At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God. And I said: “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been very guilty, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation, as it is this day. And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage.” —Ezra 9:5–8
As we wait for the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last-days scenario of yesterday’s devotional, we must ask ourselves what else we can do as we bear fruit. What, if anything, can we do to hasten revival? Though I believe God moves in ways and times according to His will and discretion, I also believe we should prepare for His moving by doing what Ezra did, which is to pray.
But Ezra prayed in a particular way, a way we need to emulate. He prayed an honest prayer, an ownership prayer, if you will. This is the type of prayer, I believe, that the American church needs to adopt as its own. Here in Ezra, as well as in Daniel 9 and Nehemiah 9, we can see two key components in the prayers of these three great men for their nations: ownership and repentance. Scripture provides for us the prayer of each of these three great men of whom nothing negative is recorded, and each one was an honest prayer of ownership for the spiritual condition and captivity of the children Israel. Ezra not only acknowledged the long-standing guilt of God’s people but also demonstrated a spirit of repentance, saying he was ashamed to even lift up his face to God.
Ownership and repentance ready us for the time when God chooses to move in a more visible and tangible way; therefore, we in the church today must pray for a measure of revival in this age of spiritual bondage. But they must be honest, humble prayers, even as the Lord told Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Then, should the Lord so choose to move in a radical and significant way, we will be ready for revival.
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