Psalms 85:6 Will you not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?
By Charles H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)
If you will pray this prayer, it will be better than my preaching from it. Oh, that we knew how to pray! I fear that we do not. Oh, that I could but stir up my brethren and sisters to be instant in season and out of season, if there be such a thing as out of season with God in prayer! Let us get away to our closets. Let us cry mightily to Him. Let us come to close quarters with Him and say, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”
What is the time for such a prayer as this? We shall have to look at the psalm itself to help us in the answer. It is, dear friends, when we can remember some gracious acts of God in the past. “LORD, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. …Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”(vv. 1, 6). Some of you can recollect grand times when the Lord was present with His people in a very glorious fashion, when He had laid bare His arm, and the people were made to feel His divine presence in the preaching of the Word. If you have any recollection of such days as those, pray this prayer, “Lord, what You have done, You can do; will You not revive us again? You can outdo all we have yet seen of Your work. Come, now, we beseech You now, and repeat Your mercies in the eyes of Your people.”
Another time for such a prayer is, after tokens of divine displeasure, when we are somewhat under a cloud. Thus the psalmist says, “Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”(vv. 5-6). I feel that the church of God generally is at this time in a very sad case. I speak not without a heart that is heavy at knowing so much of the evil of the times. And because the times are dark, and prayerfulness of spirit and holiness of life are things not so common among us as they should be, therefore I think that it is time to cry to the Lord, “Will You not revive us again?” I do entreat God’s people to pray now, if they have ever prayed in their lives.
Another time for praying like this is when saints feel languid. Do you always feel alike active? Do you always feel alike energetic? I think not. Whenever you, therefore, feel dull and languid, here is a prayer for you, “Will You not revive us again? Lord, come and wake us up again. Pour fresh strength into Your weak children. Put the living fire into Your lukewarm children. Raise Your sleepy children, Lord, make us all now to live at the highest point of life if for a while we have seemed ready to die.”
Another time when this prayer is very suitable is when efforts seem to be useless. When indeed you have come to close quarters with some hearts and have really laid yourselves out for the conversion of such and such persons, and you appear to have failed. Workers for Christ, never think of giving up your work, but stick to it and pray this prayer vehemently, and intensely, “Will You not revive us again? Lord, send us once again times of increased spiritual life, times of greater success in the winning of souls!”
And once more, I think that this prayer may well be prayed when we have among us a number of persons who are backsliding. There are always some who are spiritually sickly, going back and declining, and some of us know the heartbreak of mourning over those that did run well, of whom we have sorrowfully to ask, “What did hinder them?” There are some who used to be bold in the service of God, who now forsake His house, and His way, and even deny His holy name. Well, what then? Let this prayer be in our heart and on our tongue, “Will You not revive us again? Great Shepherd, come and bring back the stray sheep. Holy Spirit, come, we beseech You, with Your quickening breath, and bring back to life and spiritual health those that are fainting and ready to die.”
The Essence of the Prayer
Now, the essence of such a prayer, “Will You not revive us again?” What is this prayer if it is analyzed and we get to the very soul of it?
Well, it means, first, dependence upon God. If you are praying this prayer aright, you feel, “Lord, nobody can revive us but Yourself.” A church cannot be revived unless God revives it. Not a soul is saved, not a saint is quickened and made to grow except by the work of God. That is what this prayer means, “Lord, put Your hand to the work. Put Your right hand to it, we beseech You. We depend alone upon You. Will You not revive us again?”
The essence of this prayer is, next, confidence in God. “Lord, You can revive us again. We are not so deep in the mire but that You can lift us out. We are not so dead but that You can make us alive. Will You not revive us again? It is impossible to us, but it is possible to You, Lord, one touch of Your hand, a breath from Your blessed lips, and it is done. Will You not revive us again?” Brothers, sisters, we believe in God, do we not? And if we do, we believe that whatever state a church is in, God can bring it out of it. Do not run away from it and say, “God can never bless it.” He can bless it. Pray it up into a blessing and make this the essence of your prayer, “Lord, You can revive us. We believe it, and we look for it.”
The essence of this prayer is, next, importunity with God. “Will You not revive us again?” It is earnest pleading, it is pushing the point home, it is urging it with God. Do this, I pray you, dear brothers and sisters, with regard to the state of the church at the present time. If half a dozen of you should shut yourselves up a while and begin to cry to God for a revival of religion, and if you continued to cry more and more until it came, there would be grand hopes.
Let us in union and concert of prayer wait upon the Lord, and hear what He shall speak, for He will yet speak peace unto His people if we do but know how to ask for it. I leave with you who are the King’s remembrancers this sweet prayer to be prayed night and day, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”
Rejoice in Him!
Now I finish with the net result if this prayer is answered. “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” If God will be pleased to send a revival, His people will rejoice in Him because they are revived. They will be thankful that their spirits are plucked away from their languor and lethargy, and then they will begin to rejoice with the joy of gratitude, because God has done such great things for them. And then sinners will be converted and straightway saints will rejoice over sinners saved.
As I think of God, I meditate on all His attributes. He is a powerful God. Oh, how I love Him for that! Hallelujah to Him because He can do all things and all that power will be used for righteousness and truth. I love to think of Him as the God of love, nothing even in His justice being contrary to love. And then to rejoice in His truth, His faithfulness, that He cannot lie; His immutability, that He cannot change; His eternal existence, that He cannot faint or die – ah, my brethren, I shall not attempt to go over all the qualities of the Infinite Lord, but whatever they are, we delight in them all, and yet we rejoice in Him most of all. It is the crown of a revival that God’s people should rejoice in Him.
Lord, revive us again. Lord, revive me. We would each one of us say “Amen” to that petition. Lord, revive the pastor. Lord, revive the church officers. Lord, revive the workers. Lord, revive the members of the church. Lord, revive the backsliders. Lord, revive those who seem to live, but have grown careless. Lord, revive the church at large throughout the whole earth. Spirit of revival, come upon us now, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.
– Adapted from a sermon.