Monday nights at our church we have an hourly prayer gathering. Everyone is invited to attend and join us from seven to eight to worship and pray. I’ve been going to it longer than I can remember and have watched it grow, and grow, and grow. I’ve heard countless words from God at Monday night prayer. Sometimes I’m angry at God and we battle it out. Sometimes I’m overjoyed and in awe of God and spend the entire hour singing his praises, either aloud or silently. Sometimes I’m desperate for someone or something and come to him crumbling, and he always pulls me together. It’s a powerful time for both me personally and for our church.
Last week it was hot. Very hot. We were all sticky and sweaty, but it was an afterthought in our minds. The band played, the people worshiped.
I had my head down, praying, singing only occasionally, in a state of reverent praise. Sometimes I don’t feel like opening my mouth, but I know he hears me. I looked up, sat back, and discovered half the room was on its feet, arms raised or hands clasped to their chests in adoration of the One who came to our rescue, the One whose name is lifted high. At that point, in our calm setting with quiet music and fluorescent lights, I felt an earnest passion for God in the room. I felt, “This is what heaven will be like. This is all we need. When we can join with the angels around the throne, forever praising his name, forever lifting his name high, giving all glory to him who is holy, holy, holy, who was and is and is to come.” This is all we can ask for.
I caught a vision of what this city would look like if everyone in Lubbock was on his feet, arms raised or hands clasped to his chest, praising with an earnest passion for something more. It would be revolutionary. It would be a revival.
But here’s the thing. The word “revival” has always had negative connotations to me. It seems fake, ungenuine, fleeting. It’s like going to youth camp, falling and weeping at the altar call every night, coming back home “on fire” and “pumped up” and prepared to storm the city, and then fizzling out within a couple weeks, or–most likely–a couple days or even hours. Just until getting home and realizing that not everyone in your household is aware of what you just experienced, much less ready for the life-change you’d prayed they’d experience.
The problem is: what we need is passion and that’s not passion. That’s emotion. Emotion says, “I feel God, so he must be here.” Passion is desperate. Passion says, “I know what God has done in my life. I recognize I can’t get anywhere or be anything without him. Whether or not I feel him, regardless of where I am, I will praise him and I will give him everything because it’s all I can do to show him gratitude.” Emotion only exists when God seems the most tangible. Passion exists when God seems the most intangible, the most holy, the most high and lifted up. When feelings fade, emotion falters but passion remains the same.
So the concept of revival I have in my head has been changing. I have this belief God is storming several key cities in America (and the world) with his spirit. I very strongly believe Lubbock is one of them. I very strongly believe this God is the God of this city and a mighty change is on the way.
[As a side note, I started this post about four times in the past week, each time with a separate and unfinished tangent. I eventually got frustrated and decided to give up and just post what I had so I can move on in my trains of thought. Thus, my scattered efforts resulted in a rather disjointed post about a variety of beliefs all shoved under one nice little category.]