REVIVAL: Historic Reality, Present Possibility

The great revivals of the past shook our nation, tens of thousands came to Christ as Savior, Christians were revitalized in their faith, churches grew and the moral and spiritual foundations of society were dramatically altered.  The Great Awakening of 1735 laid the Biblical foundation of our nation through the preaching of Jonathan Edwards,William Tennent, George Whitefield and others.  During the revivals from 1799 to 1803, it is estimated that the Methodists gained 2,000 members per year and the Baptists netted 10,000 members, at a time when the population of our beloved nations was a fraction of what it is today.  The revivals that took place in upstate New York under the leadership of Charles Finney in the early 1830's witnessed, at one point, 100,000 converts in less than a year!  Does this sound like something America is in desperate need of?  Of course it is.  There isn't one moral, spiritual, ethical, political or social evil that wouldn't be profoundly corrected through a real Holy Ghost inspired, Christ glorifying, God-given REVIVAL!

Only a fool would deny that the United States of America is in deep trouble from any horizon you view her.  Yet we live in a period of time in church history, characterized by the Laodicean church of Revelation chapter 3 that declared, in the midst of her spiritual poverty, "I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing."  The words of Dean David Howell, a passionate Welsh minister of God's word in 1902, only two years before the great Welsh revival, seem haunting to those of us living in America in 2013:  "The Sunday school is only holding its own.  Congregations in many places are lessening.  Keeping the Sabbath (a reference to Sunday church attendance) has become a matter of debate, and the prayer meeting is nearly extinct........The authority of the Bible and the foundational thoughts of Christianity are being judged in the court of reason and criticism...... Unshakable faith in the unseen, the miraculous and the supernatural is questioned openly.  Temperance is not as prosperous as it used to be, with the curse of drinking rearing its head in town and countryside.....  The desire for pleasure has totally captivated the age...."  Had enough?  Sounds rather familiar, yet we know that with the advent of the sexual revolution, feminism, liberalism, humanism, socialism, militant homosexuality, pornography, easy divorce, drugs, and on an on we could go, the present day situation in America would make brother Howell think he was living in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ!

How about some HOPE, as we contemplate the possibility of God doing again what He's done before.  All the revivals in the history of America, or any other nation for that matter, had one thing in common.  They all began with what the late revival historian J. Edwin Orr called "a concert of PRAYER."  Besides prayer, another characteristic of real revival is genuine REPENTANCE and a CONFESSION of personal guilt before a holy God.  REVIVAL CAN COME TO AMERICA, but it will only start when we reject the "me" centered brand of Laodicean Christianity that can't bare the "pain" of real personal repentance and serious intercession for others in prayer.  Becoming a people of prayer will cause us to realize that the call of God is to server rather than be served, to give rather than to get, to lay down our lives rather than to save them; then, and only then will God be moved to HEAL OUR SICK NATION.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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 Chronicles 7:14