Our church spends much time in prayer. We recently concluded a twenty-four-hour-a-day, thirty-day prayer chain. Exactly what were we praying about? What were we looking for?
When I grew up in the church, all my father and grandfather ever talked about was a coming great revival. Evangelists talked about it at camp meetings: "There's a revival coming. God is going to sweep multitudes into the kingdom!"
Yet, at the heart of all this talk of revival was one basic thought: "We won't have to go out into the streets. We can just stay here and pray and the Holy Ghost will draw people in!"
The definition of revival is, "The awakening or resurrection of that which threatens to become a corpse." It means "to wake up the dead church — to revive it, resuscitate it — so that the ungodly will be inclined to enter its doors."
Beloved, the church is not supposed to have to be resurrected from the dead. We should not have to be praying for some great revival. While we have been praying for revival, horrible things have happened in our country.
Our cities are about to burst into flames. The nation is satiated with sex, pleasure, the idolatry of sports. One of every two marriages ends in divorce. We have lost an entire generation of young people to cynicism, hardness, and disillusionment.
The sobbing sounds of hungry, battered children now rise as thunder from our cities. Homosexuals demand marriage rights. Desperate fathers and mothers roam the streets by the hundreds, looking for work.
What should the church be doing about these things? The Bible says that if we are meeting human need — if we are obeying the commandment to be compassionate to the world, and giving ourselves to the needs of others — then we will be a well-watered garden. "If you deal your bread to the hungry . . . if you cover the naked . . . if you do not hide your face from the poor . . . if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the suffering soul . . . then the Lord shall guide you continually, satisfying your soul" (see Isaiah 58:5-12). "Thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (verse 11).
God wants every one of us to be a part of His compassionate heart to the world.