Unstopping the Wells of Revival

And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.” So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. – Genesis 26:16-1

In Genesis 26, Isaac faced a matter of life and death. The Philistine King had exiled him and Isaac found himself in the Valley of Gerar, in the Negev desert. The problem facing him was existential; it was the problem of an absence of water. There were no functioning wells and no running water in this part of the Negev. Human beings can survive for weeks without food, but not without water. Without water, life is not possible. 

Like Isaac, the Church in the West faces an existential crisis. According to the headline of a September 2022 Christianity Today article, “The Decline of Christianity Shows No Sign of Stopping.”. The crisis the American church faces is not something we can fix with half-measures or strategic tweaks. We need life. We need hydration. We need God’s power to intervene and hydrate us spiritually. We need water and we need it now. 

What did Isaac do in the midst of his existential crisis? He did not try to innovate. He did not seek out new supplies of water. As Martyn Lloyd Jones said, “the man who innovates in a crisis is a fool.” What Isaac did was go back to the wells his father had dug before. Isaac recalled that his father had been in this same country before and knew to dig wells and find water. So he went back to Abraham’s wells which had sustained his people in the previous generation and he redug them. 

We need to go back as well to the water of the past. This is not the first time the church has found itself in a spiritual drought, in danger of dehydration and death. We have been here many times before. In the late 1700s, from the pinnacle of the French Enlightenment, Voltaire predicted that Christianity would be extinct in 100 years. Within a decade of that pronouncement the 2nd Great Awakening began. It lasted all the way until the Civil War. The Providence Revival of 1820 was one of the waves of this Great Awakening. The Church found water. 

This same source of spiritual life and power that revived the people of God in ages past is still available to us today, even if over the years in between, our Enemy has thrown rubbish in the wells. The water of life is still down there, in the very same place it was in past times of revival. We must do as Isaac did; we must excavate the ancient wells of revival through our prayers.

Sanctuary Church is setting aside every Tuesday as a day of fasting and prayer. Over the next several months, every Tuesday we will focus on redigging the wells of revival through our prayers. We will be identifying the barriers and rubbish that are keeping God’s people from the life and power of God and praying through these barriers until we once again find the water.

Next Steps

  • Consider setting aside 30 minutes a day to pray on Tuesdays, sign up to receive the weekly prompt.
  • Consider committing to some sort of fast on Tuesdays. Many of the leadership community are also fasting on Tuesdays.
  • Come to Altar Zoom Prayer times at 8am and 9am.

Prayer Prompts

  • Ask God to pour out the Spirit of prayer and intercession on you and the whole Church and sustain us in seeking him for revival on Tuesdays (and other days) 
  • Ask God to give you and the church sense of urgency and spiritual thirst for God
  • Ask God to activate the whole church in praying and seeking him for revival.