Lisa and I pray together every morning before we start our day. There are prayers for our kids--their safety, their growth, their relationships, their future. We pray for other family and friends who have current needs. We pray for each other and for our church. Lately, one of the consistent prayers we have uttered for ourselves and the church (both Ridgeview and the universal church) is that God would send revival. Not a meeting, a transformation.
Throughout history, God has sent times of revival but ONLY when God's people were willing to do their part. I found myself in 2 Kings this morning, re-reading the story of King Josiah. He became king at age 8 and ruled from Jerusalem for 31 years. The cool part of his story is the revival he ushered in for Judah at age 26. One day, he sent his secretary on an errand to the temple. There, the high priest informed the secretary that he had found this cool book in the temple that he thought the king might be interested in. The secretary read it for the king. The king was moved to tears and repentance. (that book? The Torah, or law, which was the "bible" for those in Judah in that day).
Josiah's response was what I think God seeks from His people before revival comes. Josiah left nothing to chance. He purified the temple. He tore down every false idol in Judah. Every...single...one. He sought the idols out himself and made sure there were no more poles, no more holy places. He even had the false priests, who had misled the people, put to death. He got rid of the mediums and fortune tellers as well. He did not leave anything to chance. He radically removed any pretense of sin from his nation and Judah was blessed. Revival came.
The final summation of Josiah's life and reign was this:
Neither before or after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did--with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with the Law of Moses. 2 Kings 23: 25 NIV
Think about that statement--"neither before or after." That's some serious company that Josiah has been placed in--David, Samuel, Hezekiah--all good kings in their own right. But Josiah did what we need to do. He uncovered the truths of God's Word found in the Scriptures, he repented and prayed for God's direction, and he removed every temptation, every sin, and every lingering obstacle to his obedience.
The revival we seek will never come until we get serious about the sin that we harbor in our lives. We must not allow sin to co-exist with Christ in our homes because it only leaves room for failure. God seeks those who will respond with the fervor of Josiah. Then, revival will come and we, and our families, will be blown away by how truly good our God is.