This article was originally published by Alex Sibley, of Southwestern Seminary, on Oct. 26, 2018.
“Lord, I need You. I need Your grace, Your forgiveness, Your love, and Your reviving power.”
“Lord, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, I want to say YES to You in every category of my life.”
“Lord, help me prioritize Your kingdom vision, Your Great Commission; and help me love others boldly, just as You have loved me.”
These are among the guided prayers provided for the Southwestern Seminary family by Life Action Ministries during a revival THIRST Conference, Oct. 23–25, on the Southwestern campus. Led by Southwestern alumnus and Life Action president John Avant, the revival comprised six sessions over three days that encouraged humility, repentance, and simply saying yes to God in every part of life.
“We have a John the Baptist kind of ministry at Life Action,” Avant explained during the opening session in MacGorman Chapel. “Luke 1:17 says to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. That’s all we’re here to do. We’re here to help you to think and to pray and to seek God and to say, ‘Am I ready for God to do whatever He wants to do?’
“This is what we’ve been praying for: a movement in this seminary of unity, healing, and a fresh start.”
In the buildup to the revival, Southwestern students, faculty, and administration eagerly anticipated a fresh movement of the Holy Spirit on the seminary campus. Interim President D. Jeffrey Bingham concluded every chapel service of the semester with a prayer for revival among the Southwestern family.
“Every seminary’s most fundamental needs are spiritual in nature,” Bingham said prior to the THIRST Conference. “We need the Spirit of God to touch us, to empower us, to refresh us, and to sanctify us for global Gospel service out of love for God and neighbors. We need the Spirit to bear His fruit in our lives. I can’t wait for Life Action’s ministry at Southwestern.”
Avant previously preached at Southwestern in the spring of 1995, in a packed-out chapel service that ultimately lasted all day. Numerous students crowded the front of the auditorium to confess sin and fall on their hands and knees before the Lord. “God broke loose on the campus that day,” Avant said.
For the THIRST Conference, Avant and the rest of the Life Action team prayed for a similar movement of God, regardless of what form it took. Across the morning and evening services—as well as men’s and women’s lunches between sessions—students, faculty, and staff were invited to humble themselves before the Lord, confess their sins to Him, ask forgiveness from those whom they had wronged, and above all, worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.
“We’re not here today because we’re wonderful, called men and women of God, and God has all these great things to do with us. We’re here because He is great,” Avant said. “And if we humble ourselves and become less, He will become more.
“We must be more astonished by God Himself than by our theology about Him or our ministry for Him.”
“Our mission at Life Action is simply to inspire your next YES to God,” Avant said. “When God speaks, the most important thing in our lives is to hear Him and say yes. If we will do that at Southwestern and across this country, I believe God in His grace and mercy will revive us again.”