On 5 October, churches around the country plan to meet in united prayer gatherings to plead with God for an outpouring of the Spirit and the revival of his work, in our desperately needy nation.
This will be the twelfth such occasion in the past three years. This ‘Concert of prayer for revival’ began as an initiative of the Yorkshire Reformed Ministers’ Fraternal at the beginning of 2011.
For the first year, the four quarterly events were limited to Yorkshire. However, for the past two years friends in other parts of the UK have chosen to meet in similar quarterly united prayer gatherings that deliberately coincide with those in Yorkshire.
Over the past 18 months or so, our prayers at these meetings have often mentioned before God the proposed redefinition of marriage, which the Queen has now seen fit to sign into law.
God purposed not to answer our specific prayers about that matter in the way that we had hoped. However, this must not discourage us. Rather, there are several positive benefits which have resulted from these developments.
The most important is that we have been compelled to sharpen our focus on the main issue, which is not any particular piece of godless and anti-biblical legislation, but our need for spiritual awakening.
The revival of the work of the gospel in the UK is the answer to every issue, and to all opponents, from whatever source. Our apparent defeat over the ‘gay marriage’ legislation has awakened us afresh to our desperate need for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in power.
So we need to be reminded again that ‘revival’ is a reality. We can easily become too blinkered in our horizons. If we neglect our evangelical history, we run the risk of losing the memory of the great works of God in the past.
Often, when the situation in the land has been even worse than it is today, God has come in surprising power. He has empowered preachers, awakened lost sinners of every hellish kind, filled churches, multiplied called and gifted missionaries, and transformed the face of the nation.
What is more, spiritual awakenings are taking place today in several parts of the world, and amongst several nationalities and people-groups. We can mention five examples: the Iranian people, Eastern China, Romania, parts of Africa, and Indonesia. Not only so, but cracks are appearing all over the Islamic empire.
Without revival, our condition is truly hopeless. Merely human exertion will not the turn the tide of godlessness, apostasy and unbelief. We have lived through an age of various gimmicks, all supposed to breathe fresh vitality into lacklustre churches.
However, every such human-inspired latest thing soon peters out, and at best becomes an opportunity for churchly self indulgence. Only a genuine move of God in mighty power can really answer our need.
But we must not despair. We must not lose hope. We must not give up. We may be living through lean and hard years, but the promises of God fill us with hope. The desperate need all around us drives us to our knees, and the promises of God’s Word call us to intercede. God has promised that ‘the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea’ (Habakkuk 2:14).
Revival is a supernatural work of God. In the UK today, our greatest need is real conversions. To that end, we need God to raise up a new generation of powerful gospel preachers. For that to happen, the churches need to be revived in gospel confidence.
Let us then unite in fervent intercession, remembering that God ‘regards the prayer of the destitute, and does not despise their prayer’ (Psalm 102:17).
We know of meetings to pray for revival planned for 5 October in the following places: York, Sheffield, Hull, Wooler, Ulverston, Preston, Accrington, Milnrow, Lincoln and Grundisburgh (9.00am), Stowmarket, Ruislip, Chatham, Yateley, Smeatharpe and Exmouth. There are also meetings planned for Newcastle upon Tyne and Brighton, but owing to local circumstances, these will take place on 12 October. All meetings begin at 10.00am, unless otherwise indicated.
If you want fuller details of any particular venue, please get in touch. If your area is not mentioned, could you be the catalyst to get something going? If you would like some help in doing this, again, do get in touch. E-mail: [email protected]
Jonathan Bayes and Erroll Hulse