Oh Lord, send a great awakening among your people again according to Your Word; by Your Holy Spirit, for the praise of Your glory, for the spread of Your gospel, for the holiness of Your people. Leave us not in the condition in which we awoke this morning, but conform us by Your grace to Christlikeness so that we may be vessels fit for the Master's use.
This only is a work of heaven--for no man can conjure up a genuine move of God; no man can transform the heart of another; no man can stir the conscience to repentance, convict the soul of sin, and invoke contrition over iniquity. All our ways are impotent before You; and even when we have done all to obey You, we are still "unprofitable servants."
But the true church marches on her knees; and so may we run into the prayer closet this very hour, shut the door and see what You by Your sovereign grace will accomplish. For "it is not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit" says the Lord.
Forgive us Lord for being consumed with the advancement of our own ministries at the expense of others, for measuring the effectiveness of Your work by the size of a church's yearly offerings, and for charging others for that which we have received freely by Your grace. Dash to the ground our paltry plans, our self-devised and promoted reputations, our carefully positioned and politically aligned agendas and alliances. As my friend once said, "How can we be so dead when we've been so well fed; Jesus rose from the grave, but we, we can't even get out of bed."
May The Swordsman, by His divine sword, whittle us down to size as You did Gideon of old, so that we may not find comfort, resolve, or hope in our own strength, wisdom or wealth. May all our lowly boasting turn to tears, all our pride turn to dust, all our vain exaltations of self turn to ash; may our "laughter turn to mourning and our joy to heaviness" until reformation comes... until revival comes to Your people. Break our stubborn hearts with the hammer of Your Word and humble us under Your reverential fear until our deepest longing, passion and joy is found only in Christ Jesus the Lord.
Glorify Yourself for Your names sake only...
"A true revival means nothing less than a revolution, casting out the spirit of worldliness, making God's love triumph in the heart." -Andrew Murray
“When God has something very great to accomplish for His Church, it is His will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of His people, as is manifest by Ezekiel 36:37... And it is revealed that, when God is about to accomplish great things for His Church, He will begin by a remarkable pouring out of the spirit of grace and supplication (Zechariah 12:10). If we are not to expect that the devil should go out of a particular person, under a bodily possession, without extraordinary prayer, or prayer and fasting, how much less should we expect to have him cast out of the land and the world without it!” -Jonathan Edwards
"God's quickening visitation of his people, touching their hearts and deepening his work of grace in their lives." -J. I. Packer
”I did then preach much upon original sin, repentance, the nature and necessity of conversion, in a close, examinatory and distinguished way; laboring in the meantime to sound the trumpet of God's judgments, and alarm the secure by the terrors of the Lord, as well as to affect them by other topics of persuasion: which method was sealed by the Holy Spirit in the conviction and conversion of a considerable number of persons, at various times and in different places in that part of the county." -George Whitefield
The Prayers of the Saints
To be clothed upon with the "righteousness of GOD," is to occupy a position of dignity and glory to which no other creature can aspire. Angels stand in the aphelion, saints in the center, of the Sun of Righteousness. Lord! let the infidel deny the character, and the worldling scorn the name, number me among your saints everlasting, upon whom is conferred the privilege of fellowship and nearness with You here, and glory, honor, and immortality with You hereafter!
But what is the incense?—"the prayers of saints." The emblem is exquisitely beautiful and expressive. It is one of the highest conceptions of poetry, in one of its most sacred forms. Prayer is holy incense. The margin of the passage so renders it, and David so employs the expression in connection with prayer: "Let my prayer come before You as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." We have but glanced at the truth that the saints of God are a praying people—that communion with the Triune Jehovah is an essential characteristic. The thought is so important, we propose in a few pages to amplify it. We have said that devotion is a symptom of life, an evidence of true piety, a characteristic of a saint of God. This remark holds good in its universal application. True prayer is that one vital principle that animates, energizes, and sanctifies the universal family of God. Whatever their differences of ecclesiastical polity, discipline, or worship—whatever their varied gifts, attainments, or position in society, prayer is the moral atmosphere of the one Church of God. "Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among those who call upon His name; they called upon the Lord, and He answered them."
No man is a saint of God who is not a praying man; and a praying man, find him where you may, is a saint of God. He may prefer the place and the mode of prayer which his conscience best approves; and whether that place be a cathedral or a barn, and the mode be liturgical or free, is of no essential moment. If, penetrating within the inner and hidden shrine, he waves before its altar the censer of a truly contrite, believing, adoring heart, drawing near to God in the name of Jesus, and holding fellowship with the Invisible, that man is a man of prayer, is a recognized saint of the Most High, and as such we should recognize and commune with him as a Christian brother beloved.
PRAYER must be the living, enshrouding atmosphere of a saint of God. Not one moment could we live without it. Prayer—either breathed from the believer's heart on earth, or from the lips of the Great Intercessor in heaven—sustains each moment the life of God in the soul of man. Ah, beloved! where could you go with those burdens, those wants, those chafings, those backslidings, those shortcomings, those sorrows, which compose so large a part of daily life, but to the throne of grace? Where could you resort for mercy, for strength, for fortitude, for patience, for comfort and soothing, but where the God of love and power meets you and talks with you through Jesus, as man communes with his friend? It is in this light we come to regard prayer, not merely as a divine command, or as a Christian duty, but as the holiest, sweetest, and most precious privilege God has given to us on earth. Look at its grandeur—a mortal, a sinful mortal, in audience with the God of heaven! And when we consider that mortal in the light of a child and that God in the character of a Father, the spectacle becomes one of unsurpassed beauty and tenderness. But look at its preciousness. It comprehends all the minutiae of our daily life.
- "Casting all your care upon Him."
- "Be careful for nothing; but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God."
He who created the minute things of nature, alike regards the minute things in providence, and despises not the "day of small things" in grace. God made the atoms that form the pyramids, the mote that dances in the sunbeam, the insect that swims in the ocean drop. Do you think, then, that He can be indifferent to, or regard as beneath His notice, the smallest care, the most delicate sorrow, the lowest want, the lowest interest, that relates to you? Impossible! Learn, then, to entwine with your petitions the small cares, the trifling sorrows, the little wants of daily life. Whatever affects you—be it a changed look, an altered tone, an unkind word, a slight, a wrong, a wound, a demand you cannot meet, a charge you cannot notice, a sorrow you cannot disclose—turn it into prayer, and send it up to God.
Disclosures you may not make to man you can make to the Lord. Man may be too little for your great matters, God is not too great for your small ones. Only give yourself to prayer, whatever be the occasion that calls for it. Send up your heart unto God just as it is. Send up a whole heart, and He will return it a broken heart. Send up a broken heart, and He will return it a healed heart. Send up a cold heart, and He will return it a loving heart. Send up an empty heart, and He will return it a full heart. Send up a praying heart, and He will return it a praising heart. Only send up your heart to heaven, whatever its frame or condition, its desires or wants, and your Heavenly Father's loving, gracious heart will descend and meet it when its pinions have scarce left the earth to sweep in faith and prayer the skies. "Trust in Him at all times. You people, pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us." "And it shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer: and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." Wonderful encouragement to prayer!" -Octavius Winslow
to Encourage our Hearts Today
"O God, may Thy Spirit speak in me that I may speak to thee. I have no merit, let the merit of Jesus stand for me. I am undeserving, but I look to Thy tender mercy. I am full of infirmities, wants, sin; Thou art full of grace.
I confess my sin, my frequent sin, my willful sin; all my powers of body and soul are defiled: a fountain of pollution is deep within my nature. There are chambers of foul images within my being; I have gone from one odious room to another, walked in a no-man's-land of dangerous imaginations, pried into the secrets of my fallen nature.
I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself; I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles; I am a fading leaf that the wind drives away; I live bare and barren as a winter tree, unprofitable, fit to be hewn down and burnt. Lord, dost Thou have mercy on me?
Thou hast struck a heavy blow at my pride, at the false god of self, and I lie in pieces before Thee. But Thou hast given me another master and lord, Thy Son, Jesus, and now my heart is turned towards holiness, my life speeds as an arrow from a bow towards complete obedience to Thee. Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride. Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life, from everything that is natural to fallen man, and let Christ's nature be seen in me day by day. Grant me grace to bear Thy will without repining, and delight to be not only chiseled, squared, or fashioned, but separated from the old rock where I have been embedded so long, and lifted from the quarry to the upper air, where I may be built in Christ for ever."
"Lord Jesus, I sin. Grant that I may never cease grieving because of it, never be content with myself, and never think I can reach a point of perfection. Kill my envy, command my tongue, and trample down self. Give me grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure, peaceable, to live for Thee and not for self, to copy Thy words, acts, spirit, to be transformed into Thy likeness, to be consecrated wholly to Thee, to live entirely to Thy glory.
Deliver me from attachment to things unclean, from wrong associations, from the predominance of evil passions, from the sugar of sin as well as its gap; that with self-loathing, deep contrition, earnest heart searching I may come to Thee, cast myself on Thee, trust in Thee, cry to Thee, be delivered by Thee.
O God, the Eternal All, help me to know that all things are shadows, but Thou art substance; all things are quicksand, but Thou art mountain; all things are shifting, but Thou art anchor; all things are ignorance, but Thou art wisdom.
If my life is to be a crucible amid burning heat, so be it, but do Thou sit at the furnace mouth to watch the ore that nothing be lost. If I sin willfully, grievously, tormentedly, in grace take away my mourning and give me music; remove my sackcloth and clothe me with beauty; still my sighs and fill my mouth with song, then give me summer weather as a Christian.”
Confession and Petition
"Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find Thy mind in Thy Word, of neglect to seek Thee in my daily life. My transgressions and shortcomings present me with a list of accusations, but I bless Thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do Thou rule over me in liberty and power.
I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness. Go on with Thy patient work, answering 'no' to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it. Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Thy rule. I thank Thee for Thy wisdom and Thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject, for sometimes putting me into the furnace to refine my gold and remove my dross.
No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin. If Thou should give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give me sanctified affliction. Deliver me from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of Thy grace in me, everything that prevents me taking delight in Thee. Then I shall bless Thee, God of Jeshurun, for helping me to be upright."