What comes to mind when you hear or read the word, “return?” Maybe there are memories of returning home after a long trip or maybe memories are stirred of times when you awaited the return of a child or a loved one from a time of travel for work or military service? Many in my stage of life would be reminded that very soon our children will be returning to school, and our lives will return to more solid routines. As I was reading Malachi this past week, I was reminded of the significance of returning as it relates to revival and spiritual awakening. Malachi prophesied to the people of Jerusalem after their return from exile. The Temple had been rebuilt and the sacrifices were renewed, but times were still difficult. The people were suffering from spiritual despondency and discouragement because of the trials they were facing. There was the promise of a king, a Messiah, who would come and deliver them. They looked forward to this, but worshipping the Lord was costly and times were difficult. Why was the Lord making them wait? They were getting weary of bringing their best and making sacrifices. The Lord issued a command through Malachi, “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 3:7, NIV). As we prepare for the school year, a return to normal routines, and our Revival services coming up August 28-31, would you help me pray Emmanuel (corporately) and each of our members (individually) would be stirred by the Spirit to return?
Pray we would return to the Lord through the confession of sin and renouncing of worldly pursuits and habits.
Pray we would return through a renewed zeal for the disciplines of the faith which we know are means of grace outlined in God’s Word: Bible study, prayer, fasting, gathering together.
Pray we would return to the Lord through an ever deepening love for one another, heeding the command of Christ in John 13:34-35 to love one another as He loved us.
Pray we would return to the Lord with new fervency in evangelism and compassion for the lost around us. Very few are travailing in prayer for the lost and asking others to pray for them.
Pray we would return to the Lord by literally returning to the gathering of the saints in worship, Bible study, and prayer with greater consistency. We have many who have become slack in attending our gatherings due to health fears or spiritual apathy.
Please join me in praying for our revival meetings coming up, August 28-31. Pray for Dr. Wilton Wall and Bro. Dee Alexander as they come to lead us. I am looking forward to a time of return and renewal!