Monday, April 29, 2013

Revival of one.

 
 
It's so easy to wish for - even pray for - change in others. You know, the whole log and speck in the eye story. It's all of us. We point the finger and think we know what's wrong, what needs fixing.

This is especially true on the National Day of Prayer. Thursday is this year's annual date when Christians nationwide are encouraged to step up and pray for our nation and its leaders. Oh, how easy it is for some of us to make a list of what's wrong in our country, with our leaders. Oh how we could pray ourselves into a tizzy focusing on all the issues, the problems, the worldly muck in our society.

I have a memory of gathering around the flag pole at my elementary school to pray for our country, which was sometime in the early 80's. The tradition is that old. In fact, my pals at Wikipedia told me that President Truman signed its observance into law in 1952. And I've participated in past years. Praying for our country is a good thing. The Bible even commands us to pray for the leaders that the Lord has assigned to govern us. I'm not ever going to say we should not be praying for our country and our leaders. We absolutely should be.

But first things first. This year, God is stirring my heart in a new way. This year, I need to talk about something that seems to get left off the prayer request list in most circles on the National Day of Prayer.

Instead of praying for our leaders to change or find Jesus or get ousted somehow, we need to take a hard look at our own hearts.

There is no point in praying for spiritual revival in our country until we ourselves are living wholeheartedly revived.

This week, I sat at a cafe eating a chicken salad sandwich and tearing up reading out of Zechariah. It reminded me of our nation:

Cry out, thus says the Lord of hosts: I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little, they furthered the disaster.
Zec 1:14-15

God is passionately in love with us. And therefore He is intensely jealous for us when we turn away from Him. In reference to that verse, can you think of any nation more "at ease" than ours? Our US of A has been turning more and more away from the Lord, and yet we think we've got it all together. We are horribly falsely secure. And when hard times come, do we as a nation understand the circumstances as possibly the Lord's discipline? Do we bow down and recommit to obeying Him? Or do we further the disaster? Instead of repenting, do we provoke Him to his face?

Yes. Yes we do. Our country as a whole does. And I do, and you do. 

So this week, let's pray. Every single one of us. But let's get on our knees in grave acknowledgement of our own sin. Let's examine the ways we as individuals need reviving.

Now I know you're not murdering any people. Or trafficking children. Or being besties with a drug cartel. And because of that, pride has a way of seeping in; that's one reason why we're so at ease. Because we compare ourselves to others and think we're not that bad.

But the white collar sins are still sin. There are so many corners of darkness that we tolerate, we indulge. We resist the long suffering required to grow up and out of our bad habits. 

What about your anger, you know, the kind you didn't really know you had until you had kids?

The little white lies and the ways you don't follow through on your word.

The overindulgence when you know you should, but you don't stop. It could be wine, spending, gossip, or the conversations you let spin and spin in your head that carry your emotions to a dark place you know you should not go. Self-control isn't even a thought.

What about lack of respect for your husband.

Or inappropriate thoughts about someone else's.  

Selfishness. Anyone?

Unforgiveness.

Prayerlessness.

The constant striving of discontent.

Anxiety for ANY reason at all.

Can you find even one thing above that regularly tangles you up in your own heart? I sure can. So how can I pray for someone else's need for change unless I understand and am taking responsibility for my own desperate need for revival first? 

Friend, revival in our country starts with you.  

On Thursday, would you repent with me? Ask God to expose the dark corners of your heart that you tolerate. Ask for forgiveness. Plead for personal revival, that in the name of Jesus, the dead places inside would literally be revived and healed. And ask God what it would look like for you to live wholeheartedly revived in your home, in your church, in your town.   

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God promises:

"...if 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 and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

It doesn't say, "If you pray that other people would be humbled," or "If you pray that other people would become believers." It says, "If MY people humble themselves..." This verse says revival starts with you.

You and you alone are priority number one. Except to me; I am my own first priority for prayer this Thursday.

Will you commit with me to pursuing a revival of one? Maybe encourage your readers to do the same? I don't think I've ever suggested this, but perhaps consider tweeting the challenge or facebooking it. Recognize the urgency here; in this day and age, living a wholehearted, revived life in the name of Jesus cannot be put off. The current is so swiftly against God and His ways now that your revival is critical. My revival is critical.

Please be on your knees with me. We are in a desperate place.

God, heal us. We need you.


{The Christian Band Sanctus Real wrote this song for the National Day of Prayer and I love what it says. To learn more about the National Day of Prayer, visit their website here.}
 



 

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9 comments:

  1. amen, leslie. joining you in this.
    praying heaven down upon those things that tangle my heart! i've been especially aware of this 'revival of one' need since tackling and surrendering my idol of food. god is gracious and gentle as he makes all things new.
    so glad we can trust him!

    xoxo

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  2. Oh yes! A hearty amen from here. Thank you for sharing this, and for reminding me that we really can't change the world until we begin to change ourselves.

    May God give us the strength to do so!

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  3. Yes!!! What a powerful and stirring call to personal revival! I need it now and always. Will be praying!

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  4. leslie your words are powerful and truthful. you are such an instrument for Him. i'm so excited to meet you in a few short months! xoxo esther

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  5. Just found your blog--can't wait to follow! already so encouraged and love your heart for Christ! I am new to the blogging scene, follow me at http://foreverconvinced.blogspot.com/

    :) xoxo Jess

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  6. Beautiful. I have been feeling a lot of anxiety over a decision I know is right. But it scares me. I need more prayer.

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  7. Beautiful! I'm in. Thank you for sharing your heart in the most lovely of ways!

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  8. Such good reminders, Leslie. Revival of one... I like that, and it's going to stick with me. I have been repenting on behalf of our nation, too. I am an American, one of the American people, so I do pray on behalf of our nation of people, as well, asking God to lead us to repentance and to turn our hearts toward Him and what His heart is toward our nation.

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  9. just found your blog via casey wiegand, and nearly stopped short when i saw the above photograph! i knew instantly the exact spot you were sitting and marveled at the fact that i was looking down the street of my home town through your lens! i feel blessed to have found your blog and look forward to reading more of your posts! you can give me snippets of MT when i'm homesick; those pictures paired with your words is such a blessing...so thank you! (oh! and we'll be in bozeman for the summer months so perhaps we could meet up? it would be lovely to meet you!) enjoy my beautiful big sky state and your new home! God bless! stacey

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