Bob Bakke is an authority on revival and spiritual awakening. In a symposium in which Jim Wells, MBC team leader, Strategic Partnerships, and I participated, Bakke spoke in detail about the movement in Scotland that spilled to America and exploded in Cane Ridge, Ky. The Cane Ridge Revival united whites and blacks, rich and poor, rural and urban for weeks. Known as the Second Great Awakening, the Holy Spirit had people praying and crying out to God. And God moved in their midst.
Moving ahead from 1801 to 1970, the Asbury (Ky.) Revival began at a routine 50-minute chapel service at Asbury College and erupted into a time of repentance. Two students went to the west coast and shared their experience among California’s hippies. Known as the Jesus Movement, the Holy Spirit had people praying and crying out to God. And God moved in their midst.
Did you notice that two great spiritual movements of God in America happened in small towns rather than in cities? I was raised in Kentucky (Winchester) between Asbury (Danville) and Cane Ridge (Paris). And I was a “Jesus freak.” The idea that God could use His people in a fly-over place like central Kentucky leads me to wonder why God couldn’t begin a new awakening in a great state like Missouri? In your community?
What would it take? Is your church on its knees before the Lord?
During the Heartland Prayer Summit last fall in Ferguson, Bill Elliff, co-leader and pastor, Summit Church, North Little Rock, Ark., said, “Older adults will not likely spark a spiritual awakening, but they can squelch one.”
Elliff also co-authored with Byron Paulus the book, OneCry: A Nationwide Calling for Spiritual Awakening. They wrote a thunderous “Declaration of Spiritual Emergency.” Here is the text. Read each word slowly and out loud to really get it.
“With heavy hearts, we recognize that the church in America is in a state of spiritual emergency. Like the churches warned in Revelation, we have become lukewarm and compromised, and the light of our witness has grown dim.
“We confess that despite access to more resources and biblical teaching than any other group of believers in history, we are not characterized by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. And we acknowledge our lack of widespread impact for Christ on our lost and disintegrating culture.
“But God is waking us from our slumber and mobilizing us to pray earnestly for revival. Together, we desire to travel the narrow road of brokenness, humility, and repentance.
“In desperation for God, we cry out for the extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit in our day. We believe that true revival is the only hope to reverse our spiritual recession and enable us once again to display the beauty of Jesus Christ and His gospel throughout the world.
“Because we believe that only Christ can save, heal, and revive, we pledge to:
TURN – in humble repentance from every sin God reveals to us
PRAY – with urgency for spiritual recovery and awakening
UNITE – with other believers in spreading the hope of Christ-centered revival
Lord, send revival, and let it begin in me!”
(Copies of this declaration are available online at www.onecry.com.)
God wants to move in our time. I’m deeply impressed that our posture before God to send revival is not a selfish pout, but a humble plea. It won’t come through a prayer that shouts and demands action from God. Instead, I believe that revival – even a great awakening – will only come through a cry of the heart.
Gather with others in your association and begin to pray. If Jim Wells (firstname.lastname@example.org) or I can help, just let us know.
See you at FURNACE, the State Evangelism/Discipleship Conference on Feb. 5-6 at Ridgecrest, Springfield. We’ve got some praying to do.
Mark Snowden serves Missouri Baptists as Evangelism/Discipleship Strategist and can be contacted by phone at (573) 556-0318 or by email at email@example.com.