Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Your Prayer and God’s Power, Day 3

Leslie Basham: Does it ever seem like the days we are living in is so dark? There is no hope? Dave Butts looks at the darkness of our world and sees an opportunity.

Dave Butts: We're living in exciting times. And, by the way, it's exciting because things are also dark. The good thing is: that's what helps make us desperate. It brings us to our knees before the Lord and say, "Apart from You, Lord, there is no hope."

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Thursday, May 5, 2016.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Do you ever feel like you're just not very effective at praying? I often feel that way. In fact, I've written a book on the devotional life, A Place of Quiet Rest,  and I love to study God's Word, but I still really struggle to pray, especially when it's just me and the Lord.

So I'm thankful for my friends Kim and Dave Butts who are so good at teaching us to pray more effectively. And we need to learn, I know I need to learn, what they have to teach us.

Now, I don't have to tell you we're living in troubled days. Ideas of basic right and wrong are being rewritten right before our very eyes. A generation is growing up in a world that's been turned upside down with good called evil and evil called good. We're watching religious liberties being eroded in the United States.

But in the midst of all these challenges, as followers of Christ, we know that heaven rules, and that we have a God who is sovereign and who is good, who is powerful, and who hears and answers prayer. And that makes this really a time of great hope.

Throughout this summer, we're calling our listeners to learn to pray for revival. And this year-long emphasis will culminate at True Woman '16 in September. The theme for this conference is "Cry Out!" And during the Friday night session of this conference, we're going to do something we've never done before at a True Woman event.

We're inviting women everywhere to join a simulcast, nationwide prayer event for women. I'm trusting the Lord to raise up at least 100,000 women to join with us that evening in crying out to the Lord asking Him to revive His people and to transform families, communities, and even whole nations that are in desperate need of His mercy and grace.

I want to encourage you to consider putting together a group to pray on that evening. For the details on how to do that, how to cry out with us on Friday evening, September 23, visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, today we'll learn more about prayer by hearing part 3 of my conversation with Dave and Kim Butts. Dave is the president of Harvest Prayer Ministries and the author of a new book called With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America.

Dave sees so many believers in Christ who don't feel confident praying, sometimes even those training to go into ministry.

Dave: We had books when I was in school called, "Systematic Theology." They were great big thick books, so you had the study of eschatology, of end times. We studied the church, ecclesiology. We studied salvation, soteriology. We studied who Jesus was, Christology. And you have all these "ology's." But there is no prayer-ology. There is no academic study of prayer.

So what you have, then, are all of these godly leaders who come out, who encourage you to pray . . . now, don't hear me criticize. They come out; they've been encouraged to pray, but they've never developed that academic, rigorous thinking about prayer that digs in and asks the question: "Why?"

Now, Nancy, that little book you have is just a tiny little book, Forgotten Power. It's almost embarrassing to call it a theology, but in our day and age, people don't read big books. So it's just a simple thing to help Christians think deeply about prayer and ultimately, why pray?

Why? This is where Kim and I have really struggled, because we believe, according to Scripture, Isaiah chapter 56, verse 7, that God has called His house to be a house of prayer for all nations. That passage in Isaiah 56:7 is repeated in three of the four gospels. The event that takes place, the cleansing of the temple, takes place in all four of the gospels.

There's something about this that's pretty significant when you consider that the birth of Jesus is only in two of the gospels, but the cleansing of the temple is in all four.

We really believe that the temple was intended, when you look back in Chronicles and in Kings, and you look all the way through Scripture, the temple was intended to be a picture for all nations, not just for Israel, but for all nations of how God wants to accomplish things on planet Earth.

Basically, when God wants something to happen on planet Earth, He places a thought within one of His people: "I want you to ask Me for this." Because He also wants to teach us to depend on Him.

Jesus taught us, "Apart from Me, you can do nothing." And I know that that's true because I've done a lot of nothing. I've done a lot of spiritual stuff that didn't work, that really was just me.

God wants everything on this planet to happen according to His will when we, the people of God, depend on Him by asking.

So prayer ultimately starts with God. It's a God thing, not us. We all think, Oh, I think I'll pray about this. Let me tell you, if it's a godly prayer, it began in the heart of God. It began with the Father.

That's why the Word of God is so important. If Kim and I are going to be able to pray with accuracy as a family, we're going to have to know what the Lord wants.

All those amazing promises of God that Jesus made . . . If you look in John chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17, six times in there Jesus says weird stuff. He says weird stuff like, "Whatever you ask, I'll give you."

Honestly, we read those things, and we're going, "You know, if it were not Jesus, I just wouldn't believe this at all." And even with Jesus, I wonder if He got it right. That's because we're imposing on Scripture our understanding of prayer. And our understanding of prayer is: Let's figure out how we can word this so we can get what we want from God.

Come on. When it comes right down to it, let's see how many people we can get to join us so we can get what we want. Let's see how much faith we can muster up so we can get God to give us what we want. And that's not the purpose of prayer. It never has been. It never will be.

Prayer is the way God has chosen to accomplish His will on planet Earth. So that's all that Book's about. I'm convinced that if the Church gets that, you'll never stop us from praying. If we can really get that, I mean, if it really sinks in to us biblically and then emotionally, we'll be a people of prayer because we're going to understand: Wow! What a privilege. I get to join with the purposes of God in accomplishing His will on this planet.

Nancy: So, let's talk then about the role of prayer in revival and spiritual awakening.

Kim: How many hours do you have?

Dave: Not long.

Nancy: Just a few minutes.

Dave: Again, if God does not want to send revival, it doesn't matter what I'm praying. Really. I can pray for revival all I want, and if God has not already said, "This is what I want to do" . . . Now, here's where people struggle a little bit, because our default theology in prayer, which is wrong, our default theology says that God's going to do whatever God's going to do. That's not what Scripture teaches.

Scripture is filled with examples of God desiring something to happen, and because someone did not ask, it did not happen. Ezekiel chapter 22, verse 30, is a key example of God, "I sought for a man who would stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land." Why? "So that I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one." God was looking for someone to pray.

So now, we have to have that understanding that when God wants something to happen on planet Earth, He looks for someone who will listen to Him and pray, who will ask Him.

  • If revival is to happen on planet Earth, it will happen because, first of all the Father has decided for it to happen.
  • Then He will have those who will faithfully listen and then ask, and ask without ceasing, and continue to ask, and place themselves in a place before Him.
  • Not trying to talk God into doing something He doesn't want to do, but pleading with God for His purposes to be accomplished.

So I believe that the very nature and the strength of the prayer movement today is an indicator that revival is coming. The very fact that so many people are passionately crying out for revival . . . and it's not always been that way. There's always been a little bit of people here and there.

Honestly, I remember twenty years ago arguing with pastors about revival. They were saying that revival's not needed. I know that sounds weird, but seriously, twenty years ago, that's what was going on. I don't hear that nowadays. A matter of fact, I'm hearing the opposite. I'm hearing pastors and church leaders, people everywhere, saying, "Our only hope is revival."

Well, I believe God's done that. He's put that into the heart of His people. But putting it into our heart, and then we've got to grab aahold of that by faith in prayer and then continue to pray.

It has nothing to do with our timing or anything. It's God. It's all in His hands. But we have a role in that. And, of course, that's how you always see that in Scripture. There's always a place for us, and the place is that subordinate, submissive place of prayer that says, "Lord, what We really want is for Your will to be done, for Your kingdom to come here on earth as it is in heaven."

And I believe that the revival that's to come, who knows, by the time people are listening to this, we might be in an astonishing move of God, a great awakening that changes our nation. But I will tell you this, if that is the case, it is because God's people have been listening to His heart and praying in accordance with what He wants, and, in His timing, He steps in.

Nancy: Yes. Tell us a little bit about the OneCry Movement. I think a lot of our listeners may not be familiar with that. You've been a big part of it. Just give in a nutshell what that is, and then we'll have a link, also, to on ReviveOurHearts.com that you can go to and get more information.

That's actually partnered with the director of our parent ministry, Byron Paulus and Life Action Ministries, to help launch that and give leadership to it. Just kind of explain what it is.

Dave: Sure. Kim and I have both been in on that from the very beginning. I remember Byron saying (before it was anything than an idea that I believe God birthed and placed within him) that we've got to come together, various streams, various ministries, groups to come together, not one group so much as multiple groups coming together to cry out to say, "We're going to look for voices who will continue to pray, thousands, tens of thousands of voices who will cry out to God. And we're going to look for leaders who will preach on revival, who will make this a part of their lives.

I call it a timing thing. Kim and I are working with the National Prayer Committee. There are members who have gone to be with the Lord now who did not see revival, but for the last fifty years, they've been crying out.

Kim had the opportunity to go to Arman Guesswine's funeral. Arman was one of the prayer leaders for Billy Graham's first crusade in Los Angeles. Man, what a ministry. What an impact he had. You see, Arman went to his reward without seein—he saw many, many wonderful things, but he did not see revival. But there's always been people like that. Kim and I have had the opportunities through the years to rub shoulders with or to pray with.

But, in God's timing, right now, I believe God is taking revival and bringing it to the surface in the church. And a ministry like OneCry is calling leaders, pastors, prayer leaders to come together, trying to resource them, trying to help them to pray in accurate ways.

When I was a kid, I don't know why, but God let me begin to pray for revival. I didn't know anything other than Psalm 85, verse 6, "Would You not revive us again?" Well, that's not a bad way to start, but if you're still praying that sixty years later, you better . . .

So God's doing that today with OneCry. He's helping to deepen and unify and bring together the Church to cry out for revival. It's our one cry, "Revive us, Lord."

Nancy: God's people coming together to cry out about that.

Kim: In community, humility, repentance.

Dave: It's exciting. We're living in exciting times. By the way, it's exciting because things are also dark. There are tough things happening. The good thing is that's what helps make us desperate. It brings us to our knees before the Lord and say, "Apart from You, Lord, there is no hope."

Nancy: Yes. Well, I've seen through OneCry and through your efforts on the National Prayer Committee a lot more prayer for revival going on with pastors, Christian leaders. I tell you, one thing that's a little sad to me, and I don't know if this is your experience, Dave and Kim, but I'm not seeing a lot of prayer movement for revival among women today. I think years ago there was more.

You had your Evelyn Christensons, your Vonette Brights, and Shirley Dobsons, and they were beating that drum. Well, Evelyn and Vonette's gone on. It's been a great heaviness on my heart that, with all that's happening with men and churches and leaders praying for revival, I'm saying, "Where are the women?"

Historically, I think women have often been the ones who carried that deep burden for revival. So one of my reasons for really wanting to emphasize this in Revive Our Hearts during this year of 2016, is to say, "What might God be pleased to do if there were an army of praying women?" And that doesn't mean they're all going to be organized around the same way or means. I love your creativity about praying, but also about organizing for prayer, saying, "What might God put on your heart in your church, in your family, in your community to be crying out for Him?"

Take advantage of something like OneCry or some of the resources that we have available at Revive Our Hearts, and ask God to show you in your area, in your sphere of influence how He might want you to be an influencer in calling people to come together in crying out to the Lord.

One of my first models in this area was when I was in college. I was in a church in southern California. There were two I thought they were elderly then. They seemed elderly to me. They were identical twin sisters. They always dressed exactly alike. And they had a passion for praying for revival in that church.

They met with a few other women weekly (I think maybe it was on Wednesday nights) to pray for revival. The group never was large. They were kind of this little remnant. It was a wonderful church, but they were burdened for God to do more. And they prayed, and they prayed, and they prayed. They went to heaven without ever seeing that for which they had been praying for years, but they didn't stop. They didn't give up.

And I'm saying, "Where are those women today?"

I know there are some, but what if there were many, many more? Might God not be pleased to do something that we believe it's in His heart to do?

Kim: Oh, absolutely! We have a little group of women that's been praying in our church forever, and that's one of the groups I talked about that trained me in prayer. They meet faithfully Tuesday mornings every week, every week, and pray and cry out, not only for our church and our pastors, but for revival.

And, interestingly, this week, while we're up here for Revive Indiana in Terre Haute, meeting at night in our church building. That's . . .

Nancy: . . . the fruit of some of those prayers.

Kim: Yes!

Dave: Absolutely!

Kim: It explodes my heart almost just to think that these women are now seeing that fruit do some amazing things among pastors who were all on their faces last night and washing each other's feet last night and just declaring their unity—just some amazing things. So I think the seeds of revival, through so many different ways, are happening.

I encourage what Nancy said: Don't allow the busyness of your schedule and your lives to keep you from meeting with other women or in your homes or in your families, and just crying out to God for Him to move in our midst.

Dave: Let me just jump in on something you said. I'm in total agreement with it, but I always look at things a little differently. That is, I have a couple of degrees in history, so I have a tendency to have a longer view of things, looking at things historically.

And I would say that in the church, as you said, typically, the prayer leaders have been female, for years. If there had been a prayer meeting, it had been predominately women. That has been the case. It has not always been the healthiest because it's been women, and men have not stepped up.

Well, here's the good news: In the last fifteen–twenty years, men have stepped up, and they're praying more, and particularly for revival.

Kim: Yes!

Dave: Now, what I would say to you is: I believe the Lord, the Spirit who's in charge of all of this, allows that to happen with kind of a . . . But in order for men to do that, many times, women have to back off a little bit, and men step in and do this. And that's a good thing.

Now what I would say to you if I really believed that, because of the days in which we live, it's time now where men and women together are moving in and passionately crying out. And, in a sense, we've kind of taught each other some things about prayer. Now it's time for the full church to step into this and to be in prayer.

I do believe that the way our society is set up nowadays, it's harder for women nowadays than it was even thirty years ago because of increased responsibilities and work and different things. That was not always the case thirty years ago. Women are saying, "We don't have time to go to prayer meeting." But they're looking now and saying, "Okay, the husbands and men are doing that, too. Now I can."

And I believe the time is now, the whole church, and, by the way, not only men and women, but children who step in to cry out, particularly for revival.

And, again, I'll go back to the purpose. If we are beginning to see that prayer isn't simply our way of trying to figure out how to get what we want from God, but rather, we are partners with Him in accomplishing His purposes, and right now what He's wanting to do is awaken His people as never before.

I personally believe, this is just Dave's opinion, that we are about to see perhaps one of the greatest, if not the greatest of revivals to take place. This is just opinion. Don't frown at me. It is great revival that brings in the great harvest that prepares the Church for the return of the Bridegroom. I'm not a date setter. I don't know when any of that is. That's beyond my pay grade. But I do believe that there is something that is stirring even now that is preparing the way for the coming of Jesus. I believe He's coming to unite with the Bride who is dressed in white.

Nancy: Ready for her husband.

Dave: Ready for her husband. And I believe that's what revival will do—prepare the Bride for the Bridegroom.

Nancy: And the last prayer in the Scripture is, "Come, Lord Jesus."

We've been talking with Dave and his wife, Kim, about subjects that are close to my heart: revival and prayer and the powerful role that women can have in crying out to the Lord during dark times. That's what I'm convinced we need during this time in which we're living today.

As it says in Jeremiah chapter 9: "We need the wailing women to come to cry out to the Lord" and to ask for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We're issuing that call to prayer, and I hope you'll join us Friday night, September 23. That's the Friday night of the True Woman '16 conference. And on that evening, for three hours, I'm asking the Lord to call together at least 100,000 women who will connect, by means of a simulcast, to a nationwide prayer event for women where women will be gathered together in thousands of smaller gatherings in homes, in churches.

It might be twenty or thirty in a home. It might be 200 in a church or a school or a workplace, or perhaps 2,000 in a larger auditorium, but coming together to join us from a simulcast hosted in Indianapolis to cry out to the Lord.

Now, this is a God-sized undertaking, something we've never done before. We're asking Him now to provide what we need to get the word out to help support these groups. We'll be doing this work even during the summer months when donations to the ministry tend to decline. So we really need God to provide in a big way here during the month of May.

This is the end of our fiscal year, and we need to end this year in a healthy position so we can be prepared for the extra expenses of a True Woman conference and a nationwide simulcast. This moment is so critical that some friends of the ministry have offered to double the gift of every transcript reader this month.

We've set up a special URL for transcript listener. So visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com/donate/transcript. When you make a donation of any size, we'll say "thanks" by sending you Dave Butts' brand new book called, With One Cry. It's all about how to pray for our nation, including how to pray during an election season.

Now, during this series, Dave and Kim Butts have told us how helpful it is to pray the Scriptures. Tomorrow we'll hear from a mom who has done just that for her children and her grandchildren.

Woman: For this reason, since the day we heard about you, and I would put their name there, we have not stopped praying for you, and a name would go there, and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Nancy: We'll hear the dramatic way God has been answering some of this mom's prayers tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.