Tony Villatoro, Pastor, Sojourn Spring Branch

Tony Villatoro, Pastor, Sojourn Spring Branch

Monday, Revival in our hearts

Nehemiah 1:4 “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” 

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I must always recognize that there is there is a work of revival that must be done in my heart. Before my family lives it, before my church experiences it, before my city gets lit with it, there is work to be done in my heart. Our minds, hearts, and affections must first be turned on, awakened, and revived.

In the exile story of Israel, there was once a cupbearer to the king named Nehemiah. Upon the visit of his friends from Jerusalem, he asked them about how it was going with the exiles who had survived in Jerusalem. His brothers told him that the "remnant there in the province who had survived the exile [was] in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem [was] broken down, and its gates [were] destroyed by fire.” (Nehemiah 1:3) Nehemiah’s response to this was one that sometimes is foreign to us when we hear grave news like these in our own life.

He "sat down and wept and mourned for days, and [he] continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4) What a response from this man!

When we read his prayer in verses 5-11, we find out several things. We see him honoring God as sovereign and pleading with Him to be attentive. But there is another element to his prayer that always tugs at my heart. It’s the element of confession. He confesses on behalf of the people of Israel. He goes as far as to pray, “Even I and my father's house have sinned.” (Nehemiah 1:6) Imagine this man living with a sense of comfort, serving in the king’s palace, and now identifying himself with the exiles in Jerusalem enough to sit down, and with tears in his eyes, plead to the redeeming God to hear his prayer, confessing his own sin, the sin of his father, and the sin of Israel.

In order for us to see a revival of God in our city, we must first seek it in our hearts. The way we seek it is through prayer, confessing that we have sinned. In other words, we must recognize our present situation first and then we must confess our sins.

So, what does your present situation look like right now? Are there any “broken walls” or “burned gates” that you see in your city? Do you see the poverty, whether it be financial or emotional, of the people you run into at work or in your neighborhood? Do you see the disorder and dysfunction in their lives?

What about in your own life? Is there any brokenness there? How is your devotion to the Scriptures and to prayer? You may say, “I read my Bible and pray every day.” Maybe nothing is fractured there. So, how is your stewardship of your finances? Are you living comfortably, not seeing the brokenness of your city because you decide to take the shortcut and not go through the not so much desired parts of it? If all is well with your stewardship of money, what is your attitude towards your spouse or your children? Are those relationships breaking down? To experience revival in our hearts, we must first recognize our present situation.

Once we admit that we have sinned, we sit down, and with tears in our eyes, we confess. For days. This is not a one-time, every- once-in-a-while kind of prayer. This is a continual sitting down for days and confessing our sins and the sins of God’s people in our city. We plead with the Lord that He would gives us His ear and listen to our confession; because we know that He will.

Church, let us seek a revival in our hearts by recognizing the broken situation we live in and by confessing our sins against him. He listens and will revive us again!

Prayer

“God, we recognize areas in our life that are sinful towards you. They offend your holiness and hinder our walk with you. They weigh us down and not let us run the race you have set before us to run. We confess our sins. Holy God, we are not holy. Perfect God, we are not perfect. Forgive us. Move us to recognize the broken walls and burned gates in our life. Let us sit and weep because of our sin against you. Move us to confess our sins knowing that You... You will forgive. God, have mercy! Give us a revival of Yourself in our hearts.”