Oh! How to Cry Out with Passion, Power, and Faith

Sept. 21, 2012 Byron Paulus

Session Transcript

Byron Paulus: I do want you know a little bit about who I am. I lead the ministry that's the parent organization called Life Action Ministries. Our whole passion is to ignite movements of authentic Christianity around this nation. That's our more contemporary definition of the old term "revival" that has a lot of baggage with it. Literally one time I was driving through a town, and there was a sign hanging outside of a church that said "Revival here every night this week except Tuesday." But then it said "Bingo." I said maybe that's why they didn't have revival on Tuesday or something.

But we all know, don't we, that revival is not a week of meetings. We know it's not sensationalism or asceticism or some phenomena-filled experience that takes place. We know it's not even evangelism. Evangelism I believe in its best form falls on the heels or the wake of what God does in the hearts of His people by way of revival. So I know a lot of these definitions that I think are horrible ones.

But let me give you one that I think will help us get kickstarted a little bit here today. But it's just that revival is, and I love this, "the intensifying, accelerating, multiplying and magnifying work of God." Okay, get this. It's the intensifying work of God. Somebody said, "God can do more in ten seconds with His manifest presence than ten years of going to church or anything else apart from His manifest presence." Okay? That's the intensifying.

The accelerating work of God of what God can do in a few brief moments, like the First Great Awakening when as much as a sixth of our population came to Christ on the heels of what He did in the Church in revival. That's called accelerating work of God. All the missionaries that went forth and so forth, and you probably know the story. By the way, that would extrapolate today to about fifty or sixty million people coming to Christ in a matter of months really here in the States in the wake of what God would do in the heart of His Church by way of revival. So it's the accelerating work of God. And it's the multiplying work of God, but ultimately it's the magnifying work of God, isn't it, when God is exalted and magnified as never before.

So my burden, the burden of Life Action Ministries, the parent organization—we have a total of about 250 staff of which about fifty or sixty are Revive Our Hearts staff. Today while we're here, we have teams of twenty-some individuals each in Kentucky and Pennsylvania and in Georgia and up in Michigan and even out in the Ivy League schools and the University of New Hampshire this weekend. There's a lot more going on calling this nation back to God beginning with His people than what you are even experiencing this week under a canopy of a name called Life Action. I'm blessed to be a part of that now for thirty-eight years. Never would have guessed a little dairy farmer from Indiana would end up where I am today. But so blessed to be there.

Today in this session we are going to talk about praying for revival. But I want to show a little video clip that you may understand how in the world this video clip can be spiritual, have anything to do with praying for revival, okay? But here it is, a video clip that will give us one truth about praying for revival. Here it is.

(laughter)

Ahhh. So what does that have to do with revival? It really is pretty obvious. There is only one common denominator throughout history when it comes to revival. There's been great preaching. There's been great singing. There's been great gatherings. But there is one, one thing and one thing only that has been birth to, nurtured, or cradled revival throughout history, and that's prayer. And that's what we are going to talk about today.

I had the privilege a number of years ago of actually having dinner with Chuck Colson many, many years ago, now. We were sitting around the table, and he said, "How many of you know what an oxymoron is?" How many of you know what an oxymoron is? Good. I had no clue. I honestly thought it was a disease or something at the time. He could tell I was clueless. He said, "Well, it's a statement of opposites." He could tell I still wasn't getting it. He said, "Let me give you an example." He said, "A good example illustration of an oxymoron is 'government intelligence.'" I thought, He can get away with saying that. Then he said, "There is another one," so I could get it. He said, "A legal brief." And I thought, Well, yes, that is a statement of opposites.

But I discovered another one that summer. My wife, Sue, is here actually with my daughter. We had three small children then, and we went on a "camping vacation." That's another oxymoron. Here's another one. It's called a "prayer-less revival." There's no such thing as a prayer-less revival. I don't know about you, but if there is some area of my life that I struggle in a lot, it relates to prayer. Prayer can be hard work. Prayer can be very inconsistent. Prayer can be very fleshly even. When it comes to prayer and even prayer for revival, I find myself struggling a lot.

One of the areas I struggle in is, how do I know when I'm praying for revival that I'm really praying the will of God? How do I know I'm praying the heart of God? How do I know I'm not just praying what's on my mind and my heart that this really is the will of God? The one way I can know that I'm praying the will of God is when we pray the Word of God. Every time we pray the Word of God, we can be assured that we're praying the will of God.

Let me give you a couple of examples quickly before we jump into this passage on relation to the importance of prayer in revival. Just a few weeks ago, a gentleman named Bill McLeod went home to be with the Lord. Bill was pastoring in Canada forty-one years ago when God touched down. Many of you have read Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. That's where Henry Blackaby was first touched by God. He was a pastor of a church. Duncan Campbell came to Bill McLeod's church and he told Bill McLeod, "When the day comes that you have more people coming to your mid-week prayer service than you do to your Sunday morning worship service, I'm going to touch down in your church in revival."

So he began to put all of his time, effort, energy, and resources more into the mid-week prayer service than he did the Sunday morning worship service. And the day came that more people were coming to the mid-week prayer service, and God heard that cry—that one cry of that congregation—fell upon that congregation in Saskatchewan, Ontario. As a result, forty years ago now, 2,400 lay couples went around the world as missionaries within a year to just share the story of what God did in revival. It swept Canada, impacted Asbury, and all those stories you know about when it comes to revival.

So 155 years ago this month, that was this month forty-one years ago. But 155 years ago this month is when Jeremiah Lanphier as a single layman in the Fulton Street Church there in New York City in the heart of the business district started a noontime prayer meeting. As a result, just six people showed up the first day and then twenty the next day and then ultimately fifty and then ultimately it became known as the Great Prayer Awakening, 155 years ago, until there was one continuous prayer meeting. One reporter said when he traveled from Los Angeles back to Boston all he could do every place he went was see people praying. Literally there were not enough public buildings in New York City to hold the number of people that were praying at noontime.

I just want to encourage you that this session today has nothing to do with any of my own knowledge or even my effectiveness in praying. But it does have a lot to do with whether or not God comes and visits our nation once again. It was also Bill McLeod, that pastor that thirty-some years ago, God told him, "I'll wake you up in the middle of the night if you'll promise to get up and pray for revival." And until he passed away just a few weeks ago, for it's been about forty years every night, God woke him up in the middle of the night and every night he got up and prayed for revival.

When I heard that about fifteen years ago, I just said, "God, would You be faithful to me? Would You wake me up in the middle of the night?" I don't know that there's been a middle of the night, and it hasn't to do with my age, but I haven't been woken up in the middle of the night. I can't stand here and tell you that every night I've gotten up and prayed for revival. But I'll tell you most of those nights I prayed through this passage by memory in the middle of the night. And I believe God's going to answer that prayer, and He will rend the heavens.

Let's pray before we get started. Lord, take Your Word, imbed it so deeply into our hearts, and God, cause us to be just sensitive to Your Spirit in how You want us to pray. And God, we believe there's power in Your Word, and we believe there's power every time we pray Your Word. Take this prayer for revival in Your Word and use it I pray to begin something significant not just in this room but throughout our nation. And I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Well, in the back of your handout there there's the ESV version of this passage (Isaiah 64). I want to read through it fairly quickly here. Then we're just going to walk through verse by verse. We're going to talk about these verses. And then at the end I'm going to give you an opportunity to pray some of these verses back to the Lord and actually spend some time as it said there in your program praying for revival.

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
   that the mountains might quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
   and the fire causes waters to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
   and that the nations might tremble at your presence! (vv. 1–2).

Nations are mocking America. At one time nations would tremble to even touch this nation. Terrorists would have turned back for fear because of the power of God here and the presence of God here. What would have happened to them had they attempted it? Now they mock instead of tremble at God's presence.

From of old no one has heard
   or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
   who acts for those who wait for him (v. 4).

That word "wait" is not a passive term. It's an active term—a pro-active term. It means "steadfastly trust Him."

You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
   those who remember you in your ways (v. 5).

That's who God meets with.

Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
   in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
We have all become like one who is unclean,
   and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
   and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls upon your name (vv. 5–7).

What a devastating statement that is. Do you ever feel that way—that there is no one who is calling upon His name?

   who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
   and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
   we are the clay, and you are our potter;
   we are all the work of your hand.
Be not so terribly angry, O LORD,
   and remember not iniquity forever.
   Behold, please look, we are all your people.
Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
   Zion has become a wilderness,
   Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and beautiful house,
   where our fathers praised you,
has been burned by fire,
   and all our pleasant places have become ruins.
Will you restrain yourself at these things, O LORD?
   Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly? (vv. 7–12).

One of the reasons I love this heart cry, this one cry of Isaiah, is because really the same reason I like preachers like Chuck Swindoll because they use word pictures so effectively. When you think of Isaiah 64 here, and in light even of what you heard this morning in relation to Isaiah 1,2,3 and the woes and so forth this morning, I want you to know that this passage is literally God's Word. But it uses a lot of word pictures in this passage to help us understand, much like a preacher would today what is it that is really upon their hearts. So I want to try and help give a clearer picture of some of these word pictures, okay?

So there in verse one as we walk through this, I encourage you to fill out the blanks. I encourage you to use this as a pattern for prayer—a model—a template if you will in your prayer life in the future. I know of thousands and thousands of people that still carry this in their Bible, and this is their daily prayer for revival. I had one man come up to me in Florida, just a little over a year ago. He said, "Byron, I heard you preach this message seven years ago." He opens up his Bible, brought out the outline, and said, "I've not missed a day in seven years praying for revival through this passage." I pray there will be some of you like that in here today.

Well, verse one, he says, "Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence." I pray in that first verse for God's supernatural power and presence. You say, "What do you mean by that?" I don't think Isaiah was concerned about physical mountains falling down. If you were to go to the nearest mountain . . . we are in the middle of Indiana. There are no mountains near the middle. If you were to go to the nearest mountain, wherever it is, and you were to stand before that mountain and you would say, "Mountain, be removed," it's not that God couldn't do it. He's big enough. But really, what would that accomplish in this generation that needs signs and wonders anyway, they think, and that's not the way God.... You know what the mountains are, though? They are obstacles and walls, I believe Isaiah knew this, in the hearts of so many of God's people—mountains of bitterness and mountains of temporal values and mountains of hurt and anger and mountains of moral impurity and mountains all around of prayerlessness and so forth that are standing between God's people and all He wants to do in coming down.

He begins it with, "Oh," that desperate "Oh that you would come down." So when I pray in this passage, I pray, "God, You would tear down those obstacles in people's hearts that are mountains between them and the victory that they believe that God wants to bring into their lives." I've seen God do that in some incredible ways.

We were in a city one time only about less than an hour from here in Indiana—a city of about 45,000 people. I'm telling you the few times in my life, but once you've seen the fire, the smoke is unclothed forever. God came and visited that city. There were two large churches. They had a massive division. Eight hundred people started another church—800 people in the mother church. By the end of the first week or so, they decided to come together in a big reconciliation service. I mean there was brokenness and repentance—family members that hadn't talked to each other in years were now hugging each other and enemies now became friends and that all took place in a matter of three days.

But God's presence was so powerful and so real. There was a president of a bank over here in Connersville, Indiana—Stu Duerstock—I'll never forget it—attended no services, no Bible-believing churches that he ever attended. And he just fell under the conviction of God sitting in his office, went out on the streets, and said, "Somebody please help me find God." Somebody led him to Christ, and Stu Duerstock has a list to this day of thousands of people's names that he's been able to lead to Christ since then. Just in the presence of God in that community.

There's another business man, same story, attended no services, fell under the conviction of God, came to Christ, thrust into full-time vocational ministry, just like Canada and all those missionaries that went forth historically on the heels of a movement of God.

There was a salesman that was driving from Dayton, Ohio, came to the city limit sign, fell under the conviction of God, pulled his car off to the side of the road. There along the side of the road, he got on his knees, as a believer, repented of sin after sin—"I was there for thirty-five minutes and God just cleansed my heart." He got back into his car, went to a gas station, stopped, asked a lost gas station attendant, "Is there something going on in this city?" And that lost gas station attendant said, "Don't you know? God is here."

I'm telling you for a period of about three days, God moved in that community. It began with a full-page newspaper ad that those two churches purchased together, put a picture of those congregations meeting together in reconciliation, and said, "We the members of this church and that church have wronged this city. We've wronged Jesus Christ. We've asked His forgiveness. And now we ask the city of Connersville, would you please forgive us?" And they listed their sins: jealousy, envy, pride, competitive spirit, judgmentalism, criticism . . . And they just listed their sins and asked, "Would you please forgive us?" It was at that moment that that mountain in that city fell. The supernatural power and presence of God came.

Just two weeks ago, Sunday, one of our ministry teams was up in Battle Creek, Michigan. There's a gentleman in that church, at the end of the service, in brokenness and repentance, fled to the altar and just confessed his bitterness toward his mother whom he had not talked to in eleven years—two weeks ago this past Sunday. Committed there, "I'm going to go home. I'm going to call my mother. I'm going to ask her forgiveness. I'm going to clear my conscience."

He got home, and his mother called him for the first time in eleven years. He sought forgiveness from his mother. And then it hit him. That very team of Life Action that morning, where God did that work in his heart, was beginning a full two-week summit in Altoona, Pennsylvania, where his mother lives. That man joined in going to Altoona to sit through two weeks of meeting with God with his mother after eleven years. You say, "Man, what a coincidence." No, what supernatural power and presence of God that makes those things happen, right?

Verse two: "When the melting fire burns," it says in the old King James, not because I'm old but that's what I memorized it in years ago. But anyway, "When the melting fire burns, it causes the waters to boil." What happens when water boils? Again, a word picture. Among other things, it cleanses. It purifies.

So when I get to verse two and I'm praying through this passage, I say, "God, would You bring purity among Your people." I pray for purity among God's people. Why? "Who shall stand in His holy place?" But what? "He that has clean hands and a pure heart." "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall" what? "See God." We're praying here that we will see God in all of His power and His might, that He would come down. So it takes a pure heart. The end of the commandment is to "love out of a pure heart," it says in Timothy. "The eyes of the LORD go to and fro throughout the whole earth, in order for Him to show Himself mighty on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect or pure toward Him."

So I pray for purity. Actually I pray that God would kind of turn up the heat of His conviction—cause the waters to boil so that there could be cleanliness and purity and that God would just intensify the conviction of His Spirit. It's interesting in the different ways He does that.

We were in Philadelphia one time and there was somebody there with conviction—hang on now, don't call me a heretic, okay—of a twenty-five cent sin. You say, "Come on Byron, that was a long time ago. Come on, Byron, God doesn't put monetary value on sin. I know better than that." No, this gentleman had taken two newspapers out of the newspaper machine one time instead of one. That's how you know it was a long time ago—twenty-five cents, you know? But he felt like he was a thief, because he knew he had stolen.

So he picks up the phone, calls the editor of the Philadelphia News, and said, "I've stolen from your company. Can I meet with you?" The next morning he had a meeting, and he walked in there and he just said, "Look, I'm not trying to be some smart aleck, but I'm in this thing going on down here where God's at work and God's convicted me that I'm a thief. I took two newspapers instead of one, and I'm here to make restitution. Would you please forgive me?"

The next day—I saw the copy of this—on the front section of the second page headlines "News Thief Repents" with a picture of this individual. It tells the whole story about what God was doing where our team was and all the rest of that you know and great advertising. It didn't cost us anything. It cost him a quarter, but it didn't cost us anything,. The whole city became aware of what God was doing. That's just a twenty-five cent thing, but it's not always that easy.

Actually here in Indianapolis one time—and I'm not saying this was right, wrong, or indifferent. I'm just saying somebody was convicted as God was turning up the heat of His conviction. And he turned in a million dollar check he won in the lottery. Now I would have kind of liked to have a conversation with him first. But anyway, that wasn't just twenty-five cents; it was a million dollars.

Somebody else in Indiana was a fugitive from Canada. He had fled Canada, came here to the States, had three children, and God convicted him of his sin and he needed a pure heart—went back and knew if he did he'd have to turn himself in in Canada to the authorities and it would mean prison. So he went back to Canada and turned himself in. Sure enough he was in prison.

I remember three years after that when he got out, he called our office. I asked him, "Would you do it all over again?" He said, "Absolutely." I said, "Why, with three small children?" "Because when I was out of prison as a fugitive I was in bondage. I was behind bars. But in prison I was a free man." I think his story will be recorded, because he went home to be with the Lord here a couple of years ago. It may have been on Revive Our Hearts radio, I'm not sure. I know we recorded it for radio right before he went home to be with the Lord. And he said he'd do it all over again. He said, "God so blessed." The Bible studies that he held, the way God used him in Canada. So it wasn't just a small thing; it meant prison.

When we pray for God to turn up, in this culture, in our churches, in our own families, maybe with our own children, the heat of His conviction, it may not be a small thing. But God does not send His presence without purity. Repentance and purity pave the way—a highway of holiness Isaiah said. Remember that? And John the Baptist used repentance as one of the two-pronged requirements for introducing the presence of Jesus physically here on earth. Well, anyway, that's number two.

Number three: "When God did awesome things which we looked not for." Verse three. Here's what I write down, that we keep our focus on Christ. You say, "Why would you say that?" I find it interesting Isaiah who all that he had written about—all he knew God had done historically—and yet he said, "God has done awesome things which I wasn't even looking for." And that was a reminder to me to keep my focus not on the things God does, but to pray that when God sends revival, our focus would be nothing but Jesus Christ.

I was speaking to the praying men a few moments ago, and I said, "You know, if these 8,500 ladies leave here and they're talking about true women or they're talking about Revive Our Hearts, we've miserably failed. But if they are talking about Jesus, man, we have been a success."

Over here in Covington, Indiana, a number of years ago, our team was scheduled for two weeks in one church, community if you believe that—stayed for three weeks because God was moving—we couldn't leave. I remember there was one gentleman telling me, "Byron, the most interesting thing happened to me this morning." I said, "What was that?" He said, "I came into town, and I went into the stores and people used to be talking about really you know just fun stuff, the weather, or whatever, Indiana basketball," he said and whatever. But he said, "People are talking about Jesus. I'd just walk around the stores, and people were talking about Jesus."

I have a friend. His name is Gerhard Du Toit. Talk about keeping our focus on Christ. He grew up in South Africa. He's an itinerate prayer revivalist out of Vancouver now. After he got out of college, Bible college in South Africa, he said, "I wanted to begin my seminary by going up in the mountain and praying with some of these godly black men." He said, "They just knew how to connect with God." So he went up and spent a week and then he went to seminary. After he graduated from seminary he said, "I decided I wanted to go back up there, and I wanted to fast and pray with these men." Ten or twelve of them, he told me.

So he went up there like for four weeks just praying and fasting with these godly men. At the end of that four weeks, they looked at him and said, "Gerhard, we believe we have heard from God. There's a church five hundred miles south of here that's really not doing well. We've made arrangement for housing and hospitality and a host home, and we believe that's where God wants you to do your very first meeting." Gave him the dates on the calendar and said, "We made the arrangements."

Gerhard shows up, goes to that host home, meets that family. The church service was supposed to begin at seven-thirty. He gets there at five-thirty and starts praying. Six-thirty he's praying and looks up—nobody's there yet. Seven o'clock, he's praying, nobody's there yet. Seven-fifteen, no one's there yet. Seven-thirty nobody is there. He thought, "Well, maybe I got the time mixed up." Seven forty-five, eight o'clock, no one shows up. Eight-thirty, he finally concluded, "Nobody came." And he cried out; he said, "God I don't understand it. These are godly men. They pray. They fast. They hear from God. And this is where they sent us to be. What's up?" And he said like God said to him, "Who are you doing this for?" And he said he got up. He did an invocation. He said he sang. He said he took an offering. He preached his message. He gave an invitation, did a benediction, went home.

The lady of the house met him and then the man met him. The man was lost—didn't know the Lord. And he said, "Gerhard, how'd it go tonight?" He said, "Oh wonderful." He said, "How many were there?" And he said, "I wasn't smart enough to say four—God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." He said, "Nobody showed up." And he said, "Well, what did you do?" He said, "Well, I preached and I prayed and I gave an invitation and took an offering." "Why?" "I did it for Jesus."

That man couldn't sleep that night. He woke up his wife and said, "Honey I can't sleep." She said, "What's the matter?" "It's that preacher downstairs." "What's the matter?" "You don't know what he did tonight." "What did he do tonight?" "Well, he preached and prayed." "Well big deal." "But nobody's there, and he did it anyway because he did it for Jesus." That wife led her husband to the Lord as a result of his obedience—keeping his focus on Jesus. Forty-some people came to Christ at the end of that because of the influence of that one man.

Gerhard told me he went back there—it'd be about six years ago now—and there's a flourishing church of 450 people that was really launched when he kept his focus on Christ and preached to no one. How many of your pastors would do that? How many of our pastors in our nation, how many of us would be willing to do that in a Sunday school class or wherever God has placed us?

Verse four: "Eye has not seen, nor ear hear, neither has entered in the heart of man the things that God's prepared for those that steadfastly trust Him." You see that verse repeated in the New Testament and related that. But this really originates here in a cry for revival. It's not talking about heaven. It's what happens now when God shows. When I pray this verse, I pray for an increased faith in God. I pray for an increased faith in God.

If we were to put up here on these screens everything every one of you have ever read about God doing . . . a gentleman back here he's talking to me and he's collected all these historical books on revival and prayer, and so he's read all the stories of the great things God's done historically. If we were to make that whole list—anything I've ever witnessed or seen or heard or read about, anything we've ever imagined in our mind—if we were to collectively in this room make that list, our eyes will still have not seen, our ears still will have not heard. I don't believe what God really could do on behalf of anyone that would steadfastly trust Him. Exercise faith.

Helen Keller said one time, or somebody asked her, "Is there anything worse than not having any sight?" And she thought for a while and said, "Yes, there is. Sight without vision." Sight without vision. So as you're praying through this passage, just pray that God would impart within your heart this incredible faith in expectation of what God can do. You say, "Byron, how do I generate that?" You can't. But you can look at the stories in Scripture and say God's the same today as He was yesterday. And He'll be the same tomorrow. You can go throughout history and read the Great Awakenings in our nation. And I don't want to get bogged down, but I just need to give you the answers to some of these so we can pray here at the end.

I remember some elections ago I did something I had never done previously. I cast an absentee ballot. And on the day before the general election, I went to North Hampton, Massachusetts, where Jonathan Edwards preached that famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" that sparked the first Great Awakening. I just sat there that day, and I said, "God, do it again. Send another Great Awakening. The answer is not in the White House. It's in the church house. Would You do it again?"

The next day I went to Newberry Port, Massachusetts. Underneath the pulpit there, believe it or not, is where in North Dutch Presbyterian Church or whatever it is, underneath the pulpit there is where George Whitfield is buried. I mean, literally you can go down, open the doors, you can see where he's buried. Except for his arm. He was from England, so they came over and got his arm and took it back. But everything else of George Whitfield supposedly is there. I sat out in the church that day, and I just said, "God do it again. Do what You did in the day of Jonathan Edwards and in the days of George Whitfield. Would You come in a great awakening again?"

I remember I was driving back to Boston that night, and it hit me. They say in North Hampton the population was 1,200, and at the height of what God was doing they didn't know if they could find one adult unbeliever left in that community. Can you imagine that? Indianapolis, what is it? Not quite a million? Can you imagine no adult unbelievers left in this city? God could do it, couldn't He? He did it before. And in Boston, I remember when I was driving back, I had just read that the population was 12,000 and on one occasion—no advertising, no marketing, just word of mouth because of what God was doing at the height of His manifest presence—15,000 people show up to hear George Whitfield preach. That would be like—I live near Chicago—that would be like twelve million people showing up in a city of nine million people unannounced because the Spirit of God is compelling people to hear the gospel. God can do that again! Increase our faith.

Next verse: God meets with different types of people, it says here in this verse, and I just want to mention it says "those who remember Him in His ways." When I get to verse five, what I pray is, "God, would You give me a proper view of You?" Somebody has said, "We'll never have revival in America until first of all we get a proper view of God—that we see Him in all of His holiness, in all of His purity, in all of His righteousness, all of His might, all of His power, all of His mercy, all of His love, and all of His grace—until we get a proper view of God." Now if you think about that a moment, and we're going to look at the next verse in a second.

If you think about it, go back to Isaiah chapter six which we are all familiar with. Remember in the year that King Uzziah died? Is anyone in here old enough like I am to remember when JFK was shot? How many of you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news? Isn't that amazing? That's kind of the atmosphere event. In the year when King Uzziah died, when everybody's eyes were going to the fact that we'd lost our king, everybody could remember right where they were sitting when they heard the news that Uzziah died, Isaiah said, "I saw something else."

So in the midst of the tragedies that we are facing in our nation, we can't afford not to see something else. What does Isaiah see? "God high and lifted up and his train filled the temple and the cherubim cried out, 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory.'" Then it jumps, doesn't it, to "Woe is me! For I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips." Look at the next verse here. Right after we get a proper view of God, we are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousness are as filthy rags and all our... And so the same thing happens here.

So when you get to verse six, we get a proper view of ourselves because that happens every time we get a proper view of God. If you want to know how people can see the ugliness of their own heart, let them see the righteousness of God's heart. When we get to see God for who He is, in comparison we see ourselves for who we are.

That's what Paul's life was all about. Do you remember early in his ministry? He said, "I'm a sinner." And then he says, "I'm the least of all saints." Then at the end of his ministry he said, "I'm the chief of sinners." I used to think the older I get the more mature I got in my walk with God, the better I'd feel about where I am spiritually. Doesn't the opposite happen, really? But why is that? Is it because we are really that much more wicked? Maybe it's because we're seeing God more in our maturity for who He is and in comparison we see ourselves for who we are. And that's a platform for revival.

One of the godliest men I know is the father and the founder of our ministry who was an evangelist. I'll never forget. It was in the eighties. He was in South Carolina. He drove up to Michigan and said, "I want to go to lunch." We sat down to lunch just the two of us, and the moment he sat down he just began to cry. The waitress came, and I could tell it was awkward, and I said to come back later. And then he began to weep, literally, openly weep right there, just the two of us in that restaurant. And he didn't say a word. And I didn't know what to do. But finally he looks up and he says, "Oh Byron." He said, "The closer I get to the judgment seat of Christ," he said, "the more wicked I see my heart really is." And that's one of the godliest men I have ever met in my life. It hit me, you know, that's probably where Paul was. And that's probably where we'll be if we keep on that pursuit of understanding who God is, seeing Him in His ways, getting a proper view of Him. Then we get a proper view of ourselves.

On to verse seven. I get there and here's what I pray. Remember we were there a little while ago. "There's none that calls upon your name." I thought, "Man, how heartbreaking! That you'd feel all alone." Do you ever feel all alone when no one really has a burden to pray and to seek God and to believe Him to come? Do you ever feel that way? That's the way Isaiah felt. Where are those people that are stirring up themselves to take hold of me?

I don't do much overseas. Our whole ministry is primarily North America, although it's increasing within the Dominican Republic and elsewhere now. But nevertheless our focus has been to believe God to send revival to America because when He does, as goes the West, so goes the world. As goes America, so goes the West. As goes the Church, so goes America. And as goes our families, so goes the Church. And as goes our circles, our hearts, so goes our families. But America influences the West.

I was in Singapore one time, and somebody invited me after I spoke and said, "Why don't you come to our Friday night prayer meeting?" I said, "Great! When does it begin?" They said, "About ten o'clock." I said, "Great, when does it end?" They said, "Six the next morning—whenever the sun comes up." I said, "All night?" They said, "Yes." I said, "Okay, what am I going to do, be an American and Christian and speaking and say no?" And so I went, you know, and I'm thinking, This isn't really for real. But it was. About forty-five people gathered, and I noticed something. They spent most of the night praying for revival in America.

So I went up to the man afterward, the leader, and I said, "Let me ask you a question. How long has this prayer meeting been going?" "About ten years." "Every Friday night?" "Every Friday night." I said, "Do you always pray so much for America?" He said, "Oh, yes sir. We know if God sends revival to America it will impact the world. "So have you always had about forty-five people here?" "Oh, it used to be about a hundred, then it dropped but it's building again." I'm telling you, I left there so convicted. I say, "Here I am in a revival ministry—supposed to be leading a revival ministry—and every Friday night there are people in Singapore that are not praying for revival in Singapore but in America." So I just began to pray, "God, would stir up some Singaporians, if You will, here in America."

That's why my burden is so heavy for this OneCry initiative that you'll hear a little bit about tomorrow morning in the general session—that God would bring together just ministries and pastors and people that would sign up and say, "Hey, no brand." People don't even know who's behind it. It's just one cry—a nationwide call for spiritual awakening. And we have 7,000 people in seven months basically have signed up and said, "Yes, we'll be one of those." I'm praying that I won't be able to say there's no one else calling upon Your name—that there is literally a whole army of believers.

Now quickly in verse eight, pray for surrendered lives. "You are the potter; we are the clay; we are all a work of your hand." Pray for surrendered lives. I've met some surrendered people in my life. One of them was a guy by the name of Joseph. Soon after the fall of Romania, I made a commitment to take each of my children one-on-one on a mission trip that would have impact on me if nothing else, and just to spend that time with my children. So Robin over here, we went to China behind closed doors speaking to pastors.

My one son I took to Romania. I'll never forget there in Romania right after the fall of communism in a church that Joseph was pastoring and pastoring before the fall of communism through an underground moment of revival that had taken place. Joseph was taken and arrested during those days multiple times and beaten severely. He came over here to America. I remember the first time I saw him within weeks after he'd gotten here. He still had scars on his face, and I said, "Why didn't they kill you?" And he said, "Well I told them 'Go ahead and kill me' after about the tenth arrest and beating." They said, "We can't." He said, "I know you can't because when you do my blood will be like martyr's blood sprinkling everything I have ever written." They said, "We know that. That's why we're going to exile you."

I remember when we first met Joseph. I said, "You haven't been here at the West very long, but what is it that might bother you or concern you about what you see here in the West?" He said, "Several things. I feel you've dangerously exchanged some terms." So I said, "Give us some examples." He said, "You use the word 'commitment' an awful lot here in the West, and I fear you've exchanged it for 'surrender.'" The best way I can convey to you what he was saying is if you were to get into a legal agreement or a contract and you were to read the front page and turn it over and read all the fine print on the back page and you were to sign your name, that's commitment. But if God were to hand you a blank sheet of paper and say, "Here. Sign your name, and let Me fill in all the blanks." That's surrender.

So there we were in Romania, soon after the fall of communism after a Friday service late at night, cold, raining, in December, leaving the next morning. Joseph said, "Would you come over and have a meal with us tonight before you leave tomorrow morning?" I remember we walked up there to his villa and he stopped and he said, "Look three doors down, that's where Tchychesko used to live—the guy who'd beaten me. He's now off the scene and now I'm living in his neighborhood, you know, pastoring this church in Oradea."

So we had a meal that night. I'll never forget we're getting ready to leave, putting our jackets on to go outside, and I saw Joseph went into the kitchen. Joseph went into the kitchen and he came back out and he had actually a teacup. And he said, "Sit back down at the table. I want to tell you a story."

So the four of us sat back down at the table, and he held up that teacup and said, "There was a pastor and wife who escaped in the days of communism. Or she did. They were both arrested and taken off to Siberia. She escaped en route to Siberia, but her husband like so many before him, was taken off to Siberia and there lost his life.

"But Elizabeth came to live with us for about ten years. A couple of years ago she moved away—about ten hours down to Bucharest. But she called me about a year ago and said, 'Joseph, it's Elizabeth and I'm dying. Would you come see me one more time?'" So Joseph took the train ride, and he was there with that widow sitting at the table taking a sip of tea when she stopped him and said, "Joseph, Joseph, do you know whose cup that is? Joseph, that was my husband's cup. Joseph, it's a martyr's cup. I want you to have it. Would you take this martyr's cup?"

That night there at Joseph's house as we sat around the table and he held up that cup he said, "I want to invite you to do something tonight." He said, "I want to invite you to take a drink from the martyr's cup realizing this: those who are most responsible for the fall of communism are not the strategists in Washington D.C. But those who are most responsible for the fall of communism are those whose bones lie in the cold snows of Siberia." That night as I took a drink of that martyr's cup, it was like God said to my heart, "Byron, those will be most responsible for the fall of evil in the West will be those who are willing, if necessary, to take a drink of the martyr's cup. That's surrender."

You hear a lot of stories on 9/11. But this one I doubt you've heard. I have a friend who lives in central Pennsylvania. One of his best friends has a private airplane, and that morning he was flying back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Anybody here from Pennsylvania, Lancaster area? He was flying back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and from the tower there in Harrisburg he got a call and basically said, "Roger, Roger, land immediately at Harrisburg." And he said, "No, no, I want to go a little bit longer on to Lancaster." About a minute later he said he got another call from the tower that said, "Roger, Roger land immediately at Harrisburg." He says, "No, no I want to go just a little bit further to Lancaster." He said about thirty seconds later, they radioed again and said, "Roger, Roger, look out your right wing." And there were two F-16's. He said, "I will land immediately at Harrisburg."

We were on a flight to Florida, Sue and I, a few years ago. We were sitting next to this person and Sue said, "What do you do?" "Well I'm this and my husband's a flight controller out of Harrisburg." So she asked and she said, "My husband told me that story." So we verified it, as God would have it. But isn't that the way we say, "No, no, a little bit further." But surrender is "now" when God speaks. Isn't God more powerful than all the F-16's in the universe? And why don't we say "yes" when He speaks. Surrender.

Verse nine—pray for a sense of urgency. "Oh we beseech you, we beg of you. Please," it says, "Oh, please." There's just this sense of urgency. If we're willing to live without revival, we will. And until we come to the place where we're urgent enough to say, "I don't know if I can go on another day, God, until You display Your glory." That kind of urgency.

Some of you know the name of Leonard Ravenhill, a prolific writer toward the late 1900s, wrote numerous books on revival. One of my favorite revivalists, and I got to know him a little bit before he died. Eighty-four, and he was on his deathbed. And on his deathbed he wrote his final words. I want you to listen to them. It was a poem.

Lord engage my heart today
With a passion that will not go away.
Now torch it with Thy holy fire
That never more shall earth's desires
Invade or quench the heaven borne power.

I would be trapped within Thy holy will
Thine every holy effort to fulfill.
That every effort of my life shall bring
Glorious praise to my eternal King.
And I pledge from this day to the grave
To be Thine own unquestionable slave.

I'm just thinking, at eighty-four on my deathbed, will I have that kind of passion, that kind of urgency to be able to say, "God, I want every last ounce of my energy until my final breath to be 'God would You come and display Your glory'"?

Verse ten, pray for the cities—Zion, the wilderness, Jerusalem. He's naming cities. Just pray for the cities. I don't know how you pray. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I just—I travel a lot, okay, being with this itinerant ministry. I just start praying for cities and pastors in cities all across the nations. On Sunday mornings I pray for pastors when I'm not out speaking somewhere. All across the nation and in every state I try to name a pastor—at least one—and just pray for them. But I pray for cities that God would come in great power and descend on cities.

I was in Denver, Colorado, a number of years ago and somebody came up to me and handed me—they were carrying it around in the front of their Bible, believe it or not. It was actually a clipping out of The Denver Post dated 1904. Now not many people just carry around a clipping from The Denver Post dated 1904. But here were the headlines and the first two paragraphs of The Denver Post.

Entire City Pauses for Prayer at the High Tide of Business as the Soul Rises Above Sordid Thoughts.

A remarkable outburst of gospel sentiment is provoked by revival. Evangelist Chapman and his associates caused a hush to spread over the populace while the noonday meetings draw congregations unprecedented in numbers. For two hours at midday, all Denver was held in a spell. The marts of trade were deserted between noon and two o'clock this afternoon. All worldly affairs were forgotten, and the entire city was given over to the meditation of higher things.

The Spirit of the Almighty pervaded every nook. Going to and coming from the great meetings, the thousands of men and women radiated the Spirit, which filled them and the clear Colorado sunshine was made brighter by the reflected glow of the light of God shining from happy faces. So seldom has such a remarkable sight been witnessed—an entire great city in the middle of a busy weekday bowing before the throne of heaven and asking and receiving the blessing of the King of the universe.

Can you imagine the Indianapolis Star saying that, the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times? "Entire City Pauses for Prayer at the High Tide of Business as the Soul Rises above Sordid Thoughts." Pray for our cities.

The next verse: "Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire." A word picture for the church today. And I don't know how you pray for the church, and that's what he's really saying here. Pray for God's people. Pray for the Church. But I pray for it by using the acronym of the CHURCH. And I'm just going to say this. I don't expect you to write it down, okay? But here's how I pray for the church.

"God, would You take the cold, and carnal and complacent and corrupt hearts, and God would You please replace it with honesty and humility and hunger and a lot of hope?" Because we don't have much hope, but God can do much. "And God, would You help us to see the ugliness of our sin on You and help us to have an urgency and an understanding of Your ways and then unity because of how good and blessed it is for brethren to dwell together in unity?" And then I get to the "r" and I say, "God, would You give us a spirit of repentance and reconciliation and restitution and regeneration, seeds of the regeneration that leads to see conversions and consciences that are cleared and conflicts that are resolved and the Great Commission that is embraced?" And then I get to "h" and I say, "Oh God, may the Great Commission embraced produce a great harvest of souls and a heavenly mindedness and a Holy Spirit driven church. And God, above all, may it be on earth as it is in heaven." That's how I pray for the Church. But what a way to pray for God to work in His people and the Church today.

Finally in verse twelve it just simply says, "Would you refrain yourself? Would you hold yourself back and continue to afflict us very sore?" I pray for a release of God's mercy. Man, mercy is a great study in Scripture. It says in Psalm alone that He's rich in mercy, He's great in mercy, He's bountiful in mercy, He's plenteous in mercy, His mercy endures forever. And it also says He delights in giving mercy. So I just kind of picture this reservoir of mercy in heaven. God delights to give it and pour it out in the midst of His people. "So God," I just say, "would You not restrain Yourself? Would You please take that reservoir of mercy? We need it desperately, because we will be consumed"—either self-consumed as it says in Romans 1, or consumed by Him in a form of His judgment as it says in Lamentations—but "we will be consumed if You don't send Your mercy."

There's many ways you can pray through this passage, but I'm praying God will move on the hearts of many of you and wake you up in the middle of the night and you might pull out Isaiah 64 and you might start praying through this passage just as a biblical pattern knowing you are praying the will of God for revival. Maybe it can best be summed up: Little prayer, little power. More prayer, more power. And much prayer, much power.

One final story that God's used often in my heart. Somebody came up to me one time—actually the instruments that God used in the Canadian revival. He said, "Byron, have you ever heard of Abe?" I said, "No. What do you mean?" He said, "We've never really ever met Abe. All we know is that Abe graduated from seminary, and God put it on his heart that his ministry needs to be to get into his car, drive around the nation, and pray for revival." He said, "Abe will go into cities and just pray for those cities. He'll go in church parking lots, and he'll pray for revival in those churches. He'll go into neighborhoods where he knows there's church leadership or pastors or elders or deacons, and he'll pray in front of those homes. He'll go in front of business and pray for those businesses that God would spark a revival in the marketplace." He said, "His mission is to go around and pray for revival." And he said, "The reason we know so much about Abe, though we've never met him, invariably, we'll show up someplace, God does a mighty work and somebody will come up and say, 'Do you know Abe? Abe was here.'" And we'll say, "No, we don't know Abe. But we've heard about Abe."

My prayer for today is that God would make you Abes. I don't know how God is going to lead you to pray. But what Abe did is say, "God, You just show me, and I'll do it." And God may lead some of you to say, "God, wake me up in the middle of the night." God may lead some of you to start praying every day with somebody. He may have you go to OneCry.com and join thousands of others that are praying and receive a text every noon like the noontime prayer meetings so that you can pray together at the same time across this nation. I don't know how God is going to lead you to pray. But my burden is that you would simply say out of a surrendered heart, "Lord, You show me and I'll obey. You show me how You want me to pray, and I'll obey."

I'm praying that God will move many of you to pray the Word of God, in particularly this passage for this moment in history knowing there's power in praying Scripture. So in closing, we have what, eight or ten minutes, time keeper, maybe? Two or three of you, just again if God prompts you and if He leads you. Spirit prompted prayer is better than any type of organized prayer—or three or four. Would you just close this time maybe getting with somebody and just praying one of these points or two of these points—not the whole passage—just maybe something God put on your heart? Keep it brief.

And just say, "Lord, Oh." Would you begin your prayer with that? "Oh, God would You cause other people to pray? Oh, God, would You make me urgent? Oh God would You give me a surrendered heart? Oh, God would You help me to see You for who You are?" And just pray some of these Isaiah prayers together before we leave. Would you do that? And when you're finished in your group, keep it quiet in here if you would so others can pray, and then you're dismissed. But let's close praying Scripture together. Can we do that? Why don't you stand as you do? Find two or three people around you, and let's close praying God's Word.