What is the most important thing that we need to do to have a revival?
Great question! Over the years many have studied revival, the path to revival, and Bible passages related to conditions for revival. The summary of these conditions seems to be expressions of humbling ourselves before the Lord. My father used to say that James 4:8-10 is the New Testament version of 2 Chronicles 7:14.
James 4:8-10 gives the challenge: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” The last statement summarizes the previous statements with a promise of revival.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says it this way: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Here the first condition is more fully expressed through a trio of clauses and then capped with the promise of revival.
Humility is the key. But what does that mean? The more I ponder 2 Chronicles 7:14, it seems the big condition, the main thing, really is to humble ourselves. Then, humility is expressed in three statements that are expressions of faith.
- Humble ourselves and pray. We humble ourselves by crying out to the Lord and not just engaging in mechanical motions. This is a heart cry that moves beyond to real faith in God.
- Humble ourselves and seek God’s presence. The word face is often translated presence. This emphasizes a passion for God Himself. We humble ourselves in admitting our need of God—not just blessings from God, but the person of God. We need God!
- Humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways. We humble ourselves by getting thoroughly honest—not just about our sins, but also about our love of that which grieves the Lord. Honesty in siding with God against ourselves reveals dependence on God’s truth, His light, which reveals anything that hinders unfettered fellowship with Him.
Much more could be said about the details, but the most important matter is humility which in essence is honesty that leads to faith. Faith is always the access, but humility sees the need to depend on God.
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