“I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15b
Almost 12 years ago we were in the midst of a 40-day season of prayer and fasting for revival at Chapel Ridge. During that time someone said I should go and see a new sign that she had put up in our prayer room. I did and saw it hanging over the window that looked out over the fields that surrounds our buildings. It said, “Worship, Pray and Expect Miracles”. Then I lowered my eyes and looked out the window and was surprised to see that the typically fallow field surrounding our facilities was plowed up. It was part of the 11 acres the church owned and we had allowed a local farmer to take hay off of it for several years. However, in the spring of that year he had asked if he could plow it up and plant some sorghum. I had said he could but forgot I had. Now I was looking at a plowed field that looked so different from the weed-filled land I had seen since coming to the church. I became excited as the verse came to mind about breaking up the plowed ground before revival could come. By that time, I had been praying for revival for many years and this stirred hope in me. Then I looked to my left and saw written on the wall, that we had papered with newsprint for people to write on, a verse that strengthened my faith:
“break up your unplowed ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12b).
Even as I write this story, I see rain pouring down and watering the land. However, if the land is not plowed up and good seed planted, that rain will just be watering the weeds . If God’s Spirit is poured out on our churches in response to our prayers, will our hearts be ready to receive Him and produce good fruit? Breaking up the hardness of our hearts is so necessary for revival. There are a number of symptoms of hardness of heart but one of the main ones is pride. As we pray to God to renew and revive us as a movement, let us ask God to help us to do the soul-searching and repenting necessary to uproot the pride that so gradually chokes out the fruitfulness of the Holy Spirit that lives within us.
Incidentally, almost 12 years to the day, Bishop Cliff will be joining us to dedicate to the Lord, a new 300 seat sanctuary that is sitting on the land that I saw plowed up. The Lord has heard our prayers and we have grown to the place that we needed to add on to our facilities. But we are not just dedicating our building to the Lord, more importantly we are consecrating ourselves to Him. We are setting aside another 40 days for prayer and fasting, leading up to this event, to prepare our hearts for this consecration, believing God’s promise to Joshua and the Israelites applies to us as well:
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” (Joshua 3:5)