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Renewal and Revival Begin with Prayer
If we caught the vision of one city-wide church, with one heart and mind, calling out with one voice to God, nothing would be impossible through God.

The prayer of Jesus in John 17:21 has not yet been fulfilled: “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

A divided church cannot win the war for its city.

“It will take the city-wide church to win the city-wide war.” That phrase by Francis Frangipane became embedded in my spirit when I first read it in the 1980’s. Inside I said a wholehearted “YES.”

Many of us heard that same message and became involved with the March for Jesus movement that took us out of the safe four walls of church and onto the streets of our cities, so the world could see our joy and unity in Christ. It was a start to overcoming the barriers of race, colour, creed and denominations. Churches joined with one heart and one mind and every step became a prayer, uniting us as one body of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But that was only one step, on one day, once a year, for a few years. And so our cities are not totally transformed with the renewing power of the Holy Spirit. Far from it. Much more is needed. But what?

Genesis 11 tells of man’s attempt to build a city, to make a name for themselves.

They were one people, with one language; and nothing would now be impossible for them. So God confused their language, scattered them and they stopped building the city. We know now that “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (Psalm127:1).

In sharp contrast to the Tower of Babel’s focus on glorifying man’s accomplishments, after Christ’s ascension the disciples were continually in the temple in one accord in prayer and supplication and praising and worshipping God.

It was in this atmosphere of fervent, united, persistent prayer that the Holy Spirit came and filled them and they began to speak in other tongues so that each person listening heard them speaking in his or her own language about the mighty works of God. A great revival broke out. Three thousand souls were saved in one day. They began sharing their goods, meeting people’s needs, breaking bread together and continually praising God. They found favour and the church grew. This truly was Renewal and Revival in the city!

Psalm 133 emphasizes this same principle: “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life for evermore.” We all know this truth but it is very hard to put it into practice. We are by nature inclined to the very opposite; enmity, strife, jealousy, selfishness, dissension, envy and party spirit. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we become transformed and are able to display the fruits of the Spirit, which are necessary for truly praying and working together in unity.

David Y. Cho in his book, Prayer: Key to Revival, says: “I am convinced that renewal is possible anywhere people dedicate themselves to prayer. Prayer has been the key to every revival in the history of Christianity,” (p. 7). Francis Frangipane in his book, The House of the Lord, takes this a step further: “a divided church cannot win the war for its city. Corporate prayer is always a prerequisite for revival,” (p.116). We cannot say to one another: “I have no need of you.” We must repent of the independence, spiritual pride and insecurities that keep us isolated from one another.

The prayer of Jesus in John 17:21 has not yet been fulfilled: “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” If we would catch the vision of one city-wide church, with one heart and mind, calling out with one voice to God, there would be nothing impossible through God and He would reveal His unique strategy for revival for each city.

It is my prayer that God’s people in our communities will arise, will hear the call to united, fervent prayer and join with others of all denominations with a common vision to see God’s Spirit move once again with revival and renewing power.

“If we catch the vision of one city-wide church, with one heart and mind, calling out with one voice to God, there would be nothing impossible through God.”

Jessie Cooper is a Christian counsellor in the Hamilton area, and a member of the Nehemiah Prayer Network (www.nehemiahprayernetwork.com).

Originally published in Beacon, March/April 2008.

 

 
 
 
 

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