I am praying for revival and awakening in America. I am not alone. In Louisiana, many of the churches–Baptist and many others–are seeking God by prayer and fasting. We are asking God for what only He can do to change our society.
Churches often try to program change, but real change cannot be programmed. Rather, it comes by the movement of God in the lives of the people. Isn’t it instructive that the resurrected Christ told the early church to “wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5)? Our tendency is to do something “even if it’s wrong.” Jesus told the church to wait.
While today is not the same and the Spirit has already been bestowed on the church, we desperately need God to work in our lives. The great awakenings in America–many scholars count four of them–brought about many conversions, changed churches, and a changed society.
The Great Awakening of 1734 and following saw an emphasis on a personal relationship with God and new birth as well as a reformation of society. Great reforms followed–not preceded–the awakenings.
What, then, is an awakening? Jim Denison defines it this way: “A ‘revival’ changes a person or church; an ‘awakening’ changes a nation. America has seen four ‘great awakenings’ in our history–in 1734, 1792, 1858, and 1904-05. Each marked our country for a generation.” Jim Denison, www.denisonforum.org.
I want to see a movement of God that marks a generation. Denison notes that more people are coming to Christ than ever before. Worldwide, it’s 82,000 per day! I praise God for that outpouring of His Spirit, but I lament that the number in North America and Western Europe is only 6,000 per day.
This is my definition: A spiritual awakening is a wide-spread demonstration of the Spirit of God working in preachers, churches, and the lost. It results in many people becoming new in Christ and ushers in dramatic social and personal change.
I am praying for this to happen in my church and my state and then to move to the nation to change a people who live in darkness and sadness. Would you join me in this endeavor? I grew up singing these words of a great revival hymn, “Lord send a revival and let it begin in me.” May God begin with you and me to do His great work of redemption.
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