Praying for Revival

RevivePentecostals have always been faithful in praying for revival. And, if we are honest, we usually envision ourselves smack-dab in the middle of it. After all, how could it happen otherwise? We pray for a spiritual outpouring in our town or province, in the nation of Canada or around the world, and we have strong expectations as to how it will happen. 

Yet I am reminded by Paul’s words that we serve a God who does immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine. That’s who He is and that’s how He works. Whether the Lord is addressing the day-to-day realities of our lives or engaging matters of global significance, He usually surprises us. He demonstrates that He is able to do so much more than our human thinking could envision.

For instance, as a Pentecostal Fellowship, it gives us a great deal of joy and pride (godly pride, I’m sure) to speak of the “Pentecostalization” of the global church and the almost 600 million Renewalists worldwide. (“Renewalists” is the name given to refer to Pentecostals and Charismatics of all types.) Yet the following statistics remind us that God does things with great imagination and breadth.

Renewalists in Global Context—2010

GLOBAL RENEWALISTS 584,490,000 (25.8 % of global Christianity)

Classical Pentecostals (type 1)          91,560,000


Charismatics 
(type 2)                      234,237,000

    Anglican Charismatics                    18,647,000

    Catholic Charismatics                   176,553,000

    Protestant Charismatics                  34,827,000

    Orthodox Charismatics                      4,190,000

    Marginal Charismatics                            20,000

Independent Charismatics (type 3) 258,693,000*

*Of these, 75,853,000 were formerly type 1 and 44,237,000 were formerly type 2.

Note that in answering our prayers—and the prayers of our forebears—the Lord did not restrict the outpouring of His Spirit to “our people;” that is, the classical Pentecostals of the world. To speak of Spirit-filled believers worldwide is to recognize that close to 30 per cent are Catholic charismatics. Also note that global renewal is occurring among many who do not identify with any specific denominational grouping. As we’ve always understood, God makes the choice to pour out His Spirit on all people (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17).

In Canada, 8 per cent of all Canadians identify themselves as “evangelical aligned” Catholics. In many cases, they are the ones who are bringing the good news of Jesus into regions we have prayed for. Currently, plans are taking shape to see the Alpha program in place in parishes across Quebec. Classical Pentecostals might wonder why it is not happening through us, but then we remember: God does “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” All we can do is be amazed at how great He is. We pray. He answers—His way.

Recently, I attended a conference connected with the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. As the only Canadian resident, I felt a bit like an endangered species. The discussion was focused on our covenant to fulfil the Cape Town Commitment of 2010.[1] This is a great document highlighting many worthwhile strategies.

In the middle of our discussions I was gripped by the thought that, at that very moment, there were probably many gatherings of Christian leaders taking place around the globe, discussing very similar topics. One reaction to that might be frustration: “Why can’t we all just get together?” Another might be cynicism: “Oh, there goes everyone just doing their own thing!” But I was struck by this thought: I’m not the one mandated to supervise the worldwide church—the Lord is. He births shared passion, vision and strategies in diverse groups of people around the world. Then He transforms lives and communities through people and by other means that I could never imagine. He converges all of His initiatives for His glory, and we can see only a part of it right now.

As we head into 2013, remember—we serve a God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine! This is true on a global level, and it is true right where you and I live. We all have things we are trusting God for this coming year. Here’s the reality: they will probably not work out the way we imagine or ask. We ask. We seek. We knock. But then we watch and marvel as God answers according to His power.

It should be quite a year.

Our Father, we marvel at how You are so beyond us. We ask You to demonstrate that in 2013 through our lives and the lives of Your people worldwide. For Your glory. Amen.

[1]. “The Cape Town Commitment,” The Lausanne Movement, http://www.lausanne.org/en/documents/ctcommitment.html.

This article by David Wells appeared in the January 2013 edition of testimony, the monthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada

To read more articles by David Wells, General Superintendent of the PAOC, visit Testimony Magazine online

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