IT IS INTERESTING to notice the time when
this prayer was offered. It was a time of mercy. “Lord thou hast been
favorable unto thy land”. It was a time when God had led many to the
knowledge of Christ, and covered many sins. “thou hast forgiven the
iniquity of thy people.” It was now they began to feel their need of
another visit of mercy — “Wilt thou not revive us again?”

The Thing Prayer For

“Revive us again,” or literally, return and make us live anew. It is
the prayer of those who have received some life, but feel their need of more.
They had been made alive by the Holy Spirit. They felt the sweetness and
excellence of this new, hidden, divine life. They pant for more — “Wilt
thou not revive us again?”

The Argument Presented

“That thy people may rejoice in thee.” They plead with God to do this
for the sake of His people, that their joy may be full; and that it may be in
the Lord — in the Lord of their Righteousness — in the Lord their Strength.

When is the Prayer needed:

In A Time of Backsliding

There are many times when, like Ephesus, many of God’s children lose their
first love. Iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxes cold. Believers lose
their close and near communion with God. They go out of the holiest, and pray
at a distance with a curtain between. They lose their fervency, sweetness, and fullness
in secret prayer. They do not pour out their hearts to God.

They have lost their clear discovery of Christ. They see Him but dimly. They
have lost the sight of His beauty — the savor of His good ointment — the hold
of His garment. They seek him, but find Him not. They cannot stir up the heart
to lay hold on Christ.

The Spirit dwells scantily in their soul. The living water seems almost dried
up within them. The soul is dry and barren. Corruptions are strong: grace is
very weak.

Love to the brethren fades. United prayer is forsaken. The little assembly no
more appears beautiful. Compassion for the unconverted is low and cold. Sin is
unrebuked, though committed under their eye. Christ is not confessed before
men. Perhaps the soul falls into sin, and is afraid to return; it stays far off
from God, and lodges in the wilderness.

Ah! This is the case, I fear with many. It is a fearfully dangerous time.
Nothing but a visit of the Holy Spirit to your soul can persuade you to return.
It is not a time this prayer — “Wilt thou not revive us again?”

The soul of a believer needs grace every moment. “By the grace of God I am
what I am.” But there are times when he needs more grace that at other times.
Just as the body continually needs food; but there are times when it needs food
more than at others — times of great bodily exertion, when all powers are to
be put forth.

Sometimes the soul of a believer is exposed to hot persecution. Reproach breaks
the heart; or it beats like a scorching sun upon the head. “For my love
they are my adversaries.” Sometimes they are God’s children who reproach
us, and this is still harder to bear. The soul is ready to rest or sink under

Sometimes it is flattery that tempts the soul. The world speaks well of us, and
we are tempted to pride and vanity. This is still worse to bear.

Sometimes Satan strives within us, by stirring up fearful corruptions, till
there is a tempest within. Oh, is there a tempted soul that reads these words?
Jesus prays for thee. You need more peace. Nothing but the oil of the Spirit
will feed the fire of grace when Satan is casting water on it. Send up this
cry, “Wilt thou not revive us again?”

In A Time Of Concern

“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time if the latter rain.” When God
begins a time of concern in a place — when the dew is beginning to fall —
then is the time to pray, Lord, stay not thine hand — give us a full shower —
leave not one dry. “Wilt thou not revive us again?”

Who needs this revival?

Ministers Need It

Ministers are naturally hard-hearted and unbelieving as other men (Mark 6:14),
so that Christ has often to unbraid them. Their faith is all from above. They
must receive from God all that they give. In order to speak the truth with
power, they need a personal grasp of it. It is impossible to speak with power
from mere head knowledge, or even from past experience. If we would speak with
energy, it must be from present feeling of the truth as it is in Jesus. We cannot
speak of the hidden manna unless we have the taste of it on our mouth. We
cannot speak of the living water unless it be springing up within us. Like John
the Baptist, we must see Jesus coming, and say; “Behold the Lamb of
God.” We must speak with Christ in our eye, as Stephen did. “I see
Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” We must speak from a present
sense of pardon and access to God, or our words will be cold and lifeless. But
how can we do this if we are not quickened from above. Ministers are far more
exposed to be cast down than other men; they are standard bearers, and Satan
loves when a standard-bearer fainteth. Oh, what need of full supplies out of
Christ’s fullness! Pray, beloved, that it may be so. “Wilt thou not revive
us again?”

God’s Children Need It

The divine life is all from above. They have no life till they come to Christ.
“Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have
no life in you.” Now this life is maintained by union to Christ, and by
getting fresh supplies every moment out of His fullness. “He that eateth
my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in Him.” In some
believers this life is maintained by a constant inflowing of the Holy Spirit —
“I will water it ever moment” — like the constant supply which the
branch receives from the vine. These are the happiest and most even Christians.
Others have flood-tides of the Spirit carrying them higher and higher.
Sometimes they get more in a day than for months before. In the one of these,
grace is like a river; in the other, it is like a shower coming down in its
season. Still, in both there is need of revival. The natural heart is all prone
to wither. Like a garden in summer, it dries up unless watered. The soul grows
faint and weary in well-doing. Grace is not natural to the heart. The old heart
is always for drying and fading. So the child of God needs to be continually
looking out, like Elijah’s servant, for the little cloud over the sea. You need
to be constantly pressing near the Fountain of living waters; yea, lying down
at the well-head of salvation, and drinking the living water. “Wilt thou
not revive us again?”

Those Formerly Awakened Need It

A drop fell from heaven upon their hearts. They trembled, wept, prayed. But the
showers passed by, and the rocky heart ceased to tremble. The eye again closed
in slumber; the lips forgot to pray. Ah, how common and sad is this case! The
King of Zion lifted up His voice in this place and cried. Some that were in
their graves heard His voice, and began to live. But this passed by, and now
they sink back again into the grace of a dead soul. Ah! This is a fearful
state! To go back to death, to love death, and wrong your soul. What can save
such a one, but another call from Jesus? “Awake, thou that sleepest, and
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” For your sake most
of all I pray, “Wilt thou not revive us again?”

Barren Fig Trees Need It

Some of you have been planted in this vineyard. You have enjoyed sun and
shower. You have passed through all this time of awakening without being moved.
You are still dead, barren, unconverted, fruitless. Ah! There is for you no
hope but in this prayer. Ordinary times will not move you. Your heart is harder
than that of other men. What need have you to pray for a deep, pure, effectual
work of God, and that you may not be passed by. Many of you would stand the
shock much better now. Many of you have grown experienced in resisting God, and
quenching the Spirit. Oh, pray for a time that will remove mountains. None but
the Almighty Spirit can touch your hard heart. “Who art thou, O great
mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.” “Wilt thou
not revive us again?”

For whom revival comes:

It is God who must revive us again. It is not human work. It is all divine. If
you look to men to do it, you will only get that curse in Jeremiah 17.
“Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.”

The Lord has all the men in His hands. The Son of Man holds the seven stars in
His right hand. The stars are His ministers. He lifts them up, or lets them
down, at His sovereign will. He gives them all their light, or He takes it
away. He holds them up and lets them shine clearly, or He holds them in the
hollow of His hand, as it seemeth good in His sight. Sometimes He lets them
shine on one district of a country, sometimes another. They only shine to lead
to Him. The star that leads away from Him is a wandering star, and Christ will
cast it into the blackness for ever. We should pray to Christ to make His
ministers shine on us.

The Lord had the fullness of the Spirit to Him. The Father has entrusted the
whole work of redemption into the hands of Jesus, and so the spirit is given to
Him. “As the Father hath life in himself, and quickeneth whom he will, so
hath he given the son to have life in himself, and to quicken whom he

It is He who keeps all His own children alive from day to day. He is the
Fountain of living waters, and His children lie beside the still waters, and
drink every moment eternal life from Him.

It is He that pours down the Spirit in His sovereignty on those that never knew
Him. “I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of
Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications.” Truly, the whole
work from the beginning to end is His.

Every means will be in vain until He pours the spirit down (Isaiah 32:15): Upon
the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers, “Until the spirit
be poured upon us from on high.” We may preach publicly, and from house to
house, we may teach the young, and warn the old, but all will be in vain; until
the spirit be poured upon us from on high, briers and thorns shall grow. Our
vineyard shall ne like the garden of the sluggard. We need that Christ should
awake; that He should make bare His arm as in the days of old; that He should
shed down the Spirit abundantly.

The children of God should plead with Him. Put your finger on the promise, and
plead, “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, I the Lord
will hear them” (Isaiah 41:7). Tell Him you are poor and needy. Spread out
your wants before Him. Take your emptiness to His Fullness. There is an
infinite supply with Him for everything you need, at the very moment you need

Ungodly men, you are saying, there is no promise to us. But there is, if you
will receive it. Psalms 68:28; “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led
captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious
also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” Are you a rebel? Go and
tell Him so. Oh, if you are willing to be justified by Him, and get your rebel
heart changed, go and ask Him, and He will give you living water. Proverbs
1:23; “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you,
I will make known my words unto you.” Go and tell Him you are a
“Simple one, a scorner”. Ask Him to do what He has promised in
Ezekiel 34:26; “And I will make them and the places round about my hill a
blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall
be showers of blessing.” Now you cannot say you belong to Zion’s hill, but
you can say you are in the places around this hill. Oh, cry, “Wilt thou
not revive us again?”

The Effects of A Revival

The Lord’s children rejoice in Him. They rejoice in Jesus Christ. The purest
joy in the world is joy in Christ Jesus. When the Spirit is poured down, His
people get very near and clear views of the Lord Jesus. They eat His flesh and
drink His blood. They come to a personal cleaving to the Lord. They taste that
the Lord is gracious. His blood and righteousness appear infinitely perfect,
full, and free to their souls. They sit under His shadow with great delight.
They rest in the cleft of the rock. Their defense is the munitions of rocks.
They lean on the Beloved. They find infinite strength in Him for the use of
their soul — grace for grace — all they can need in any hour of trial and
suffering to the very end.

Then go by Him to the Father. “We joy in God through our Lord Jesus
Christ.” We find a portion there — a shield, and exceeding great reward.
This gives joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Now, God loves to see His children happy in Himself. He loves to see all our
springs in Him. Take and plead that. Oh, you would pray after a different manner
if God were to pour water on the thirsty. You would tell Him all, open to Him
all sorrows, joys, cares, comforts. All would be told to Him.

Many flock to Christ. “Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves
to their windows?” “To him shall the gathering of the people
be.” Just as all the creatures came into the ark, so poor sinners run in
such a time. Laying aside their garments (Mark 10:50), their jealousies, they
flee together into the ark Jesus. Oh, there is not a lovelier sight in all this

Souls are saved. “Is this not a brand plucked out of the fire?” There
is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. They are
passed from death unto life.”

It is glorifying to God. “He that receives Christ, sets to his seal that
God is true.” He confesses the holiness of God, His love and grace. His
mouth is filled with praise. “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” He begins to
long for the image of God, to confess Him before men, to walk in His ways. It
gives joy in heaven, and joy in earth. Oh, pray for such a time.

There is an awakening again of those who have gone back. IF we have not a time
of the outpouring of the Spirit, many who once sought Christ, but have gone
back, will perish in a dreadful manner; for they generally turn worse than
before. Sometimes they scoff and make a jest of it all. Satan is all the worse,
that he once was an angel. So they become all the more wicked who have gone
back. They generally go deeper into the mire of sin. But if God graciously
pours down His Spirit, the hardened heart will melt. Pray for this.

There is an awakening of fresh sinners. It is a sad state of things when
sinners are bold in sin, when multitudes can openly break the Sabbath, and
openly frequent the tavern. It is an awful sin when sinners can live in sin,
and yet sit unmoved under the preaching of the Word, cast off fear, and
restrain prayer before God. But if the Lord were pleased to revive us again,
this state of things would change.

I am sure it would be a lovelier sight to see you going in company to the house
of prayer, than thronging to the tavern, or the haunts of sin and shame, that
will bring down eternal ruin on your poor soul. It would be sweeter to hear the
cry of prayer in your closets, than to hear the sounds of oaths and profane
jesting, and your hard speeches and reproaches of God’s children. Sweeter far
to see your hearts panting after Christ, His pardon, His holiness, His glory,
than to see them turning after the world and its vain idols.

Oh, lift up your hearts to the Lord for such a time. Plead earnestly the
promise, “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” Then this
wilderness will become a fruitful field, and its name be, Jehovah-Shammah —
the Lord is there.