O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy – Hab 3:2.

Prophet Habakkuk’s prayer resonates with us in the midst of year 2021, post-Covid 19/Floyd year. Albert Midlane, the author of the 1858 hymn text, Revive thy work, O Lord, based the hymn on the prayer of the prophet Habakkuk for the Lord to show His delivery power against the threat of an attack. This prayer also resonate with the spiritual condition of the church, like the church at Ephesus, we have “left our first love ” grown cold and self-satisfied, like the church at Laodicea (Rev 2:4; 3:15-17).

Globally, we need God to show His delivery power in such a time as this. One of the major lessons of life and especially from Covid-19 is that, every one of us is on a faith journey. In different circumstances, we all go through phases of weak or barely existing faith as a result of losing a loved one, experiencing a deeply traumatic event, or simply getting bored with the Christian faith. The Good News is God never gives up on us. The Gospel reading from Mark 5 (vv 21-43), with two layers, two stories in one, invites us to reach out and rely on God in order to revive our faith, that is unlocking the biblical faith. Faith, something that you believe is true and trustworthy, comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God (Rom 10:17, Heb 11:1). Biblical faith is founded on the existence of God Who became man, lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death for our sins, and rose again to glory so that we could have eternal life by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Biblical faith, a living faith, faith of our fathers, is shaped by a total trust in Jesus’ salvation and redemption of our souls.

To revive, from the word, “revival” the Hebrew word chayah means “to bring back to life,” to “restore to consciousness,” or to “restore to a previous condition.” To revive our faith calls for making some major changes to our lives and worship habits. We need revival of our faith because Satan is out to steal our faith, kill our faith, and destroy our faith (Jn 10:10).

To revive our faith, we have to unlock our biblical faith. In our Gospel reading today, we saw how circumstances of life like that of Jairus and a certain woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years summoned biblical faith. Today, our circumstances of life – churches, families, and nations summon faith. The question is what are the things that locks biblical faith? When we deny God’s work in creation, we ‘deny one truth’ and block faith. When we deny that God works grace in the heart, we not only ‘deny a hundred truths in one,’ we block biblical faith. When we deny the doctrines which make up the great articles of faith, we block biblical faith. As families, churches and nations are humanly and technologically trying to fix things, it made it worse and decline. When we become desperate, and in our desperations, we allow unbelief, fear and doubt to block our faith. We read about Jairus and the haemorrhaging woman in the same level of desperation. Just as Jairus in his desperation had no solution to the health of her daughter until she died, the woman in her desperation suffered many things from many physicians for 12 years. She spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.

Something changed both for Jairus and the woman. When they saw and heard about Jesus, they allowed faith to take over their fears. They stopped trying to place their hands on everything and learn how to surrender and activate their faith in Jesus. Faith took Jairus from a life of fear to peace and favour, just as faith took the woman with the issue of blood from hopelessness to hope and healing. Things and situations that were out of human or scientific control, under desperation came under control through faith in Jesus Christ. Reviving faith for Jairus and the woman meant making and taking some major changes to their lives and belief. Humanly speaking, the process was not easy. For them to truly revive their faith in God, it was a combination of reaching out and relying on Jesus as the ultimate Restorer and the Redeemer.

Sin, unbelief, dishonesty, pride among others locks faith. Jairus and the woman were honest and humble to admit their helplessness. Just as circumstances summon faith, honesty builds up faith. We saw practical honesty and humility in Jairus and the woman. Regardless of what the crowd would say, Jairus and the woman found their ways to Jesus to see Him face to face. An important lesson for us today from the two miracles of healing is that, a lot of people touched Jesus that day and nothing happened. Beloved, church membership, titles or ‘just being around Jesus isn’t enough. Proximity doesn’t change things.’ You can be living very close to a church building and yet be a late comer. Nearness to Jesus, nearness to the church, nearness to other Christians is enough, like the holiness just rubs off. There are crowd ways of touching and serving Jesus without really touching Him or Him touching us. There are crowd ways of touching and serving Jesus without receiving His power. In our Gospel reading, crowds of people touched Jesus, ‘but only the woman got His power after the touch.’

To revive our faith as a person, church or nations, we must overcome crowd theology and mentality. We need biblical faith in Jesus as our Saviour and Redeemer to unlock Jesus’ power. Today, we need to overcome a major thing that locks biblical faith especially the crowd of unbelief, sin, dishonesty, doubt, unforgiveness, and pride among others. We all have crowds in our lives, families, churches and nations to deal with and overcome. The stories of Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood tells us that our personal want and need of revival is in some measure the cause of that want and need in the family, church and nations at large.

The death of Jairus’ daughter tells us that, death as the closing of one door, is the opening of another one, (Talitha cum), a pointer to resurrection healing. Beyond asking and trusting Jesus for our physical healing, biblical faith is not quick fix to our crisis as a church or nations. Biblical faith is about lasting hope, a resurrection hope. Biblical faith in Jesus Christ is not just come as you are crowd theology, it is about call to change because Jesus does not leave people in the conditions in which He finds them. Biblical faith is not just about information, it is a call to transformation, a face to face encounter with Jesus.

We need to unlock our faith when we know the truth in our heads that are not practicing in our lives. Great civilizations have flourished in desert or dry places, we must unlock and then activate our faith, to start flourishing again as well as a church or nations. To revive our faith calls us to unlock biblical faith as you and me “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6). When we start fitting into and adapting to the world rather than calling the world to adapt to God’s standards of holiness, we need to revive our faith. When we ceased to weep and mourn and grieve over our sin and the sin of others, we need to revive our faith. When sin in the church is pushed under the carpet, we need to revive our faith. When prayers are empty words designed to impress others, we need to revive our faith. When we tolerate lack of love, sins of gossip, or a critical spirit, we need to revive our faith.

Let us join Albert Midlane to prayer fully sing the hymn:

Revive Thy work, O Lord!
  Now to Thy saints appear!
Oh, speak with power to every soul,
  And let Thy people hear!
  Revive Thy work, O Lord!
  While here to Thee we bow;
Descend, O gracious Lord, descend!
  Oh, come, and bless us now!
2 Revive Thy work, O Lord!
  And every soul inspire;
Oh, kindle in each heart, we pray,
  The Pentecostal fire!
3 Revive Thy work, O Lord!
  Exalt Thy precious name!
And may Thy love in every heart
  Be kindled to a flame!
4 Revive Thy work, O Lord!
  And bless to all Thy Word!
And may its pure and sacred truth
  In living faith be heard!
5 Revive Thy work, O Lord!
  And make Thy servants bold;
Convict of sin and work once more
  As in the days of old.
6 Revive Thy work, O Lord!
  Give Pentecostal showers!
Be Thine the glory, Thine alone!
  The blessing, Lord, be ours!