Digging out the Wells of Revival: The Need for Time with Jesus
Tuesday online prayer rooms
8am prayer 30min
9am prayer 60min
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him.John 1:35-39
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”Revelation 3:20
As we continue our journey of digging out the wells of revival, praying through the barriers and hindrances to revival in our lives and in the church, we must pray about time.
Jesus wants to spend time with his people. Quality time. When the two disciples of John saw Jesus, they asked him where he was staying. Rather than give them an answer, Jesus invites them to spend the day with him. Their lives were changed by that afternoon with the Lord.
There is no substitute for time with Jesus. Time is indispensable to any relationship. It is simply not possible to be intimate with anyone on any meaningful level without spending significant time with them. We only truly know the people we spend time with. We are only influenced by the people we spend time with. We are influenced for example by Donald Trump, Elon Musk and others (for better or worse) when we spend time with their twitter feeds. Likewise, we are influenced by Jesus when we spend time with him in the word and in prayer.
Sarah and I try our best to do some sort of regular date night. It doesn’t always happen. Some dates are amazing, some are ordinary, some are distracted by the worries and cares of life. But unless we set aside the time to be together, to talk, to connect, it is easy to lose touch with one another. Time with another person is a necessary (if not always sufficient) condition for intimacy with them.
Time with Jesus is a prerequisite for revival. Look back at any and every revival in history and you will notice that the people God used and touched and activated and brought to a deeper level with him to bless the church and the world around them have at least one thing in common…they spent time with Jesus. Significant time.
Evan Roberts went to a prayer meeting almost every night for thirteen years before the outbreak of the Welsh Revival. Martin Luther once said, “I have so much to do today that I’m going to need to spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done.” Moses built the tent of meeting after the Golden Calf incident in Exodus 32, and he and Joshua lingered there, speaking with the Lord. Joshua never left the tent. Perhaps these examples seem extreme, but even if it is not three hours a day in God’s presence…we need significant time in God’s presence.
If we truly want revival. If we want the presence and power of God in our lives, families, neighborhoods, workplaces, church…and in our nation we might start by asking this question. Are we spending enough time with Jesus? Are we blocking our time for him? We may not know what exactly to do in the time we block out. We may not know what to do on our “date night” with Jesus – but if we have not set aside time for it, one thing is for certain, there will be no date night.
Two of the most significant breakthroughs in my spiritual life happened when I set aside time for Jesus. The first was when Sarah and I decided to set aside Tuesday nights to build an “altar of prayer” in our living room. It was a sacrifice. We gave up our usual habit of netflix, to seek Jesus in the presence of friends. Some nights it was costly – but it became the primary driver and space for renewal in both of our lives and has yielded so much fruit over the years.
The second was when I decided to actually commit to spending time with Jesus first thing in my workday. We had small children and so waking up before them was not an option. It was hard for me to take precious work time when we had childcare/school and not do “work.” But Jesus so honored my decision and my resolution to set aside time to be with him. I experienced the truth that if we abide in him, we will bear much fruit.
In Revelation 3, Jesus comes to the lukewarm church of Laodicea. It is a church in many ways like the American Church. Proud,, wealthy, and spiritually lukewarm, like the water in the city that had to travel five miles from a hot spring through the Roman aqueducts. By the time it got to the city the water was lukewarm – just like the faith of the Laodiceans. (And perhaps much like the faith of the church in America.) What is the solution to lukewarm faith? It is time with Jesus.
“Behold,” Jesus says, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Jesus wants to have a meal with us, a coffee with us. And he wants to talk with us. And this requires time.
A while back, my wife started correcting me about time. When I’d say to her, “sorry honey, I didn’t have time to do that thing you asked me to,” she’d start replying, “what you mean is that it wasn’t a priority for you.” And though I hate to admit it, she was right. For much of the church, many of us included, spending time with Jesus has not been a priority. It’s time to repent. There is no way revival will come unless a group of people resolve to spend time with Jesus. Regular, quality time with Jesus. Every day.
When can you spend time with Jesus in your life? Extra grace goes to parents of young children and people with non-predictable schedules. But even here, creativity is possible. Consider looking at your calendar and adding up the time you spend with Jesus, versus time you spend on your newsfeed or social media or watching TV. Ask God to show you what you could eliminate so as to be with him more.
Consider making a commitment to a regular space in your life for time with God. Many in the church are rediscovering the power set hour prayer…praying in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. Try this out for a season and consider making it a lifelong practice.
Let’s repent for not making time with Jesus a priority. Let’s ask him to rearrange our priorities and our schedules to reflect what Paul calls “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3) Let’s ask him to fill our time with him with his Spirit and stir our hearts to want to be with him. Let’s pray for the lukewarm faith of the western church to become hot as we spend quality time with Jesus. Let’s ask God to guide our time with him so that it becomes a space of soul refreshing. Not only that, let’s pray that we grow in spiritual power and authority and character and Christ-likeness as we spend time with Jesus in the word and in prayer. Pray that you and the wider church will hear the sound of Jesus knocking on the door and will get up and let him in and eat with him. On the regular.