“It was praying that rent the heavens; praying that received direct answers there and then. The spirit of intercession was so mightily poured out that the whole congregation would pray simultaneously for hours! Strangers were startled to hear the young and unlettered pray with such unction and intelligence as they were swept up to the Throne of Grace by the Spirit of God. Worship and adoration was unbounded. Praise began to mingle with the petitions as answered prayer was demonstrated before their very eyes.” James Stewart
Fervent prayer prepares the way for revival. Day and night intercession and worship is a big key to revival. The combination of intercession and worship was a major part of the past revivals in history. Why are extended times of prayer so important? There are so many wonderful reasons. Let me name a few:
- Prayer changes us.
- It sets us free from worldly pursuits.
- It opens the way for uninterrupted time with God.
- It gives us a burden for what is on God’s heart.
- It brings us into deeper humility and repentance.
- It draws us closer to God and brings revelation.
- It builds unity.
- It teaches us the Word.
- It brings extraordinary answers to prayer.
The benefits are so vast. In all my studies about revival, I have seen that day and night, intense and earnest prayer was one of the major keys found in all revivals. And it was prayer and worship together that brought the power of God to earth in a mighty outpouring of His Spirit.
I remember a time when we were living in Virginia Beach, and bad weather was rapidly approaching our area in the middle of the night. Not liking heavy storms, I quickly got up and anxiously turned on the television to see what they were reporting. The weather report was bleak. With brand new weather instruments, they were able to see the movements of the wind high up in the atmosphere. The winds were circling around; I could see little circles all over our area on the weather map.
Unfortunately there was a tornado watch. I don’t like tornadoes. Being born in Minnesota, I had my fair share of tornado-like weather; I know what damage they can cause. And now we live in Kansas City—and you know the movie called “The Wizard of Oz” and how Dorothy’s house was taken up by a tornado in Kansas and dropped in the Land of Oz. Well, these clouds were all circular tornadoes high up in the sky. If they touched down, there would be a lot of destruction on the ground. To make matters worse, this same storm had produced destruction along its path throughout the south of the country. And now it was coming in our direction.
Thankfully these circling tornado clouds didn’t touch down that night. We had experienced God’s mercy and grace. But the weather reporter said that if they had swept through our area the previous afternoon when the weather was warmer, they would have caused a lot of damage in Virginia Beach. But because the evening hours had lowered the temperature, the clouds stayed high.
This reminds me of the preparation of the church for revival. When the church prays, God begins to form something in the atmosphere. His presence is like those circling tornado clouds forming as we pray. When the atmosphere of prayer and worship permeate a region, God begins to work. He is welcomed into a city. The heat and fire of prayer bring His presence and power into the atmosphere of the city.
Unlike the destruction that tornadoes bring, God is able to bring in His glory, His righteousness, and His light. But just as tornadoes destroy as they descend onto the ground, God sweeps in like the wind and is able to destroy wickedness, defeat ungodliness, and bring His salvation to those who desperately need it. He is able to purify His Church with His holiness.
When we praise God and use His double-edged sword (the Word of God) in intercession, vengeance is inflicted on the nations. We read in Psalm 149:6-9:
“May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD.”
Vengeance is God’s just retribution on those who have attacked his Kingdom. We are at war every day, and God’s Kingdom is under attack. The combination of worship and prayer releases God’s judgment against sin and rebellion on earth. It opens the way for revival in the nations.
You and I prepare the way for revival in the Church when we enter into day and night prayer and worship.
Just as tornado clouds formulate and circle around a center, unity is created through the Spirit of God by the combination of prayer and worship. This unity creates power, and the Church becomes a mighty vessel that releases God’s presence into the city. This prepares the church for revival.
God brings forth beautiful, spontaneous worship and when blended with prayer, it becomes a powerful weapon of His glory. I find this to be true as God’s people become familiar with the “harp and bowl” model of prayer (combining worship and singing together with Biblical prayer). The Biblical prayers bring forth the antiphonal singing. Singer adds to singer, and a beautiful unity comes forth as the very Word and will of God are prayed through the Holy Spirit. It’s like those circular tornado clouds descending to earth, reviving the people of God and bringing His presence into the city.
I have been in numerous prayer and worship meetings. Each one is unique and powerful, testifying to the creativity of God’s Spirit. Read this exciting testimony taken from the Welsh revival of 1904. Notice how powerfully harmonious worship and praise is with the Spirit of God leading.
“The fact is, unless heard, it is unimaginable and when heard indescribable. There was no hymnbook. No one gave out a hymn. Just anyone would start the singing, and very rarely did it happen that the hymn started was out of harmony with the mood at the moment. Once started, as if moved by a simultaneous impulse, the hymn was caught up by the whole congregation almost as if what was about to be sung had been announced and all were responding to the baton of an invisible human leader. I have seen nothing like it. Such was the perfect blending of the mood and purpose that it bore eloquent testimony to a unity created only by the Spirit of God. Another witness testified: “The praying and singing were both wonderful. There was no need for an organ. The assembly was its own organ as a thousand sorrowing or rejoicing hearts found expression in the Psalmody of their native hills.”