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“This is revival from Heaven!–When men in the streets are afraid to speak godless words for that God’s judgment will fall! When sinners, aware of the fire of God’s presence, tremble in the streets and cry out for mercy! When, without human advertising, the Holy Spirit sweeps across cities and towns in supernatural power and holds people in the grip of terrifying conviction. When every store becomes a pulpit, every heart an altar, every home a sanctuary, and people walk carefully before God–this is revival.”
~ Wesley Adams, The Fire of God’s Presence, 13.
In a commentary in the October 2014 edition of Decision magazine published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Rev. Billy Graham boldly compared the U.S. to Sodom and Gomorrah, deserving of the judgment of God but able to be saved by hearts made pure by Christ and willing to pray for the nation’s protection.
“Down through our history our nation’s leaders have carried their plans and hopes to God in prayer,” Graham wrote. “Yet today we have come to a place where we regard prayer in our national life simply as a venerated tradition. We have no sense of coming to grips with God; we simply use prayer as a formality. … One of the reasons the United Nations has become so ineffective in handling world situations is that there is no prayer, no recognition of God. Unless the leaders of nations turn to God in prayer, their best plans will fail, just as did the plans of those who built the tower of Babel.”
Graham went on to give numerous examples of the faithful “turning the tide of history” by seeking God in prayer, beginning with Christ Himself, then moving to Abraham, Hezekiah, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Paul and Peter. He went on to list more modern examples of how saints like John Knox, John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards changed the world on their knees.
“In this modern age in which we live, we have learned to harness the power of the atom, but very few of us have learned how to fully develop the power of prayer,” Graham pointed out.
by Alvin Reid
When do you think the following observations were made?
- Ministers today seem more concerned with political power in society than spiritual fervency in the church, while pop culture contributes to the moral decay among the youth.
- While marked by an increasing ethnic diversity and various religious beliefs, the nation’s established religious groups –– particularly Protestants –– demonstrate a sterile spirituality. One pastor bemoans the obsession with gambling and rudeness, while churches are attended at convenience.
- College campuses teem with students chasing after the latest philosophies, the more unbiblical the better. The more educated a person you find, the less likely you are to discover a Christian. Meanwhile, churches are filled with people who listen to pastors preach then contradict the sermon by the way they live.
You may think these descriptions came from the blog of some concerned Christian commenting on our time. But the first one comes from Great Britain just before the preaching of John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and others who were used by God to lead a great revival there. The second comes from the American colonies prior to the First Great Awakening. The final came around 1800, with college campuses in the newly formed United States influenced by Voltaire, Rousseau, and others, at the dawn of the Second Great Awakening.
Ours is not the first generation to recognize the spiritual declension among us, or to see the need for God to awaken his church and touch our land. From the saints of the Old Testament to leaders in our time, prayer for revival has marked believers who understand the need for the Spirit surpasses our ability and intelligence.
“History confirms the truth that wherever evangelical and vital religion flourish, there lives
the earnest gatherings for social prayer.”
~ J. B. Johnston, The Prayer Meeting and Its History
“Revivals begin with God’s own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervor and compassion, and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bones… Oh, what responsibility this lays on the Church of God! If you grieve Him away from yourselves, or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely!”
Author: Randy Hekman Date: Aug. 5, 2014
Some of us were around in the late 1960s when sex, drugs, and rebellion impacted college campuses and so many urban areas.
As the chaos grew, God’s people began to cry out to Him in desperation. The result, in the late 60s and early 70s, was a burst of spiritual revival in America, often called the “Jesus Movement.”
While some of this activity was undoubtedly more emotion than substance, God was still at work, and thousands were genuinely converted to Christ. As part of this movement, many of us college students joyously spent our spring vacations sharing our faith in places like Daytona Beach, Florida, where we saw Jesus touch many lives with His gospel.
But the spiritual awakening of that era was relatively short-lived and, in many ways, limited to personal—“me and Jesus, Jesus and me”—connections to Christ, along with the rise of new flavors of Christian music rather than a more vibrant faith that impacted all of culture.
So while many were becoming followers of Christ, culture continued its secular slide. As evidence of that, in 1969 California became the first state to officially weaken the legal status of marriage by enacting no-fault divorce, signed into law by none other than Governor Ronald Reagan.
More tragically, in 1973 the Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion for all fifty states. And our general culture, evidenced by our motion pictures, television programs, and other forms of entertainment grew even more crass, obsessed as it was with self, sex, and “stuff.”
Sadly, even much of the church of that day bought the lie that we can pursue Jesus alongside the gods of comfort, materialism, and pleasure.
What we forgot was that unless we are daily taking deliberate steps to grow in our faith in and love of God, we will spiritually drift, and our walk with Him will be shallow, impacting very little of the world around us.
Fast forward to today. American culture is even more secularized than it was in the 70s, and the church is now viewed as either irrelevant (at best) or bigoted and hateful (at worst). So what can we do?
Some Christians feel that things are so bad, our only hope is to wait and pray for Christ’s second coming. Let me be clear: I hope He comes today. But let’s face it, He may not return for many years. That date is up to the Father.
But this is no time to despair! Let us never forget Jesus’ challenge to His followers:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV).
Jesus is Lord of ALL! His followers are not to play defense, but offense! Following Him should impact everything we do, 24/7/365.
“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.”
“In every revival there is a re-emphasis of the Church’s missionary character. Men return to Calvary, and the world is seen afresh through the eyes of Christ. The infinite compassion of Christ fills the heart, and the passion evoked by Calvary demands the whole wide world as the fruit of His sacrifice.”
“Revival is a divinely initiated work in which God’s people pray, repent of their sin, and return to a holy, Spirit-filled, obedient love relationship with God.”