Throughout scripture God's presence, passion, purity, and judgement are represented by the symbol of fire. Hebrews 12:29 describes God as "a consuming fire." When we pray for revival we want to pray for these things—the power and purity of God's presence—to move into the dark places and fill the earth with his glory. And how does his fire spread throughout the earth? By His people!
Recently God has given me specific direction in how to pray for revival through an image from nature—the stump of a dead pine tree.
Experts at building fires know the best natural fire starter is "fatwood"—resinous wood found at the base of a pine. As a pine tree dies all of the resin in the roots gets drawn up into the stump. Even as the rest of the tree rots away, this resin-soaked wood at the core of the stump endures.
Fatwood is incredibly flammable—the shavings can be lit with just a spark, even when damp. They produce a flame that resists wind and burns extremely hot—easily setting larger pieces of kindling ablaze. In fact, a single stump of fatwood can start a lifetime of fires!
In other words, fatwood lights quickly, burns hot, sets large pieces of wood ablaze, and isn’t snuffed out by water or wind. It’s powerful stuff!
Why all this detail about resin, kindling, and pine stumps? Let me share the powerful truths about the state of the Church and revival that God has been revealing to me through this image.
Resin-filled fatwood is symbolic of Holy Spirit-filled leaders (or potential leaders) who are:
- presently in “dead” structures that lack spiritual vitality
- in cut off places
- willing to be set ablaze
In our world today, especially in post-Christian areas like Europe, we find many places where the Church can appear dead. But what looks like an old dead tree stump (a dead structure) is actually the holding place of leaders who will be powerful catalyzers of fresh movements of God. These leaders need to be identified for the potential deep within them; they need to be seen and called out! They are the firestarters of revival.
Once found, these leaders must be strategically placed, near people and in locations primed for revival. Picture these “primed” people and places as stacks of dry, large pieces of wood. The spark from just one of these Holy-Spirit-filled leaders, will be able to set these stacks ablaze—effectively igniting powerful movements of God—revival.
Fuel for Our Prayers
What a striking picture of hope for the world! An old tree that used to stand tall, teeming with life, is cut to the ground. It goes unnoticed and looks dead. But God knows the treasure that lies within. We must pray for those treasures to be released and sent out to people and places primed for revival by the Holy Spirit.
This vision can inform our prayers—especially in places where the Church has lost its impact—and kindle hope for revival. Here are five strategic ways to pray:
Pray that these white-hot followers of Jesus may be activated (called, dedicated and set ablaze themselves) in their relationship with God and into the ministry he is calling them into.
Pray that these white-hot followers of Jesus may be dispersed among larger pieces of wood (those people who have great capacity to affect change around them—leaders and potential leaders in their communities).
Ask for initial protection over these "larger pieces of wood," until they begin to burn strongly—specifically, protection from the “water and wind” that would hinder the Holy Spirit’s work in setting them ablaze.
Ask for powerful connections between those larger pieces of wood—that they would come together and spur one another on, building the fire in each other, and making each other hotter and brighter.
Freshly cut wood (greenwood) will not burn because it's too wet. It takes six months to two years for cut wood to dry out. This greenwood needs to be cut, dried, and stacked for the proper time. Let us pray for a continual replenishing of wood for the fire of revival—for new generations of leaders to be raised up in advance, and prepared to be added to the fire, so that God’s work now may be carried on for generations to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christy Marino and her husband, Joshua, work to mentor, coach and mobilize emerging leaders in discovering and living into their unique callings. They live in Brea, CA, along with their two daughters, Joy and Grace.
Join others committed to praying for the fire of revival through gospel movements around the world.