Going Deeper


We’d love God to drop revival down from heaven: the complete thing in one easy-to-open package! We would love the sort of church growth that there has been in Korea and Argentina: 20% or even 30% of the population as committed believers; churches full and thousands coming to prayer meetings. But are we prepared to do something new to bring about revival? Perhaps our expectation of, and preparation for, revival should start with ourselves.

If we want something we have never had then we need to do something that we’ve never done. Let us ask God ‘What do you want me to do?’ We may need to go deeper in prayer, to come to a place of honesty and brokenness before him. A breakthrough in areas of our lives in which we struggle may be necessary. Praying all night, fasting for a week, or meeting with other churches might be what is needed to bring about a new level of fruitfulness.


When we pray for revival we might think of a move of God touching all levels of society. God in his sovereignty will choose how, when and where this might happen. But historians have identified that certain activities tend to precede revivals. J. Edwin Orr points to extra-ordinary united prayer as a prerequisite for revival. Other accounts tell of how revivals have come as God has responded to the cries of a handful of people. In the Hebridean revival men and women called upon God, often in desperation on their knees before him. Sometimes the persistent and faithful prayer of a small group of believers is what God answers; God powerfully touches the lives of individuals and works through them to reach others. This ripple effect of his touch on people’s lives can affect whole communities.

Maybe we should consider meeting with others to pray – at church, with others from different churches or simply with one or two friends. We have all heard the phrase ‘Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.’ Let’s resolve to take some steps towards the goal of revival for our area.

Nearer …

Perhaps we want to be more systematic about praying for our immediate neighbourhood. Finding out about the area is an essential first step. You can then respond with faith and action to its needs. Here are some practical suggestions:

•  Define the area you want to pray for. It could be your estate, the streets where you live, the city centre, or your parish. It may be that in your work location there are Christians who want to join you in praying there.

•  Approach other churches/networks in the area. Would anyone like to join you?

•  Map the area. Find out what activities are taking place in local schools, churches, community centres and play areas. Where do young people gather on the streets? Are there any groups in your community who are overlooked or isolated: older people, young mums, students, asylum seekers, refugees, single adults? Pray for them and see if there are ways of building bridges.

•  Ask people: What are the needs? What would they like to see change? In deprived areas, residents often feel that people come and tell them what to do. Yet they are the ones best placed to express the needs of their locality. Doing a survey of local opinions can be useful. If you do conduct a survey, be aware that communities can be weary of being asked their views, having their expectations raised, but then seeing nothing done. Be realistic with your questions and be sure to act on what you hear. The process is worthwhile and makes links between the church and the community.

•  Information can also be obtained from other sources: the council, local library and government websites are a good place to start. The national statistics website (www.statistics.gov.uk)) contains census information about health, education, unemployment and crime for every ward in the UK .

•  Be prepared to act. For example if there is rubbish constantly being dumped in a play area, God may ask you to lobby the local council, or run parenting classes – or clear it up!

But how can we make time for prayer? See the next article!