“In the recorded history of the church there has never been a mighty outpouring of the Spirit in revival that did not begin in the persistent, prevailing prayers of desperate people. Revival has never come because men placed it on the calendar. It has come because God placed it in their hearts.” (Ron Dunn)
“In revival, God brings you to a place of hunger, and then He feeds you with Himself.” (Jerry McCullah)
Allow me to share a few insights the LORD seemed to be sharing with me today as I meditated in His presence and on the happenings on many campuses and churches throughout the land and in other nations. These words were visited with great interest and God given wisdom: Revival-Fire-Altar-House of Prayer. I will make mention of these and more in no particular order.
“Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” (Mark 11:17)
In the context of this verse, Jesus was quoting from Isaiah in the verse below after cleansing the Temple.
“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
Will be accepted on My altar;
For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:7)
What had upset Jesus was that in a real sense, the “altar of purpose” had been dismantled to appease man’s purpose. The purpose of the altar was prayer. The altar was in God’s house or Temple. Through the cleansing of the Temple, Jesus was restoring the altar of purpose, or the purpose of the altar.
Fast forward through the crucifixion, the resurrection and ascension and rest with me on the day of Pentecost. Something very unique took place. God the Father placed a hunger on His people harboring in the upper room waiting to be fed, then when their altar of purpose was in repair waiting, He sent God the Holy Spirit to ordain, empower and dwell within the Church of the LORD Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit took residence inside all true followers of Jesus. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (I Corinthians 6:19)
Let me follow this path of reasoning. Each true believer has become the Temple or House of the Holy Spirit. Each believer is designed and expected to pray. The believer is intended to become the house of prayer or altar of purpose for the Spirit of God. We are to “pray without ceasing” because the Spirit of God in us is always praying the purpose of God’s will into us to be released back to heaven for intentional, expected action from God. The problem is that many believers have dismantled the “altar of purpose” in them to appease their own purposes; purposes not related to God’s intended will. Thus, quenching the Spirit, and causing the house of prayer to become a den of thieves hindering the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven. The altar in the believer is then in disrepair.
Let’s turn now to speak more on the altar of purpose, and bring in the fire from heaven. To do that, we need to look back at a man of God, the prophet Elijah.
“Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.
36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” (I Kings 18:32-39)
Elijah first made room; made a place in his heart of expectation for the LORD’s Spirit to come upon the people of need for revival. Then, Elijah built a strong, mighty, altar which only the LORD God could penetrate and destroy with His consuming fire. Beloved, today’s believer has torn apart the altar of purpose in his heart, to make room for the altar of his own purpose, which has become such a strong idol of worldly thought and intent that only the fire from the LORD can consume.
We are created with an inner longing, a hunger if you will, for the divine presence of God. The problem being, we settle for the world’s food of varied pleasures and selfish purposes, yet the hunger never leaves. When we are desperately hungry for God, and we struggle to return to His presence, if we would rebuild the altar of purpose, God will send the fire to revive.
Revival is not a thing or event people plan and schedule and budget for; it is something God sends down when the hunger He gives cannot be denied, and the table is set to receive God’s food of fire. Christian, “house of prayer”, your altar may need to be repaired to receive the fire. Build the altar, God will send the fire! Make space for the LORD’s Spirit to come upon your heart, then the Church. God sends the fire; we must then maintain it from the altar of purpose, never letting the fire to diminish. Beloved, guard the flame; keep the fire burning! Pray On!