there has been many prayer movements and national days of prayer seeking revival with over a million people praying for it across America -- but there is still no revival. There seems to be a lot prayer and yet no response! Why?
Why are the prayers of the church not being heard and answered for all these years? Dr. Henry Blackaby presented to The Heart Cry for Revival Conference at the COVE in Ashville NC in 2004 a sermon entitled "Why Revival Tarries"; and he places the cause squarely in the American Church's lap! The synopsis of his sermon includes these accusations against the American Church: (1) The Church is forsaking the true God of the Bible; (2) The Church is going far from God and far from God's Word; (3) The Church is full of sin -- God's people are full of idolatry, anger, bitterness, and brokenness, and therefore do not encounter the Holiness of God.
But what is more important than what these faithful men of God say is what does the Bible say about how sin effects the church's prayers. Isaiah 59:2-"But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear". Our unconfessed and unrepentant sin keeps God from hearing and answering our prayers! Psalm 66:18-"If I had cherished iniquity my heart, The Lord would not have listened."
Unforgiveness can also hinder our prayers! Mark 11:25-"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions." Are you bitter toward someone right now? Is there someone you hate? Are you thinking of ways of how to get even and hurt them? If you have that attitude toward someone, it can hinder your prayer life. They may have done a horrible thing to you. But understand that forgiving someone is not just for their sake; it is for your sake, too. Unforgiveness is hurting you and it is hurting your relationship with God.
The Bible gives us the way for revival, and it is crystal clear. It is in 2 Chronicles 7:14-15--"…and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place." Most people just quote verse 14 -- but 15 is so important because it shows what God will do IF the church [His people] will do ALL that verse 14 says to do! God says in verse 15 that He will open His eyes and His ears and be attentive to the prayers of His people! In other words, He is saying until we get rid of our self-centered pride, our prayerlessness, and seek the Holy God for God and not for our selfish desires, and truly confess and repent (turn from) our many wicked sins, He is not listening. Do you see the problem?
Men are called to be the spiritual leaders of the home and the church. Ephesians 5:23,25,26-"For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word." They should show by example the true Christian walk. They should lead in prayer and the studying of the Word. Their lifestyle should show the fruit of the Spirit and draw others to Christ. The Bible speaks to how a husband's prayers can be hindered if they have treated their wives disappointingly and without honor. 1 Peter 3:7-"You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered." There is a widespread sin within the church that husbands in great numbers are dishonoring their wives and sinning against a HOLY GOD. I have given seminars and conferences on this sin that plagues the church but is barely addressed by the church. It is the large elephant in the room no one wants to talk about but is causing havoc and the weakening of the church. It is the sin of pornography! It is a sin which effects everyone in some way. It is not just men, but women are also addicted to this ravage from the gates of hell. Here are some stats from the research studies, primarily by the Barna Group and Covenant Eyes, revealing that initial exposure to pornography begins in childhood and progresses. 68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis. Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76% actively search for porn. 59% of pastors said that married men seek their help for porn use. 33% of women aged 25-and-under search for porn at least once per month. Only 13% of self-identified Christian women say they never watch porn – 87% of Christian women have watched porn. Only 7% of the churches Biblically respond to this sin. This open sin alone can keep the prayers of the church from even reaching the ceiling. Matthew 5:28-"but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." This verse shows Jesus telling us we are committing the sin of adultery when we look at pornography and this sin of adultery is also on the women who watch it. If you are single and watching it, you are committing the sin of fornication. Psychology cannot help this. It is not a sickness it is a sin! The only one who can deal with sin is Jesus Christ, and He is calling His church to repent! This is only one sin and yet there are so many more! No wonder the prayers of the church are not being heard by God.
There is another group in the evangelical churches which is offering up lots of prayer for revival, but they want revival their way. They want God to bring more and more souls into their false and heretical theology and to have more twice-dead souls join them. Jude 12-13-"These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever". Jude is calling out the false prophets and teachers who come into the churches destructively with a corrupt false doctrine. The New Apostolic Reformation [NAR] have the "It's Time Movement of Prayer" calling many into prayer for revival but their doctrine and teaching is about a different gospel and a different Christ. Christ will not hear their prayers! Matthew 24:12-"And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray." Jesus warns us in Matthew 24:12 that in the last days many false prophets will arise; and the NAR is leading many in the churches astray with false doctrine and teaching. There have been false so-called revivals based on emotions and feelings and demonic manifestations. This is not true revival. These are diversions sent by Satan!
But a true a true revival is a Word-based revival which brings about a drastic change in individuals who have been convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come. John 16:7-8--"But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." Note: This true revival is not about feelings and emotions. It is about the Word of God and Truth. This type of revival has not come in over 150 years. Real revival is when the manifest presence of God shows up in an extra ordinary way which draws people to repentance. Evidence of true revival is when you see people who are overcome by the power of God's presence and who end up confessing their sin and repenting, restoring, forgiving, and reconciling. You will see many who are face down in the aisles crying out for God's mercy! There is weeping and the rending of the heart brought about by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The fruit is true regeneration of souls and repentance of believers and evidence of profoundly changed lives long after the revival ends.
The trouble is that the church is blind to her own brokenness and sin. She pridefully thinks that whatever she does in her religious self-righteousness and self-reliance is blessed by God. She is too distracted by the cares of this world and the busyness of her religion to pray. She trusts more in pragmatic programs and processes rather than seeking the Face of Almighty God. In addition, rather than seeking to know the God of the Word and rejoicing in His eternal spiritual blessings, she prefers to seek temporal, earthly prosperity and blessings from Him. And finally, because she spends little to no time in God's Word, she is unaware of her own sin against Him. The tragedy is that today the professing church is busy praying for the nation and the politicians to repent and change when the true issue is that she herself should be praying and fasting for the professing church to repent and change -- and then -- God's eyes will be open and His ears attentive to her prayers.
As the church goes so goes the nation! This is why revival tarries!