“My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart” (Psalm 119:25-32).
These verses teach us something about the need for personal revival. They highlight the conditions that must be met before revival, renewing or refreshing can come. Like the psalmist most of us have cried out to the Lord in prayer regarding a fresh touch of His Spirit, and in reality there is nothing but self that can hinder the answer that would satisfy the need.
Where does personal revival begin? Revival has its roots firmly fixed in repentance, for it is from that position that it can spring into new life. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). This means that revival will come when we reach the end of ourselves, our resources and ambitions. It simply calls for repentance from a broken and humble heart. Notice that that psalmist says that his soul clings to the dust. This expression reveals the thirst and hunger in his soul for “times of refreshing … from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Once again God’s word is the source of blessing, for He speaks into our hearts as we read the Scriptures. True revival is always consistent with the word of the Lord. There is not a revival recorded that was not prompted by and fully grounded in the Bible. Any future revival, be it personal or national, will be the result of Christians having a passion for the word of God again.
When a believer presents himself or herself before the Lord in humility and repentance, then He will answer. It is at this point that the heart is ready to receive the blessing that God has available. So the precious gift of revival is received, what then? Can we relax and wallow in the thrill of it, or is more required of us? We must never take time out from continuously reading, studying and meditating in God’s word. He must forever be our instructor and guide as we journey through life. He is the Master and we are His lifelong students. “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). One of the major results of revival is a deeper desire to know the truth.
The psalmist feels that his heart is bursting with desire for a touch from God. Some suggest that he wants deliverance from depression and anxiety, but his words can just as well indicate that he knows exactly what he needs to be truly strong. No doubt he was troubled by those who had no such desire to serve God (:21), and he saw in them “the way of lying”, something he wanted to avoid. Only the strength and encouragement he received from Scripture could enable him to stand firm. The requested revival would not only restore but it would make him resilient against evil. Instead of going the same way as others, he chose to follow “the way of truth” by continually trusting in God’s word. Though he might be clinging to the dust, he adhered himself to the truth. The word “stuck” gives us the idea of being superglued to something, which means that we should not be easily shaken from our commitment to Christ. We are prone to wander, therefore the stability that Scripture gives will enable us to live without the fear of deserting Christ. He also prays about not being put to shame. This simply refers to the fact that he recognises that following the Lord demands faith, therefore it requires that he risks everything for the blessing. It was this kind of risk Peter had to make when he stepped out of the boat to go to Jesus on the water (Matthew 14:25-33).
The psalmist commits himself to faithfully obey the word of God despite any fears or reservations he might. Those who set themselves to do the same will find that the Lord will “enlarge” everything concerning them, which means that He will make them stronger as they continue seeking Him. No one drifts into holiness, instead it requires a personal and deliberate decision to follow the word of God. God always builds solid structures on this firm foundation. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24). While we recognise our own weaknesses, thankfully the Lord is strong and able to strengthen us. “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Revival is only a prayer away!