All of us are painfully aware of the economic downturn in our country. Major banking institutions have failed. Millions of people are without jobs. Families are hurting. The government seems powerless to change it. The recession is fast turning into a depression.
But I believe that the bigger problem in our world today is not financial, but spiritual. Many in our world, and maybe even some of us, are suffering from a spiritual recession; maybe even a spiritual depression. But there is good news today– not from the world, but from the Word of God, where true encouragement is found for personal revival for your soul when you are in a spiritual recession.
Psalm 119 has places where its writer soars high in praise to God and love for the law of the Lord. But its writer also experienced the depths and heartaches we experience, and verse 25 begins with one of those down times. In eight verses the psalmist goes from “down and out in the dust” (v 25) to “up and running” (v 32). It is a prayer for revival, renewal, and restrengthening.
What a prayer for revival looks like:
The prayer: Downcast in the Dust, Revive me. (119:25). “My soul clings to the dust;” Dust was the language of humiliation or defeat in Bible times. Even in our day, we say “another one bites the dust” to refer to defeat. The psalmist certainly seems to feel defeated, emotionally and physically drained, as he says in v. 28, “My soul melts from heaviness.” Nothing is lower than dust. In the Bible, when people would intentionally put dust and ashes on themselves, it was a sign of devastation, mourning or repentance.
In biblical language, dust was also often associated with death, lack of life. Maybe the psalmist feels like he is on the brink of death. Or he may be talking about the spiritual deadness he feels, his diminished spiritual life. In the same way Adam was formed from the dust and was dependent on God’s breath of life—we are equally dependent spiritually. Apart from God’s reviving word we have no hope for spiritual vitality.
Many Christians are calling for prayer for revival for our nation. And certainly we should pray for our nation and our leaders, but let’s start where the psalmist started. Let’s pray for our own souls. “Revive me” is more than just “preserve my life” (NIV). It is “give me life” (ESV), or “quicken me” (KJV). He is as helpless to give himself life as Adam was, his total being is lying prostrate in the dust, but he cries to God for life.
The Bible is clear that revival is something man can pray for but it it’s equally clear that man cannot produce, predict or plan revival – it is a sovereign work of God’s grace. Man trying to plan a revival is kind of like man trying to plan an earthquake. We can’t control it, predict or manipulate it. God does it. That’s why we must pray for it.
A revival isn’t having a big tent meeting, filling a stadium of people for some crusade, having Christian entertainers perform, or having emotional music and long altar calls. Those things may be fine and my have their place, but revival is not the right word for that.
He prays, “Revive me according to Your Word” …
Spiritual revival is the re-awakening of God’s people joyfully to spiritual things, as well as the awakening of many for the first time to God’s saving grace in the process, after a time of spiritual dryness, dullness, deadness, even discipline. And it comes through prayer and God’s word.
Do you need revival?What would revival look like in your life?
(In the next few posts we will gain more insight to a REVIVAL PRAYER from this Psalm).