Ask any church leader why America–or the churches in general or a denomination in particular or all Christians–does not (do not) have revival and the answers will usually come out to something like: “We’re not praying,” or “We’re not praying hard enough,” or “This takes prayer and fasting.”
Today, I spent an hour on the internet reading some of the hundreds of websites on the subject of revival. Those that attempt to cover the subject of why we are not experiencing revival usually attribute it to sin, complacency, or prayerlessness.
Maybe they’re right, but it seems to me those answers are missing the point.
The reason we’re not having revival may indeed be that we’re not praying for one. After all, Scripture assures us that “you have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2)
But that just leads to the question of why we’re not praying for revival. The answer, I strongly suggest, is simple: we don’t want a revival. We like things the way they are.
I said it and will stand by it: we do not want revival. The churches don’t, the church members don’t, and very few of the pastors want a genuine Heaven-sent revival.
After all, revival means change, and we don’t want change. We’re too comfortable the way things are at the present.
I used to have an elderly man in my last church who showed up for services from time to time mainly because of his wife. Once when I was visiting in their home, I learned that five years earlier, he had had a heart bypass operation. His wife said, “And pastor, the doctor ordered him to walk several blocks a day, but he won’t do it.”
I tried to shame him a little. After all, the walking was for his own good and might prolong his life. He said, “Preacher, the reason I don’t walk is simple. Walking interferes with my routine.”
His wife scoffed, “What routine! Pastor, he goes to the casino!”
He lived two more years, still spending his days with the slot machines.
That, in a word, is why the great masses of Christians do not pray for nor desire revival: it would interfere with their routine.
By “revival,” we mean an across-the-board movement of the Holy Spirit as He touches hearts, changes minds, melts pride, and transforms sinners.
In a revival, the hearts of God’s people are broken in repentance and humility, the Lord’s people come together in love and service, and the Lord’s work of ministry and giving and witnessing and missions moves forward at warp speed.
Now, logically, most Christians would like these things to occur. In our heart of hearts, we know this is what is going to be required for God to transform the modern church and make it once again a missionary organization. We know the people of our community are not going to be reached in numbers big enough to have any kind of impact until the Lord’s people have a new touch of God in their lives. And we confess we want that, that we desire revival.
But we don’t. Not really.
Everything inside us resists change. Our ego resists Anyone else sitting on the throne over our lives. Our spirit rebels at Another calling the shots. Our bodies are afflicted with inertia, which we learned in the chemistry lab means a resting body prefers to remain at rest.
Now, I’ve seen revival and perhaps you have, too.