I have actually heard of groups “praying for revival” for decades without spending too much time to analyze why revival has yet to happen. One of the ways revival is short-circuited is an unwillingness to honor important scriptural mandates and principals. One of those is the often overlooked principles of leadership for the Church.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he spells out a five-dimensional structure of leadership. He mentions the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. Yet, I’ve heard prayers leaders often outwardly proclaim, “we have got to get the pastors on board” before anything is going to happen. True, but pastors are only 20% of the equation. And, by the way, pastors are shepherds of their flocks and not so wired to see the bigger picture outside of their flock. Therefore, if you are trying to build a regional prayer movement with this mindset you are going to quickly be frustrated when the pastors “don’t get it.” They are not wired to “get it” on such a broad level. Not their fault.
Apostles and prophets are the most likely to buy in to regional prayer efforts. After all, apostles are by nature pioneers and catalytic leaders always looking to expand the Kingdom. And prayer in itself is a highly prophetic act, so the critical involvement of prophets is a no brainer.
Many conservative, evangelical prayer groups are already short-circuited at the start if they subscribe to cessationist theology. In case you are unaware of the term, cessationists believe that the apostles and prophets somehow disappeared after the canon of Scripture was complete. So you’re probably thinking this by now, “they actually believe we can do Kingdom life effectively after killing off 40% of the leadership, and by the way, probably the two most important dimensions? These are usually the same churches that maintain high-control atmospheres of “worship” and the outward manifestations of charismata of the Holy Spirit is frowned upon, and in some cases, considered even non-biblical.
I hate to break the news to you, but if you are going to pray for revival, you probably should prepare for unpredictability. After all, revival is letting go of self, YOUR control, and YOUR expectations. When the power of God really shows up, things will fall apart before God reforms them…His way! Cleansing comes before filling. Brokenness before reconstruction.
If we prefer to keep God in a nice little safe box that we control, and we theologize his power away with inaccurate and spiritually stifling interpretations of Scripture, lest anything “get out of order”, then you should probably prepare for another few decades of “praying for revival” with little results. Let go and LET GOD!