One of the most quoted verses that give us the essential principles for renewal/revival is 2 Chronicles 7:14. I see it to be like a key with 4 “teeth” that unlocks revival:
1. humble themselves,
3. seek my face
4. turn from their wicked ways, “then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”
Each tooth is essential to unlock the blessing of God on His people and even on a pagan city like Nineveh, if applied. One tooth that we need to be praying about is: “and turn from their wicked ways”. It is really hard for us to look our sin in the face and call it wickedness, but that is what God calls it. He says the heart of man is desperately wicked, who can know it? And that is part of the problem, we don’t see our own sin. We are a lot like the person who has bad breath – he doesn’t know it but everyone else does.
If we want renewal, we need to be self-aware of our own sinfulness, and that is something we can pray for. Jeremiah prayed that for Israel: “Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may return, renew our days as of old.” (Lam.5:21) That word, “restore”, can mean “turn” and so Jeremiah is praying, “turn us so that we may return”. He knows that unless God opened their eyes to their sin, they would never be able to turn from their sin. God did answer that prayer years later when He sent John the Baptist whose ministry was to, as Jesus said, “restore all things” (Mt.17:11).
And we know that what he did was to call the nation to repent. Repentance is a gift from God that leads to salvation. It is very significant that when Peter explained how the Lord lead him to lead the Gentile house of Cornelius to salvation, the elders in Jerusalem concluded: “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” (Ac.11:18). In one of the readings for the Rule of Life (Ps.19), David prayed a prayer that I ask that we will pray together:
“But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. ”