The Asbury Revival: No Preachers?
Today is day 12 of students gathering in their chapel at Asbury University and personal prayer and worship is continuing strong. The public has begun making trips to visit for themselves, traveling from out-of-state, and local government has had to address the overwhelming crowds swallowing up the small city that Asbury is in.
I have found this revival amazingly refreshing because it is absent of hype, persuasion, and leaders who one would expect to be casting the coercion influence over the crowd. I spoke to this in my previous post “The Asbury Revival: What’s Absent?“
What I have found to be interesting — as in humorously interesting — is the critics who have spoken out against the Asbury Revival in certain Facebook Groups for ministers calling it fake, not real, or not biblical. These Asbury Revival critics seem to be in agreement about what they see as the primary crime and it is the absence of someone preaching!
I love homiletics and sermons, but I completely disagree with these ministerial critics over their claim that the absence of a preacher preaching is proof that the revival is not a true revival. While the Asbury Revival is a revival of prayer and not modeled after a traditional Baptist church scheduled fall or spring revival, it can bring the blessings of the Holy Spirit upon a committed gathering seeking God. God does not require a preacher in order to reach a people for Him.
There is no verse of Scripture that states a requirement for a preacher in order to bring about personal revival. The closest one can find to support this view is Romans 10:17 that says “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
However, there is a verse of Scripture that nearly all churches and denominations have cited as the claim to revival, and it’s 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
The verse cites prayer, seeking God, and turning from sin as the requirement for revival to come. No mention of hiring an evangelist, sending out advertisements, convincing the community to attend multiple meetings, and calling people to walk the aisle to make a commitment.
I’m guessing a revival birthed by prayer is less likely to become an event whose success can be credited to a preacher or a church. A revival birthed by prayer, is clearly a revival by God’s grace, not man’s work to make something happen for God. Revival is by God, not for God.
When we come to God in prayer, we come to seek Him. Prayer is not to seek what we want, but to seek who He is. Prayer is to seek God’s face. In seeking God’s face we are seeking His very character. Prayer that is powerful, meaningful, and effective is prayer that seeks God’s face, not God’s mind, not God’s hand, but who He is! That’s the prayer that brings about revival.
Prayer that seeks God’s face is prayer that is not fixed on ourselves but on God. It is knowing and applying the principle of Hebrews 12:2 which says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In fixing our mind, our thoughts, on Jesus and Him crucified, that becomes transforming for our hearts and heads. Transformation begins with renewing our thinking (Romans 12:1-2). To rise above this world we must set our mind on things above. Prayer sets our mind toward God and away from ourselves. What we set our mind upon is what we set our life upon.
When the people of God are committed to prayer and seeking Him, they are engaged in revival, renewal, and repentance. Prayer is God’s ordained means of communion with Him. When we get face to face with God in prayer, we are getting eye to eye with Him, and we are aligning our thinking with His.
I disagree with the critics of the Asbury Revival, but I am so encouraged by this revival of prayer, which to me is more of a revival than one spurned by three-points and a poem.