July 3, 2020
Written by: Tasha Ann Miller
It is raining now. The dry bones live. The message spreads like the sounds of wind rushing through a tunnel and the triumphant joy lays out before the face of God in adoration at his glory. His power is evidently interrupting every life in its transformative and redeeming nature. The testimonies and outpouring of great miracles make headlines in the press. The stories of transformed lives are innumerable.
On September 23, 1857 in New York City, Jeremiah C. Lanphier started to hand out tracks inviting people to a 12 noon prayer meeting at Old North Dutch Church at Fulton and Sutton Streets (C.S Lewis Institute, 2004). It was frustrating for Lanphier when people would not come right away but he kept praying and decided to target businessmen. This was the birthing place for what is known as the worldwide ‘Prayer Meeting Revival’ of 1858-1859.
Ezekiel’s prophecy of dry bones living in chapter 37, speaks about how a revival of the Holy Spirit can resurrect life to every hopeless and grave situation. In verses 8 to 10, the breath from the four winds of the earth came and brought life to the dry bones that laid there. The focus of revivals is to refresh and win souls from the darkness and death of sin as people run to life in God.
8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
Ezekiel 37:8-9 (King James Version)
More than the history of revivals in the Church
God’s will must be accomplished. Revivals are a part of this plan as he cements His kingdom and turns the hearts of people back to Him. Throughout the course of the church’s history, great revivals have come from a time of economic hardships, diseases, and the frustrations of people with the issues of life in the world. Revivals are a refreshing renewal in God’s presence for all who will partake. Backsliders come home, and sinners find forgiveness and love in the arms of the Savior. In the mid-nineteenth century in the United States, there was civil unrest and a financial flat-lining in 1857, and the atmosphere was conditioned for a move of God.
Today, we have COVID19, uprisings against racial and colonial pitfalls, Saharan dust, financial and economic contraction, mental breakdowns, and the list stretches far. These present conditions are lining up for another move of God on the earth as he prepares to renew the church, and reclaim lost sheep.
In Ezekiel 37, the prophet was commanded to speak to the dry bones and called them to life. It’s the same way, the Lord will call forth his people into a refreshing of the Holy Spirit as we lift our prayers through the Word of God back to him. May he lay sinews of newness upon our hearts and bodies as sicknesses and diseases die because of who he is – the I am that I am. He will bring up the flesh by his grace, strength, and wisdom during the time of revival as new life awakens in people from varying backgrounds.
Ezekiel 37:6 (King James Version)
Jamaica needs a revival today
It’s not just a history of revivals in the past, but longing for one today. The revivals of the past as the one in Jamaica in 1860 reigned for two years in the era of plantation work and colonial rule. It is reported that hundreds came to Christ, the crime rate decreased, and people in cohabiting relations wanted to tie the knot in Christian marriage, among more manifestations of the power of God. Today, we groan in the spirit for a revival for our island as a country with so many churches per square mile. Only a revival from God can truly unite the churches on this island to reflect His glory.
“The Wesleyan Methodist Circuit at Montego Bay experienced an exceptional revival, marked by “strong crying with tears,” with sinners wailing aloud for mercy and many of these people prostrated by conviction. Some 800 in regular membership welcomed 547 professed converts. There were vigorous movements in Lucea and Brown’s Town circuit. Around St. Ann’s Bay Wesleyan congregation had 150 on trial in a regular membership of 500 or so. This was typical of the north coast circuits. “
(TonyCauchi Mostly adapted from J. Edwin Orr’s ‘Event of the Century)
I wait upon the move of God to touch political leaders, unite churches, slay the crime dragon, see more young people adore God and live for him, and miracles and wonders invade our island as a mirror to ignite the rest of the world. I cannot fully remember where I heard this or appropriate it – that the next revival should start in Jamaica and then spread to the rest of the world as God continues to elevate us beyond the tiny dot we are on the world globe. Jamaica has already made its mark across the world in sports, music, culture, food, people, and more, but the longing for a revival today lingers for those who have been praying for years.
The hollow longing to be saturated with the love of God that can shift man, nation, and world. This longing is not long gone from the days of the great Pensacola revival in June 1995 or past revivals in Jamaica. In Ezekiel, chapter 37, he described God taking him to the midst of the valley where the dry bones were.
And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
Ezekiel 37:2 (King James Version)
The prophet said the bones were very dry. This dryness could be linked to the heart that wants a revival, one that is truly empty, truly needy, truly desperate for the sake of righteousness. I recall the word from Apostle Kevin Richards at my home church (Celebration Church Jamaica) last Sunday (June 28, 2020) as he took us on a journey with the prophet Elisha and the widow in debt in 2 Kings 4. He told us that God wanted us to be empty vessels so that he could fill us up with oil. It was such a powerful word, and my attempt to put it into context belittles what the Holy Spirit can reveal to you if you become obedient to Him.
However, the history of revivals in the church of God is not a wait and see if God show-up approach but an obedient and contrite heart that is surrendered to God, which he can use to spark the revival.
In the Bible, the history of the Israelites and from the days of Adam has been a true testimony of the great revival that will happen when Jesus returns. The Israelites rejected God on so many occasions and when they get in trouble because of their disobedience, they cry out in repentance to him for mercy. The process of revival in the church is redemptive in nature and its impact when it spreads brings miracles and healings from heaven to earthly problems that have outwitted and cost us greatly due to the pervasiveness of sin in the world.
In Psalm 51:10, David sung, ‘create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’ This popular psalm is said to be written as a lament as David repented from his infidelity with Bathsheba after he was confronted by Nathan the prophet. The Lord wants us to focus on him and the only way we can truly do that is to identify the many distractions that keep us apart and sometimes in disobedience to his will for us. Great revivals are birthed from a sincere and truly repentant heart humble to serve and pray to God for change. It is a process from the formula room of God that has watered the souls of mankind with the fervor and intensity of Zion that emanates his glory with the supersonic spread of changed hearts, and restoration to broken societies.
David lost his zeal for God when he lusted after Bathsheba, and so it is that we have lusted for things of this world more than God. The transformation of the church must be that the epicenter of God glories in all we do so that the world can see the light and follow Christ. Therefore, revivals are necessary to have us surrender to God when turmoil, and tribulations have worn us thin when we have lost focus of our center in all things – Jesus Christ.
Be expectant in this time for the move of God to connect with maybe just one or a few persons whose focus is engaged with God that he is unable to look otherwise. Only God can start and sustain a revival, but the condition is hungry hearts. Then the spark will run through the crevices and corners of society igniting all over the hearts that will melt before God at the awesome redemptive power of the King of Glory.