“I have been told by many pastors, in all parts of this country, that they have experiences like this. They say, ‘we have got plenty of people in our churches who will attend as often and as regularly as you like, particularly if there are big mass meetings, but who simply will not come to the weekly prayer meetings.’ Now that is the thing we have to explain. If they had a real burden and concern for souls, they would be there praying regularly, in the unspectacular little prayer meeting. That is the real test. The man who is really feeling the burden is a man who is being pressed by it, and pressed to his knees, and pressed into the presence of God. His supreme activity is prayer. He does other things, of course, but the big thing, the vital thing to him is prayer. For he realizes that this is a province that God alone can deal with. He knows the burden, and a man who is burdened is a man who prays.
A lack of burden for the souls of the lost, then leads to a lack of really urgent prayer. It leads to a lack of prayer that is really hopeful and expectant. There is praying and praying. And true prayer is only possible when a men and woman have a God consciousness, when they know what it is to realize the presence of the holy God, when they begin to have zeal for His holy name and for His cause, and a compassion for souls, and a feeling of the pressure of the burden of their condition on their spirits. It is then and only then, that we truly pray. Oh, we can be whipped up to pray, but that is not prayer. We can organize this thing, but that is not prayer. People are always ready to be organized, because it is so much easier to do things we are commanded to do and told how to do, than to be alone, as it were, with just God and ourselves facing this matter, and going on doing so. That is the way to prayer. It is the only way to prayer. It seems to me that the diagnosis of the condition, therefore is that today our essential trouble is that we are content with a very superficial and preliminary knowledge of God, His being, and His cause. And content with that, we spend our lives in busy activism, instead of pausing to realize the possibilities, instead of realizing our own failure, and realizing we are not attracting anybody to Christ, and that they probably see nothing in us that makes them desire to come to Him. The inevitable and constant preliminary to revival has always been a thirst for God, …, a living thirst for a knowledge of the living God, and a longing and a burning desire to see Him acting, manifesting Himself and His power, rising, and scattering His enemies.
God grant that we all face these questions and continue to face them. To what extent do we know God? To what extent can we say that we are honestly forgetting those things which are behind and that we are pressing forward to the mark; that our supreme desire is to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death? ‘If by any means I might attain to the resurrection from among the dead’—to what extent do we know the fullness of God, and this love of Christ which passes knowledge? To what extent are we experiencing these things? Are they living realities to us? The thirst for God, and the longing for the exhibition of His glory are the essential preliminaries to revival.”
(From “REVIVAL” by Martyn Lloyd Jones pages 90-91)
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