(Scriptural Verses: Habakkuk 3:1-2)
The Book of Habakkuk 3:1 indicates that this beautiful heart-felt prayer for revival, offered by the prophet around 600 BC, was originally set to music or became a poetic song. Habakkuk prayed because revival was desperately needed. God’s people had become forgetful, formal and careless in their devotion and obedience to God. They had almost lost their testimony, God’s holy name was not honored, and His kingdom was not being extended.
How relevant this study is for our own times! – Because our greatest need today is for spiritual revival. Our greatest need is not for more evangelistic meetings (although we thank God for these), for more money or for better methods. The greatest need is for spiritual revival, for a fresh infusion of divine life into the Church, for an awakening in the lives of God’s people and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It was for this that Habakkuk prayed. Let us examine his prayer:-
1. The word ‘O’ expresses a deeply-felt longing for Revival
The prophet prayed ““I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord…”…” – what intensity of feeling! Are we burdened like this? What is our reaction to the following facts:-
- The average Christian is living on a very low level of Christian experience, often defeated and powerless and in bondage to self.
- The testimony of the Christian Church in the world is frequently ineffective and very different from the testimony of the early Christians.
- Many Christians and churches are completely occupied with petty things such as jealousies, envy, hatred, bitterness, squabbles, barriers between Christian and Christian, and often there’s a lack of love amongst God’s people. We have chosen to love things we have or acquired and like our fellow Christian Brother or Sister. But the Holy Scripture says Love your neighbor as yourself. Love is the greatest virtue. 1Corinthian 13
- Many churches have no prayer meetings or poorly-attended prayer meetings and Bible Study meeting.
- Many preachers and teachers have departed from the Word of God and from pure Gospel preaching. They now preach social gospel, inspirational gospel and denominational gospel.
- There are few conversions in our churches today, the love for evangelism or soul winning is no more the passion for the day. Let’s think about it now.
- Much worldliness has taken over the lives of many believers in our churches. The world and its passions, desires, lust has entered and takeover many churches today, because the local Church fails and refused go into the world with the gospel as the Lord Jesus Commanded in Matthew 28:18-20; Mk:16:15-20; Luke 24:46-47; John 17:17
2. The word “Lord” (repeated) declares that God is the author of Revival
Habakkuk’s prayer was rightly directed to the Lord because revival comes from Heaven, not from the earth. It cannot be worked up; it needs to be prayed down. It is not man’s doing, but God’s, though God in His mercy sends revival through His people. The fact that we so often place emphasis on outward things, on organization and methods, on advertising and publicity etc. shows that we do not see this amazing truth. These things do not produce revival –- God alone can!
3. The words “I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe…” show how Revival Begins
It is when a believer gets alone in God’s presence, hears His voice and trembles at His word (Isaiah 66:2). Habakkuk had in fact done this (2:1-3), and while he was alone in God’s presence he experienced what the Psalmist mentions in Psalm 85:6-8. So often we rush into God’s presence and do all the talking, but it is when a man abases himself before Almighty God, confesses the sins of his people and his own sins, that revival can begin in that one man. One person can open the door through which the Risen Lord will enter in reviving and quickening power into His Church (Revelation 3:20)!
4. The words… ”Revive thy work…” (KJV) unveil the true nature of Revival
Habakkuk did not pray, ‘‘Lord, deal with the heathen and save them…’…’, but ‘’Revive your work……put your people right…’…’ Many Christians confuse revival with the work of evangelism. Revival includes evangelism, but evangelism does not necessarily include revival. Evangelism includes organization, publicity, team work, perhaps media appearances, and much human effort –- all of which is good; but when revival comes it is quite apart from these human endeavours. It always begins in the Church and in the hearts and lives of God’s own people.
5. The words …”In the midst of the years…” (KJV) speak to us of the time of Revival
Habakkuk repeats these words in his prayer, so what is their significance? No doubt the prophet meant, ‘‘O Lord, revive your work now, when the need is so desperate…’…’; and surely for us it means that any time is God’s time for revival, any time when revival is needed and when God’s people will pray. Here we are not in any way contradicting what has already been said about God being the author of revival; God is sovereign, but has also declared in His Word that He is willing to hear and answer the prayers of His people. Therefore, “”in the midst of the years””, at this very time, God will revive if we do what is said…look up 2 Chronicles 7:14.
6. The words …”make known…” Reveal the effects of Revival
When revival comes, what does God “”make known””?
(1) He makes known His majesty, His glory and His holiness (Isaiah 6:1-8).
(2) He makes known our sin, weakness, emptiness and failure (Lamentations 3:40-42; Matthew 5:23-24; Luke 19:8).
(3) He makes known the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:11-12). When revival comes God reveals Himself, for revival is a revelation of the Lord Himself –- and the result is a tremendous consciousness of God’s presence.
7. The words “in wrath remember mercy…” suggest the true motive for praying for Revival
God had been punishing the Chaldeans and chastening His own people, but Habakkuk prayed He would reveal His mercy to show the other side of His nature –- He (God) hates and punishes sin but He loves the sinner. Is that our prayer too?
Prayers for Spiritual Revival
1. Prayer For Heart Revival
Heavenly Father, pour out Your Holy Spirit like a mighty flood into the hearts of all your people, those who are called by your name. May our hearts be washed by the water of the Word and may the purifying light of the Holy Spirit cleanse the thoughts, wash the hearts and purify the minds of those who are part of the church, which is Your Body.
Lord, we pray that you would purify the hearts and minds of all your people so that our thoughts are ever turned toward the Lord Jesus. May we as individual members and also as a body of believers, learn to seek your will in our lives, so that our prayers are filtered through the light of your will, so that they are tuned into your perfect plans and purposes. May the desire of all believers be to lift up your name so that you are honored in the fellowships and local churches in His rightful position as Head, and may the Lord Jesus remain the central focus of the intent of our hearts
Lord, we pray that you would revive the hearts of all believers and especially those who have left their first love, become involved in a distorted gospel, fallen into legalism or become lukewarm toward you. Draw each one back into a right relationship with you and with each other. Revive your people we pray, and turn the hearts of all your people back to yourself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
2. Prayer For Spiritual Revival
Heavenly Father, my life is weak and seems to be failing and falling apart and in my heart I know that this is due to a long-term neglect of you and your ways. Forgive me I pray, and help me to return into true fellowship with you once again.
Lord, I believe that you have stirred in my spirit the need to turn from my worldly ways and to look again to Christ. I believe that you have quickened my spirit to call my heart back to you. Lord, I know that Your Word tells us that Godly sorrow brings repentance and I know that I have strayed far from you, and Lord I truly repent in my heart. I truly desire to turn away from the ways that have entrapped me for so long and to return to you. Thank You that even though I have been faithless, you have remained faithful.
Bring me I pray, to the foot of the cross. I need to hand over the reign of my life to You. Too long I have tried to do things my way and I realize that only in you is true peace found. But Lord, I know I am weak and do not want to wander away from You again, and so I ask that You would draw me daily, and place in my heart a fervent desire for You, a desire to be in Your Word and a desire to meet with You in prayerful communion. Lord, I confess that without you I can do nothing. Bring me I pray, to such spiritual brokenness that I will never again stray from your loving arms. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
3. Prayer For Spiritual Awakening
Lord, I have seen that so much of Christen community has strayed from the paths of righteousness, that at times I almost feel that there is no one else left that is truly seeking your face and lifting up the name of the Lord Jesus. And yet, I am reminded that when Elijah felt equally alone and spiritually isolated that you reminded Him that there were seven thousand other faithful believers, who had not compromised their faith nor bowed the knee to Baal.
Lord, forgive me for my critical spirit towards the church of today, knowing that you have many faithful saints, for you are still building your church today, though often secretly and silently. Thank You for my brothers and sisters around the world who have kept the faith and are looking to Jesus as the author and finisher of their faith, and I pray that You would remind each one of us of the great riches and power we have in Christ and unite in us a desire to tell the good news of the gospel of grace to a lost and dying world.
Birth in each of our hearts a desire to be used by you to bring about a little revival and spiritual awakening in the tiny corner of the world where You have placed us. And build up in each of our hearts a unity in the Spirit of Christ, so that we may be identified as having known Jesus, in whose name I pray, Amen.
4. Prayer For Spiritual Leaders
O’ Lord Pour out Your Spirit we pray, on Christian leaders and those that are guiding or teaching a little flock of believers. May there be a reawakening of the desperate need for each Christian believer to stand transparent before our God, and to give the Holy Spirit permission to search out the inner thoughts of our hearts, so that He may identify each and every area of our inner life that grieves Him or quenches His working within our lives.
Lord, we all need to repent not only individually but as the body of Christ for the careless ways into which so many of us have slipped. Help us to remember the spiritual heights from whence we have fallen and to return to you and your standards. Help us to seek your face, not only individually but corporately, as the body of Christ and as your representative Church on earth.
We pray that this may be the inner challenge for many leaders and pastors as well as those whom they lead. Give each one a deep desire for their own inner cleansing and sense of spiritual brokenness before You, so that those they teach would be similarly challenged to lay bare their own hearts before the inner scrutiny of the Spirit within.
Revive the hearts and spirits of those that have been gifted as pastors or called to be elders in their various church groups and assemblies. May each one seek your face and give them a renewed urgency to humble themselves before you, so that they can encourage others to keep their eyes on Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
5. Prayer For Spiritual Vision
Father, we thank You that by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ we can boldly enter into the holy of holies and stand before Your throne of grace to seek Your face and to offer up our prayers, petitions and supplication to You, for which we praise and glorify Your holy name.
Lord, many of Your children have lost their way and are seeking to satisfy their thirst with water from broken cisterns rather than drinking deeply of the water of life that comes from You alone, and as a result much of the body of Christ is weak, impotent, disinterested in the Word of God and has become disorientated to the truths that it contains. Many have lost their vision of the glorious hope that is set before us and many have placed themselves back until the bondage of legalism, although by Christ’s death and resurrection we have been freed from the slavery to sin.
Look down in pity on your needy Church, and renew in us the joy of our salvation. Bring us to foot of the cross and restore the joy of our salvation and the truth of the glorious gospel of grace, back into the hearts of all who have lost their way in their spiritual walk. Thank You, that when we wander away from You, You remain our ever-present help in time of trouble. When we prove faithless, you continue to prove to be faithful and true. Draw your body back to yourself and give each one of us a spiritual hunger for you, so that as a body we may glorify you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.