I’ve been going over some prophecies concerning New Zealand and praying and talking with people and thought that you may be interested in some thoughts concerning the coming revival. Please feel free to share these thoughts with people who share the same heart for revival.
The Coming Revival
I’m sure you’re aware of the prophetic messages concerning the heart of God to bring revival to New Zealand and beyond. You’ll also be aware of the many people who have been praying for such a long time for revival in NZ. Now that it is nearly upon us, I believe that we have to honour their labours in prayer and intercession by being fully prepared for the coming harvest so that nothing is lost.
We all know that faith without vision is not really faith. We have been praying for revival in faith because God gave us a vision and placed His desires for this land and her people in our heart. He gave us both the vision and the confidence to believe in His will for revival in NZ. However, faith needs more than vision to truly live, for it is written that faith without works is dead.1 Real faith requires active expression. Previously our faith manifested itself in prayer and intercession for the nation. Now is a time for our faith to manifest itself in the strategic preparation for revival.
For a long time now, God has been speaking through Michael Livengood that we need to own our own revival and to rend our hearts. This message was confirmed when David Wilkerson came to NZ with the prophetic word that revival will come from within, but that “it will not happen till we rend our hearts.”
The Spirit seems to be revealing that the revival we have been praying for is dependent on us becoming a people of broken hearts.
Rending the Heart
If we believe in the words that God has spoken then our faith must lead us to prepare for revival. I believe this preparation begins by actively seeking a broken and contrite heart before God.
In calling us to rend our hearts, Cindy Jacobs prophesied that God would give our nation “the gift of tears”. On the surface of it, the offer of a gift of tears and a broken heart is decidedly unattractive. Any tearing is painful, and especially so when it involves the heart. Our heart is our identity. It is who we are. To rend our hearts is to have the most precious part of us broken into pieces, and no one wants to be broken, especially not so deeply. It’s the opposite of the wholeness that we seek.
But this breaking is essential for revival. It’s prerequisite. Without broken hearts to move through, at best this revival will be diminished, compromised, and polluted. At worst it will be lost altogether. Therefore, we must prepare for revival by actively seeking God to break our hearts.
To aid our seeking of this brokenness, and ultimately to speed the revival, it is helpful to understand why a broken heart is so essential to revival. Knowing why we need to be broken will give us the courage and vision to relentlessly yield our hearts to God and to let Him break us.
God of Wonders
Before we can see why a broken heart is crucial to revival, we need to get a better vision for who God is. The particular aspect of the nature of God that we need to focus on in this time of preparation is that of God as “The High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy.” (Isaiah 57:15). Let me explain why.
Psalm 113 reads:
The LORD is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth?
The glory of God is over, above and beyond the heavens. We exalt ourselves to look at the awesome glory of the universe and so quickly we are overwhelmed. We lack the ability to comprehend the size and glory of our own galaxy, let alone the breadth of the universe. We cannot comprehend the number of stars in our own stellar neighbourhood, let alone even imagine how many stars are in the entire universe. The universe is just too vast and too awesome for us to get our minds around.
And yet God holds the universe in the palm of His hand and calls each and every star by name.2 He is intimately acquainted with every atom of every star of every galaxy in the universe. But as if to show just how inconceivably glorious God is, the Scripture says that He has to humble Himself just to look at the universe. He is so awesome in majesty that He has to restrain His glory and lower Himself just to look at a universe that surpasses all our conceptions of beauty and glory. God humbles Himself to look at the heavens and the earth. In the beginning He humbled Himself to create the earth and all the life on earth. He humbled Himself to dwell with His creation. He humbled Himself to take on human form, to reveal His nature, and to redeem His creation. He humbled Himself to walk with us, to teach us, and to eat and drink with us. He humbled Himself to suffer for us; to be tortured, humiliated, and mocked for us. The One who calls the stars by name, humbled Himself to hang naked on a cross and die. Thus the love that God poured out upon His creation through Jesus Christ was only possible because of humility. And it has always been that way. God’s love flows through humility.
Even now, we can only know God because He willingly humbles Himself to be known. He delights in us and so He joyfully humbles Himself to connect with us. He humbles Himself to speak with us, to anoint us with His Spirit and to send revival on our nation. So we need to clearly understand this. The coming revival will only be possible because of humility.
Breaking our Hearts for Revival
In Isaiah 57, God goes on to say:
For thus says the high and exalted One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit…3
God dwells in the high and holy place, beyond the created universe and above all natural glory. And yet He also dwells with those who are contrite and lowly in spirit. God is intentional in making this apparent contrast. He is communicating a key message to us: God manifests His eternal presence and glory within those who share His humility. So the call to rend our hearts before God is not a call to become a sad, weak people of low self-esteem. It is a call to become a joyful, powerful people of high Christ-esteem. It is a call to receive the gift of God’s presence through the grace of His humility. It is a call to become of like nature with Him so that His power and glory can fill us.
Breaking our hearts before God and humbling ourselves means letting go of all pride and all self. It means falling on the rock and being broken but not crushed.4 It means being crucified with Christ.5 It means embracing obscurity and becoming nothing that Christ might become everything in us. It means dying that He might live through us. It means disappearing so that He might appear.
All of this reveals a paradox of God: that it is by descending into humility that we ascend to glory. It is by dying to self that we actually find our true selves in unity with Jesus.6 So in terms of the coming revival, we can be sure that God will move according to His nature. Scripture has spoken it and experience has shown it to be true: God gives grace to the humble and delights to put the treasure and power of His presence into fragile jars of clay.7 So right now He is looking for people who will offer themselves as jars of clay, who will become carriers of the presence of God and through whom He can bring revival to this land.
This work of humility is one of the reasons I believe that revival will come from within and not from a visiting ministry. No one really carries an anointing to humble people, any more than a person can make other people loving or righteous. Visiting ministries can only point us to Jesus and so to Him we now must look. He alone can take our heart of pride and turn it into a heart of humility and love. As such, the rending of our hearts is a work of the Spirit that only He can do. It is 100% His work and 100% our participation. Our part is to relentlessly seek God to humble us and then to fully embrace every tear that He gives.
Becoming Like Mary
The rending of the heart is probably best expressed in Scripture in Mary’s worship and anointing of Jesus.[8 She was broken-hearted before Jesus. In breaking the seal of her perfume, she gave up what was probably her most costly possession.9 Yet however precious the perfume was though, I believe that it was her tears that were most prized by Jesus. It was her broken heart that washed over him and her love that anointed Him. Through her humility, Mary revealed that the love of the Father for His Son had truly been formed within her.10 And I believe it is this humility and love that God is wanting to form within us in the coming days.
Worship and Humility
I recently heard a prophetic word concerning the revival that talked about how God is calling His people into a season of focussing on worship. In the lead in to the revival we need to learn more about worship and invest significantly more time in worship.
In terms of learning more about worship, we simply need to look to Scripture. In Greek, the word worship (proskuneo) means:
- To bow down, pay homage
- kiss the hand and thereby show profound reverence (through kneeling or prostration)
- to make obeisance (express a heart of reverence that is ready and willing to obey).
The Hebrew word shachah carries this same meaning and so this nature of worship can be seen throughout Scripture. People worshipped God by humbling themselves before Him.11 Yet there is more to worship than just humility. One of the first mentions of worship was when Abraham worshipped God by willingly offering up his son Isaac as a sacrifice. The Old Testament priests worshipped God through the sacrifice of animals. Mary worshipped Jesus when she offered up her precious perfume to bless Jesus. When David came to worship God, he said “I will not offer God that which costs me nothing.”12 Paul echoes this sacrificial call of worship in Romans when He calls us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices in worship to God.13
In English, the word worship means:
- Love unquestioningly and uncritically or to excess; to regard with deep or rapturous love; a feeling of profound love and admiration14
- To regard with ardent or adoring esteem or devotion15
- Extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem16
- To show profound religious devotion and respect to; adore or venerate17
Worship in this sense is an expression of extravagant love and devotion. When we combine this understanding with proskuneo, and sacrifice, we learn that worship is an expression (and life) of reverence, obedience, humility, devotion, and excessive, extravagant, sacrificial, rapturous love.
Clearly, this kind of worship cannot be self-generated but has to come from a transformed heart. And I believe that by calling us to worship in this way, God is giving us the promise that He will transform our hearts if we let Him break us. If we cry out to Him to humble us and to break our hearts, He will break our pride and sense of self, and then fill us with the rapturous, excessive love for Jesus that defines true worship. And that will usher in revival.
Cast a Net, Pull it In
So if we embrace the call to break our hearts and worship Jesus like Mary then God will keep His promise. He will send revival and thousands upon thousands of people will encounter the living God. The sleeping church will awake to the sound of the wave of revival crashing upon our shores and the world will stand in awe.
But then what? What happens with all those thousands of people who come to faith? What is our role in drawing them into meaningful fellowship with the body of Christ?
If we truly believe in the coming revival then we need to act as if it is inevitable and start to prepare for a major influx of people who will be in need of teaching, nurturing, discipleship and maturing in Christ. It is not good enough to tell them to pick a church to attend and hope for the best. I believe that if we are going to bring this massive catch of fish back to the shore then we need to make a strong net that will both catch and hold those who are coming to faith.
I believe that the net we need to create for this revival is an extensive network of small groups: home groups, Bible studies, discipleship groups, and fellowships of all descriptions. We need to start now by preparing people within our congregations to be ready to establish and lead these groups when the revival comes. We need to be prepared to strengthen these groups with teaching resources, worship resources, as well as being able to support these new leaders with ongoing training, discipleship and support.
I was thinking of the energy revolution as a metaphor for the coming revival. Imagine that we were given the foreknowledge that electric cars were going to be built that could go farther than petrol cars and cost a fraction of the price to purchase and to run. We could immediately work to bring those cars to New Zealand without realising that if these cars were to arrive here, we would not be able to charge them. Our current electricity infrastructure would not be able to meet the energy demands of a nationwide switch to electric cars.
So we have both a promise and a problem. We know that a major renewal is coming in the realm of transportation, but we don’t have the energy to support it. So we need to prepare for the revolution by increasing our capacity to generate energy. The traditional solution would be to build more dams: a time-consuming, expensive, and concentrated option for power generation. However, an alternative would be to invest that money into home energy production such as solar and wind etc. Instead of making massive new dams or power stations, we could spread the load across the millions of homes that we have in New Zealand.18
In the same way, we can think traditionally and plan to cater for the influx of new believers by building big new churches when the revival comes. However, I don’t believe that this kind of net will be strong enough to hold onto the fish and get them safely to shore. It will break. Instead we need to plan ahead with a renewed perspective. We need to equip believers within our congregations to be on-call as Bible study and home-group leaders who are trained and ready to start a group at a moment’s notice when the revival hits. Denominations and divisions are not important here. What is important is that these new believers are connected in a meaningful way to the body of Christ. It is essential that these new believers are welcomed into a group where they are loved, valued and discipled into maturity.
The net needs to be accessible and connected. If we act in unity we could make a communications network (open website etc) that could connect people together and enable new believers to find such groups in their local area.
The creation of this net will require humility among those who bear the weight of power and authority within the church. It is humbling to empower others and to see them succeed and even surpass our own achievements. It is humbling to let those who have been under our ministry go on to teach others and have influence beyond our control. It is humbling to release the reigns and let people follow their hearts (and the Spirit) in ministry. Yet it is essential that we do this. Jesus said He will build His church so we must trust in Him to do just that.19 We must trust Him to cover His people with His wing and keep them close to His heart. We must do everything we can to empower, support and nurture these leaders, but without dominating or controlling them. We must humble ourselves to serve them, and in doing so we will be serving God and seeing His net built and preparing for His revival to come.
I hope you find some blessing in these words. There is still more to write concerning the fire of revival and the preparing of the Bride of Christ, which I hope to do over the coming days.
All blessings in Christ,
- James 2:17
- Isaiah 40:12, 26
- This is the original emphasis in Hebrew. In the original Hebrew, God deliberates creates an immensely powerful picture by both contrasting and uniting two apparent opposites: the awesome holiness and glorious heights of God; and the lowliness and contrition of people. Essentially God is exalting the lowly in heart to the heights of glory by infusing the humble with His presence. The value of the jar is not whether it is made of gold, silver or clay, but what it contains. When we filled with the presence of God, we are both humbled and glorified.
- Luke 20:18
- Galatians 2:20
- Matthew 10:39
- 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
- Luke 7:37-38, John 11:2
- Many commentators believe that the perfume in the alabaster flask was Mary’s dowry or brideprice and that by spending it on Jesus, she was giving up the hope of a future husband or family. Her worship was costly.
- John 17:26
- For this reason, worship in Scripture was rarely manifest in song. This is not to diminish the place of praise and singing in Scripture. which is one of our highest privileges. God inhabits the praises of His people, and our singing is always an opportunity to celebrate our awesome God. So rather than diminish singing, the point here is to offer a more complete picture of what it means to worship God. Worship is a transaction of sacrificial love. In worship we unite ourselves with Christ in His humility, and honour and bless Him in with our very best.
- 1 Chronicles 21:24
- Romans 12:1
- WordNet: A Lexical Database for English © 1995 George A. Miller.
- The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003)
- The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003)
- Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged. ©1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003.
- I’m not really advocating any of this, but just using it as an analogy.
- Matthew 16:18