Robert E. Coleman writes in The Coming World Revival, “To a remarkable degree, revivals have molded the course of the church in America. Peter G. Mode of the University of Chicago says that ‘more than any other phenomenon, they have supplied the landmarks of our religious history.’ William Warren Sweet has characterized revivals as ‘cascades in the stream of the church, recreating the main course of its waters.’ Were it not for these seasons of refreshing during critical periods when the republic was in jeopardy, it is doubtful that our country could have survived.”
Sadly, no genuine awakening has occurred since the middle of the 20th century. We’ve experienced little fires at one location or another. But no culture-shaking movement of God has occurred since the late 1800s to early 1900s.
The outcomes have been horrific:
• If international terrorism is not enough to contend with, the level of rage and disillusionment among segments of the population is precipitating a homegrown variety that we cannot fix with our national intelligence network or our military.
• The American home is so fractured and there is so much confusion that the Supremes must determine how this culture redefines human relationships and when they are finished it won’t look anything like what God has said.
• The abortion industry has killed so many children and the moral conscience is so seared that gross negligence by an abortion provider barely makes news headlines.
• The acceleration of taxation, the burden of new bureaucratic regulations (68 new ones per day), inflation, loss of jobs, and the contraction of incomes for working people have facilitated an economic crisis that exceeds the government’s capacity to repair without rioting in the streets and other severe consequences.
The above tragedies and others like them are symptomatic of a culture that has denied the reality of God and chosen its own way. It is the result of abandoning bedrock, biblical principles of justice and governance. And the big question is: Will the nation survive?
So what can one person do? What can a small group of people do? The one thing we must always do is – pray!
It is time for sackcloth. We must start by humbly repenting of our own sin and calling out to our Holy God. Only God can bring about a revival movement that sweeps our churches and reframes the cultural conversation in terms of reformation.
It is reported that at the funeral of General William Booth, an iconic Christian figure and founder of the Salvation Army, something interesting took place. As the people were leaving the building, a lone man was seen kneeling at the altar. As a reporter drew near to the man, he heard him pray, “O Lord, do it again! Lord, do it again!”
Could that be our heart? As we prepare for the National Day of Prayer May 2, this is a golden moment for God’s people to call on the Lord and express our neediness. How needy are we? The latest news reports read like they are a “foreword” to a book about the end of the age and the return of the Lord. If there was ever a time in the history of this nation for God’s people to pray, it is now.
The vile choices our culture has made with the good gifts God has given us – like economic resources and human sexuality – would warrant His holy hand of judgment. There is no reason, not one, that God should not judge our nation for shedding the blood of 54 million innocent children. For us to think He shouldn’t is fantasy thinking. We deserve the worst, but let us join in concert with others to plead for God’s mercy.
There is hope provided we believe and act on the words of God, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chr. 7:14).
God will hear His people. However, we may not see the answer to our praying in our lifetime. Daniel prayed and God answered, but the fulfillment of the vision was not until generations had passed.
God is calling His people to prayer. Trust Him in spite of the circumstances. His answers to our praying are perfectly on time. Remember: “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16b).
Unless your local church has already announced a specific time to pray on May 2, ask your pastor what he has in mind, or use your Internet search engine and find a gathering of people to join in prayer specifically for our nation, our communities and our families.