“Prepare your chariot and go down lest the rain prevent you”… and the hand of the LORD was upon Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab. (From 1 Kings 18:41-46)

The perils of not being prepared

It may come as a surprise that the things we pray for often involve a challenging degree of turmoil, chaos, danger and even potential for destruction. The promise of spiritual outpouring is accompanied by perils that, if we are not prepared for, can be overwhelming. The big things that we pray for require a requisite largeness, strength and spiritual heft on our part, to carry them through.

The rain that the king, nation and prophet had earnestly prayed for came with devastating suddenness and required a pace of movement, understanding and strength that Ahab did not have. Elijah, on the other hand, was able to run at a pace that overtook the chariot and function in a capacity that reflected supernatural power.

How we function depends on training and preparation

And it is this realm of functioning that is called for and brought in by the outpouring of the Spirit. If we have not been used to moving in the realm of faith and revelation, we find ourselves flat-footed in this new dynamic.

The mental brilliance we had which looked so good in the absence of God’s move, looks clumsy and pedestrian where we need to be stepping out boldly at the impulse and leading of our spiritual instincts. The reliance on relational adeptness and listening techniques are left at the post in the face of the need for decisive action that shows forth God’s wisdom. The much-touted humanistic creativity, so valued in the absence of a move of God, seems irrelevant and awkward in the midst of more powerful spiritual weapons.

When Pharaohs and Nebuchadnezzar need a word from the gods, naturalistic, hip Christianity, for all its contrived “relevance” and emergent postmodernism, is brushed aside. A move of God is a dangerous thing, and can only be met by spiritual preparation.

In other words, revival can actually be painful for those unaccustomed to moving in sync with the Spirit. Just as God is exposed in revivals, so is our reliance on the flesh. But just as the San Francisco earthquake at the turn of the Century, and the Chicago Fire have been read as times of great calamity, they also happen to have been the occasion for great revivals – the awaited times that certain men and women of God had been preparing for. These were the “such a time as this” moments that required them to be able to minister more than human help to people who had been devastated. They had to have the spiritual wherewithal to rise to the situation. Just as the rain in Ahab’s and Elijah’s case required them to move faster than they could under normal circumstances, so too will the opportunities that God affords require a level of united, committed corporate prayer to see harvest. The opportunities will be there – for those who know their God, have developed a strong spirit, and can take action.

This is what our training is preparing us for.