by Terry Wilson, Emmaus International Director
As we look at the church in the world today it is easy to become discouraged. Where is the passion and the zeal we once had? Have we lost our first love? Where is the fruit of our labors? All of these seem missing and so many are now praying for revival in our assemblies and local churches. We long to see believers excited about their faith again and about what God is doing through them collectively. But we have to admit that we don’t really know what revival looks like or how we can make it happen.
It has been said that the evidence of revival is changed lives and that is true. Revival will be reflected in a desire for closer intimacy with God through prayer and a determination, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to live holy and separated lives. We will see not just Bible knowledge but continuing obedience to the Word of God. But where does revival start? In the account of Nehemiah and Ezra, we find that there were a handful of believers who still clung to the Lord and wanted to see others commit themselves wholeheartedly as well.
As we read through Nehemiah 8 and 9, we notice the following behaviors that led to revival:
- People were united in their desire to hear God’s Word
- Ezra read the Word of God publicly for over four hours to an attentive people
- They immediately worshiped God after hearing His Word
- Scholars were provided to help the people understand the Word of God
- Hearing the Word of God and its teaching led to obedience, repentance, confessed sins and transformed lives
As we pray for revival, I would suggest that we follow the example we find in Ezra and Nehemiah by being completely immersed in the Word of God and by surrounding ourselves by the people and resources that will help us understand His Word. Systematic and serious study of the Word of God, along with the help of resources that can help explain difficult passages, will bring revival to our hearts, our lives and to our local churches. We pray that each of us might experience this in our lives.