Praying for a True Revival in the Church
Grasping the Foundational Truths of Prayer
“…Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” (2 Chronicles 15:2)
2 Chronicles chapters 14-16 record very powerful truths that must be taken notice
2 Chronicles chapters 14-16 record very powerful truths that must be taken notice of by the Body of Christ if she is going to enjoy God’s presence and power in His work.
I would propose to you that the history revealed in 2 Chronicles 14-16 gives a lesson on revival (Thru the Bible) and shows us the danger of not surrendering to God’s Word and perfect will. The forty-one year reign of King Asa, shows us the success that can be enjoyed by walking in step with the Holy Spirit as He reveals the truths of God’s Word to us. Asa’s life also reflects the consequences of letting the spiritual heart grow cold to the Word of the Lord.
How did King Asa approach the Lord? What are the benefits and warnings?
Approach the Lord in heartfelt prayer
The first step to enjoying and experiencing all that God has for His church is to approach the Lord in heartfelt prayer. 2 Chronicles 14:11 says, “Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “…Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you.” (2 Chronicles 14:11)
The Bible says that King “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” (2 Chronicle 14:2) He was a great leader for he exhorted Judah to “…seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to obey His laws and commands.” (2 Chronicles 14:4) Their life of faith in the Lord opened the door for the people of Judah to build and prosper in the land where God had placed them. (2 Chronicles 14:7) When King Asa made his petition in 2 Chronicles 14:11 Judah was facing the approach of a great powerful army. King Asa had seen the Lord God bless them often as they sought Him and depended upon Him.
Christians who have the greatest peace in times of trouble are those who are aware of and have enjoyed the Lord’s presence in times of blessings and trials in everyday living. The Holy Spirit has revealed to them what the Apostle Paul prayed for the church, “[they] may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19)
It is imperative that the Body of Christ understand that this was a holy war and victory could only be assured if God intervened because Asa’s enemy was massive. Asa could count his three hundred thousand men equipped with large shields and spears. He knew he had two hundred and eighty thousand brave fighting men from Benjamin, yet the army he faced was massive, much larger than his armed forces. (2 Chronicles 8)
The church can count her buildings, pastors, deacons, elders and members. The church has more tools today for evangelizing and making disciples than ever before, but she must have a Biblical perspective of her real enemy, just as Asa’s, which caused him to cry out to God.
This enemy, Satan and his demons are real and they are not to be taken lightly. They are the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12; Wuest Word Studies) Revelations 12:7-9 says, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” (Revelations 12:7-9) Satan and his company of fallen angels are free to carry out evil purposes only as God allows. Satan’s army includes one third of the heavenly host.
Revelation 12:4 reveals to us that Satan drew one third of the angels to him and they followed him in his rebellion. When Christians fully understand what happened in heaven and become aware of Satan’s power, they will approach their everyday battles by constantly beseeching God for the victory that only He can bring about. The Greek Word for “drew” (suro) in the King James Bible means, “to draw, or pull away, whether things or persons. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary; New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries; Dictionary of Bible Languages with Semantic Domains) This word implies Satan’s ability to cause apostasy by intriguing angels and humans to become earthly or carnal in reasoning and actions. (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown; Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testament) The church of Jesus Christ has a massive enemy who can cause apostasy.
This is the great news. The church who realistically approaches her relationship and service to the Lord in fear and trembling, has watching over her the army of the Lord which is twice the size of Satan’s army. This victorious church knows what Asa knew, all battles for the Lord will be won, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)
Christians who have the heart of David, a repentant heart seeking after God, can cry out to the Lord as David did when Saul and His army were coming after him, “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me.” (Psalm 57: 2) The blood purchased church of Jesus Christ has an ordained purpose, “The Great Commission.” This “Commission” is not only to baptize in Jesus’ Name, but to teach all who will surrender to Christ to obey everything the Word of God says. The promise is that the Lord will be with us always. (Matthew 28:19-20) Our empowerment is found in the Book of Acts, “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8) This empowerment for service is not obtained by observing church ordinances. It comes only by letting the Holy Spirit bring revelation and illumination of truth found in the Bible, thus birthing forth Holy Spirit inspired faith. This requires a continual seeking of the guidance and empowering of the Holy Spirit, inviting Him to reside in the home of the spiritual heart of the born again Christian.
The humble servant of the Lord, Dwight L. Moody let God remind him of a truth that applies to the Body of Christ. He writes, “…I can only say God revealed Himself to me! I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand! I went to preach again. The [messages] were no different. I did not present any new truth. Yet hundreds were converted. I would not [go] back that position in life where I was before that blessed experience.”
Let the Holy Spirit come home into your heart. God loves us. We as a church do not need to worry whether or not we have enough programs or are doing enough for the Lord. We need only to rest in His love for us. Rejoice in what He has already done in this Body of Christ right now.
Asa understood God’s love for Him, thus he had confidence to come to the Lord while facing the largest army ever recorded in Scripture coming against God people. Asa saw the Lord bring a great victory as he prayed and walked in faith before the God of Judah. (2 Chronicles 14:12-15)
Restore true worship in the church of Christ
Approaching the Lord as Asa did and resting in God’s love enables the children of God to approach the Lord in prayer. Opening the spiritual heart and allowing the Spirit of Christ to reside there enables the child of God to receive revelation, do what is right in God’s sight and restore true worship in the church of Christ. The Bible says, “…time… has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23)
The Lord knows what His obedient seeking children need. God’s working in and through the life of Asa reveals to us three sure things that happens when the Spirit of God is working in the in the Body of Christ. 1.) The church has Holy Spirit anointed servants. 2.) The church is cleansed by the Holy Spirit and 3.) The church serves the Lord wholeheartedly.
At the end of 2 Chronicles 14 we read of the Lord giving King Asa a great victory over a massive enemy. In the first part of chapter 15 we see Asa returning from the Lord’s victorious pursuit of the Ethiopians. (Jamieson Fausset and Brown; A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory; Matthew Henry Commentary) Asa was met by the Prophet Azariah who had a Word from the Lord for Him. 2 Chronicles 15:1 says, “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah.” The term “The Spirit of God” exhibits incontestably the manifold function of the Holy Spirit of God working through a servant of the Lord. (The Pulpit Commentary)
What we have in the Holy Spirit working through the Prophet Azariah is the Old Testament example of the New Testament Holy Spirit given gift of “prophesying” (propheteia) (Acts 13:2; Romans 12:6 1 Corinthians 12:4-8,13:2;14:6,24,30-31; The Complete Word Study of the NT; The Septuagint use this same Greek word in 2 Chronicles 15:8) This gift enables the church to enjoy Holy Spirit inspired messages of warning and exhortation, the giving of instructions, judging and making the secrets of the heart known. It is preaching the message of God through intelligible preaching given through intelligible messages. (Word Studies of the New Testament; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament; Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament) It is important to note that “prophesying” is not primarily prediction but the communication of revealed truth that will both convict and build up the hearers.
Where the Holy Spirit is at home in the Lord’s church there will be faithful preachers who have the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit. These preachers will preach and prayerfully prepare messages that correctly handle the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2:15) There will be Christians in that church hungry to hear the Word of God proclaimed and taught.
Dr. Ed Stetzer comments on Biblical Holy Spirit preaching, “Everybody seems to be an expert on preaching, because everyone who listens to a sermon has an idea of whether or not they like it. False boundaries abound when it comes to preaching—many will say that there is only one biblical form of preaching, but they have missed the point. There are many ways to communicate, but preaching requires a Biblical foundation from which to communicate. Biblical preaching must include something to make it a Biblical message rather than a speech.”
“The Bible does say to ‘Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.’” (2 Timothy 4:2-3)
“When looking at boundaries, we have to determine what is NOT commanded but acceptable, certain preaching methods and temper that with what is essential, Biblical preaching.. If the word is preached and it accomplishes the Biblical objectives – correct, rebuke and encourage – then we have ‘preached the Word.’ If that sermon takes a verse-by-verse form, then it accomplishes that biblical objective. If it is thematic and dealing with a topic from a multitude of applied Scriptures, that is acceptable as well. As long as the Scripture sets the agenda of the text and the Scripture is faithfully delivered.”
Pastor, Evangelist and Prophet David Wilkerson wrote it well, “Where the Holy Spirit resides there will be no satisfaction in cotton candy messages.” I would like to add, “Our pulpits need to return to preaching God’s Word and the people of God must learn to hate chocolate covered marshmallow messages and be hungry for the meat or the solid food of God’s Word.” (Hebrews 5:12)
Holy Spirit led messages give guidance and comfort, just as Azariah’s message did, “Listen to me, Asa and all of Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. Every Holy Spirit anointed message encompasses the whole truth of God’s Word.
Azariah’s message was not, “O King Asa, no one can win wars like you can,” rather exhortation and warning, keeping the record straight. Asa enjoyed, as all Christians can, God’s Holy Spirit empowerment in their lives and anointing upon their labors with the Lord. (2 Chronicles 15:7)
Holy Spirit revelation and illumination lead to production of fruit of repentance and Christians who throw out modern day idols. The Bible says, “When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah… he took courage. He removed the testable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured… He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the… Lord’s temple” (2 Chronicles 15:8)
After hearing the Lord’s message, and the promise of God being with him and the nation, Asa become a zealous reformer. He got idolatry out of the land and restored worship back to the Lord. Prophetic encouragement brings genuine responses from those who have ears to hear the Word of the Lord and a heart to walk in His will. The church must have the Holy Spirit’s presence to birth forth true repentance and cleansing so the Body of Christ may enjoy the abundant life in Christ. (The Pulpit Commentary; Matthew Henry Commentary; Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary; A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory)
It is imperative that the New Testament church has an understanding of what is so sinful about idols. In the Old Testament idolatry included 1.) The departure from true worship to God to the worship of false gods, whether by means of images or otherwise and 2.) The worship of the Lord by means of images. (The New International Dictionary of the Bible) The Lord God is a jealous God and He will not accept any worship given to Him apart from what is clearly spelled out in the written Word nor will He put up forever with His children giving honor and praise to some other god.
In the New Testament Jesus warned against making possessions central in life because they can easily become an idols. He warned that man cannot both serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24) The apostle Paul, in Romans 1:18-25, teaches that idolatry is not the first stage of religion… rather it is deliberate apostasy.
This is why the New Testament Christians are repeatedly warned to be on their guard against idolatry. The Old Testament concept of idolatry is widened to include anything that leads to the dethronement of God from the heart. (The New International Dictionary of the Bible) The Holy Spirit warns us in the writings of the apostle Paul, “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (Ephesians 5:5) The Holy Spirit also moved this great apostle to write what Christians are to urgently do, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” (Colossians 3:5-6)
When the Holy Spirit is working in the home of the spiritual heart of Christians, the true church will do what Asa and the people of Judah did. “They entered in to a covenant to seek the Lord… with all their heart and soul. They sought God eagerly, and He was found by them.” (2 Chronicles 15:12,15)
Dead religion is man looking for God, trying to earn favor with God by the way he worships. These hypocrites try to look like worshipers of God by religious acts. This is dead religion and causes a form of godliness but denies the power of God to govern our daily lives and change a person from within. (2 Timothy 3:5) This is the heartbeat of legalism, traditionalism, denominationalism and faddism.
Jesus said that the true worshiper worships in spirit and truth. Jesus is teaching that the reflection of our character is lived out with regard to our duty which comes from a heart response to the sacrificial love He has shown us.
The Holy Spirit illuminated church has Christians who worship the Lord Jesus in spirit and truth. They rely completely on the Spirit of Christ, who indwells them for guidance and strength to live out what God’s Word instructs them to do. The Holy Spirit has brought a spiritual understanding of what the psalmist wrote about in Psalm 51:6-7 and their daily heart cry is, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:6-7)
Come Holy Spirit do a work in me
The true church spends seasons seeking the Lord Jesus in prayer and in these last days the church must be honest in her spiritual evaluations. She must be willing to say “Come Holy Spirit do a work in me.”
2 Chronicles 16 records a tragedy in the life of a man who saw first hand the Lord’s mighty power to save. He heard the prophecy spoken over him and the nation he ruled over. When faced with war in this time of history Asa took silver and gold out of the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and his own palace to enter into an agreement with the King of Aram. (2 Chronicles 16:2) God sent the seer Hanani to speak a word of rebuke to Asa because he put trust in man and not God, (2 Chronicles 16:7-9) Asa became angry and further added to his sin by putting God’s spokesman into prison. (2 Chronicles 16:10) The Bible says, “…Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord…” (2 Chronicles 16:12)
This portion of Asa’s life shows us God’s mercy in trying to bring Asa to repentance and turn him back to a life of faithfulness and trust in the Lord—the lifestyle he had exhibited for so many years. As far as we are aware that repentance never came. The truth for the Body of Christ is to be willing to seek the Lord for a fresh touch of His Holy Spirit as we serve Him in every situation of life. Let the Lord Jesus do a work in us through the Holy Spirit so the whole Body of Christ may enjoy the abundant life promised in the Bible.
God’s spokesman had a message for Asa that applies to us today, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him…” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
In Closing: The church has an enemy and he knows that he running out of time. The Body of Christ needs more of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, cleansing and empowerment more than ever. No one is beyond falling into the arms of the flesh and becoming embittered by the trials of life we must go through in order to maintain that personal, intimate, complete trust in the Lord Jesus that God wants from us. As the church maintains a heart cry that says “Come Holy Spirit, do thy Father’s will in us,” she will be a victorious church achieving the Lord’s perfect will for her.
The Lord knows what His obedient seeking children need. Through allowing the Holy Spirit to do a work in His church the Body of Christ will enjoy 1.) Holy Spirit anointed servants. 2.) Cleansing by the Holy Spirit and 3.) The ability to serve the Lord wholeheartedly while being led of the Holy Spirit who brings life to the Written Word.
- L. Moody was recognized as a child of God who had Holy Spirit filling. An unknown resource wrote, “Moody was to have a campaign in England. An elderly pastor protested, ‘Why do we need this Mr. Moody? He is uneducated and inexperienced. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?’ A younger, wise pastor rose and responded, ‘No, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on Mr. Moody.’”
Are we as a Body of Christ willing to fast and pray that the Holy Spirit comes to Norton County and do a work in us? That the Lord would send the Spirit of Christ to set people free from the bondage of the flesh, the lures of the world and the lies of the devil? When it is all over, will CrossRoads Church be found faithful in asking God to do a work in Norton County because of the work Christ as already done on the Cross of Calvary?
When we make it to heaven, will those who did a hard faithful work in this church before us find that we were faithful to ask God to turn this church into a spiritual hospital where Holy Spirit heart surgery is being done? (Ezekiel 36:26-27) Is this where Christians are receiving a powerful thirst and hunger for the Word of God, Christians saying “Lord Jesus teach me to pray.” Asking the Lord to make us a church where all the Holy Spirit given gifts are being exercised out of sacrificial love.