Maybe some of you are curious as to why I chose to title this website “Revive”. Maybe some of you haven’t even noticed the title and really aren’t too interested in the reason for the name. Regardless, I’m going to tell you about it because it’s important to me and because I think you’ll enjoy it (humor me if you don’t).
You may find it odd to learn that I spent several weeks praying about the name for this website. It’s just a WordPress website that maybe 50 people will visit. Why such a fuss and effort over the title? Because words matter. And I want each word on this site to be infused with the workings of the Holy Spirit. I considered and mulled over several names, some sounding too presumptuous for my taste and some feeling too inadequate for what I desired to convey. I wanted a title that in a few words could express what my prayer is for those who visit this site, those in my life, and the American church. The more time I’ve spent in prayer, the more the Lord presses on me that we as believers must be praying for those around us. Ironically, the more time I spend here in Haiti, the more my heart longs to see the American church and her families and marriages restored. We need to be brought back to life. We need that something that breathes life back into our faltering lives and relationships.
I’ve recently been reading Jim Cymbalta’s “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire” (which is an excellent read for those interested). One of his sections is titled “How Revival Starts”. Let me pause here. Before I continue I want to clarify when I use the word “revival” I’m not talking about old school Baptist hell and fire revival. That’s too cold for me, too liturgical. The kind of revival I’m talking about is the kind that gets everyone else talking about it. I’m referring to the life-altering kind; the kind where you so greatly encounter God and His Holiness you can’t remain unmoved. The kind of revival that’s so personal no one would assume it could’ve come from inside the walls of a church. You see, as much as I pray revival for the Church, I know it doesn’t begin in the pulpit. Revival begins at the alter of our soul, not at the alter of a sermon.
With that clarification, I continue. Jim Cymbalta explains that great revival always begins with personal revival, led by the prayers of men and women who long to see the status quo bucked. This is me. This is whom God, by His grace, has formed me into – a woman on her knees praying for the restoration of the Church, my friends, my family, myself. It was in my time praying for others that God revealed what my prayer for this site should be. If restoration and reconciliation is the purpose of most of my prayers, shouldn’t it be the purpose of most of my posts? Paul reminds us it is God who’s given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
As I continued reading, Cymbalta referenced Asaph’s prayer in Psalm 80. In this chapter Asaph looks around and sees the depravity of Israel and responds by crying out to God for restoration of the people. As I look around at America today and see her families, her marriages, her people, I see depravity. I see people chasing comfort and material gains. I see people who claim to be Christian’s but haven’t been inside the church doors in years. I see broken families, broken marriages, broken people, longing to find that restorative contentment. We’ve replaced true faith and worship with halfhearted church attendance and mechanical prayers. Instead of choosing to worship the marvelous Christ, we choose to worship mediocre Christianity.
Isn’t it odd that God would put a microscope over the brokenness of America amidst me living in third world Haiti? Odd maybe, but this is the task God has assigned me for this season: to pray for the American Church and to use the words He gives me to point people back to Him. Christians can no longer continue blending with the rest of culture. Asaph cries out again in verse 18 “Revive us, and we will call on Your name”. This was the verse God gave me in response to my prayers about a website title. My job is to cry out to God on behalf of my family, my friends, my coworkers, and anyone else who stumbles upon this site. My prayer is God will revive us and we will see people turning and crying out to God like never before.
Webster Dictionary’s definition of revive is “to return to consciousness or life”. So why “Revive”? Because if we can encounter God, we can be returned to life. If we can return to life, we will cry out to God. If we will cry out to God, we will find our purpose. And if we can find our purpose, we can find life. Life overflowing. So I pray for you. I pray God will revive you. I pray you will be restored to life. And I pray you begin to cry out to God for restoration.
Be gracious to me, God,
According to Your faithful love;
According to Your abundant compassion,
Blot out my rebellion.
Wash away my guilt,
And cleanse me from my sin…
God, create a clean heart for me
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not banish me from Your presence
Or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
And give me a willing spirit.
Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways,
And sinners will return to You.
– Psalm 51:1-2, 10-13 (HCSB)