The complaints against God’s activity on the earth remain the same, from generation to generation. Here are several denunciations that are being voiced against the dozens and dozens of campuses and communities who (after the order of Asbury) are being stirred to do (Psalm 27:8) and “seek the Face of God” :
TOP 10 DENUNCIATIONS of the CURRENT “ASBURY AWAKENINGS”
1. The students and others in these assemblies spend too much time just singing songs.
2. Those who come to these gatherings are just bandwagon Christians being stirred to emotionalism.
3. You don’t have to go to their gatherings to get God.
4. The gatherings themselves aren’t built on repentance.
5. The superstar preachers are wanting to co-opt the gatherings.
6. Some sinners in these gatherings are attempting to justify their sin.
7. None of the communities who are gathering are bringing forth fruit from their repentance.
8. If what’s happening in them is of God, these students need go out and feed the poor or heal the sick.
9. The Lord has called us to wait (with prayerless, critical spirits) and inspect the outcomes.
10. The Bible tells us there is no revival at the end of the age.
If we are willing to expend the energy to scrutinize others’ experiences with the Lord, every jot and tittle of scripture bids us to apply the same scrutiny to our own souls. The failure to do so is extremely consequential: “Woe! Judgment is coming to you, self-righteous experts, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven in front of people; for you do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are in the process of entering to do so.” (Matthew 23:13) [AMP]
Below are 10 probing questions for those who are harboring such accusations against the “Asbury gatherings”:
10 QUESTIONS FOR THOSE VOICING CYNICISM RE THE AWAKENING MEETINGS
A. How are you praying in love for these students, their generation, and their communities?
B. How are you reaching out to these “errant” groups? Are we merely called to be detached skeptics and critics?
C. To which of these students who are having authentic encounters with the Lord are you prepared to say, “This isn’t real. You’re falling for a delusion.”??? Seriously. What is your criteria for what their testimonies look like at any given point in time?
D. How are you (really) praying for your own communities, families, fellowships?
E. Give us Biblical precedent for denouncing what’s going on (whatever “it” is)?
F. Is the whole Church called to denounce what’s going on on these campuses simply because what’s happening in the lives of thousands of these kids doesn’t fit your pre-packaged definition of “revival”; a term that has no clear definition in the Bible anyway?
G. How does this critical spirit square with the (Matthew 12:20) Spirit of Jesus? “He will not break a bruised reed or extinguish a smoldering wick, until He brings justice to victory.”
(For those who also say revival will not happen at the end of the age…) H. How many people do you want to see be saved in your family? in your workplace? in your region? How many are allowed to be saved before you shift your eschatology? 25%? Half? Every one of them?
I. Are you prepared to say with precision and certitude that there can positively be no “revival” (again, whatever your definition of revival is) in any community anywhere in the world because of 2 Thessalonians 2 v.3?
J. Can you show us where the Lord instituted a moratorium on Luke 10:2? “Then Jesus said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
For many critics, the questions about the Asbury awakenings may betray deeper personal and theological objections to God’s activity on the earth. As in every generation, these attitudes can keep us from much needed, life-giving encounters with the God of Abraham, Moses, the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles…
TOP 10 EXCUSES THAT KEEP US FROM RESPONDING to the LORD’S SUMMONS to “SEEK HIS FACE”
1. The Lord is already always with us. We’ve got all of Him that we’re ever going to get.
2. God doesn’t need our prayers to get Him to move in our communities.
3. We just need to know our Bibles more. Everything the Lord wants to say is already written in the Bible.
4. We just need to be out doing more things for God.
5. The lifestyle change that’s attached to “seeking the Face of the Lord” is too costly and cumbersome.
6. My “seeking His Face” isn’t going to change anything in my world. The darkness in our world is just going to get worse and worse.
7. Talking about “talking to God, and hearing His voice” is really only a bunch of emotionalism and hype.
8. March Madness, vacations, politics, movies, family etc…
9. We have real work in the Church to run.
10. I’ve seen this kind of “revival-ish” enthusiasm before. It’ll die out.
“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance. We mourned to you, and you did not lament.” (Matthew 11:17)
Father, in the hour of Your visitation, don’t let our skepticism, small theology, or status-quo determine the outcome for our souls, our families and our community. Deliver us, deliver our groups, and our communities from the religious spirit of cynicism, pride and exactitude. Give us “eye-salve”. Give us the gold refined in the fire. Give us a hunger that will burn through all our natural resistance. Give us Yourself, Father!
Because the Lord is relentless about the Bride of His Son “learning righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9), REVIVAL is ALWAYS ALSO JUDGMENT from the LORD.
The two grand New Testament examples of this truth are John the Baptist (the greatest revival in history) and Acts 2 (the second greatest revival in history) Both entailed consequences and rewards for receiving what the Lord was establishing in that generation.
Again. Isaiah 26:9 declares that “when the Lord’s judgments are on the earth, the inhabitants learn righteousness” That happened on a massive scale during both John’s ministry, and during the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Examples abound in both cases.
The rewards for both “revivals” were off the charts: in John the Baptist’s case it was what John the apostle described in 1 John 1:1-4. And in Acts 2 it was what Jesus described in John 14-16 re: the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
In terms of rebuke and punishment for opposing the outpouring of revival John speaks of it in Matthew 3:7-12; and Luke describes the death of Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5:1-11 with v.11 concluding: “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.”
A more modern example of this COULD BE (there are more complicating factors than what I can pull together here) the Jesus-people movement of the 70’s. Those who opposed this work of the Holy Spirit largely became ensconced in a new, deepening liberal strain of critical theology that swamped our mainline seminaries. (I was caught up in it in 77 through 79). As the Jesus People movement morphed into signs and wonders in the 80s and John Wimber and others, celebrity Christianity (Swaggert, Baaker etc.) became a mutant strain to God’s authentic expression of His work on the earth. It was rebuked, and we’re still being rebuked for this aberrant expression of God’s Kingdom.
In 2023 the unquestionable, authentic outpouring of God’s Spirit, the hunger for the Lord that characterizes what we’ve seen at Asbury, Lee, and elsewhere, is running smack dab into resistance on several levels:
1. The failed attempt of high profile preachers to co-opt this move of God for their own ministry aggrandizement;
2. The über-phariseaical, hyper-critical response to the tender working of the Lord (no different than Simon’s objection to the woman weeping at Jesus’ feet in Luke 7)
3. This “awakening” is already about to be beclouded by another election cycle. The closer we move to the primaries and election ’24, the more we’ll see the Holy Spirit “troubling” the Body of Christ over the incongruity of idolatry: cheering for “revival” while uncircumspectly championing a man, or men of unrighteousness.
4. A fourth element of resistance is the normal weight of “status quo” Christianity; whereby the people go out to see John, or go out to be fed by Jesus, but will not undergo the (Matthew 20:23) baptism that they are certainly calling us to in this hour.
All four of these attitudes (and more) are, and will continue to experience the “judgment of the Lord” in this season. Again. This is a “good thing / bad thing”.
It bears repeating here: We American Christians need to dispense with our utopian vision of what revival is. It’s certainly NOT when my version of the Bible and morality becomes more popular and powerful. That was the expectation of most of the Jews in Jesus’ day. This mistaken attitude was also what was behind Peter “rebuking Jesus”(egad!) in (Matthew 16) when Jesus said He was about to be tortured and executed…
If this movement of God is to continue, “Asbury” will (and MUST) run into resistance from various elements of the “status quo” Christian/evangelical culture. This is part and parcel of EVERY TRUE REVIVAL EVER. And it’s also one of the reasons why we can say with confidence that REVIVAL is ALWAYS about JUDGMENT.
Regarding His own day, and His own “revival” – THE uber-revival of His own incarnation, life, death and resurrection Jesus warned His disciples in (Luke 17:1 – ff)
“It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
One of the big things Jesus was saying to the followers of His Way was, “individuals, and even brothers are going to challenge you and oppose the work of God in you. Believe that their opposition will not go unnoticed by My Father. Forgive them. A lot!”
One of the chief ways forward into “revival”; to abide in the Presence of the Lord; is to look at your detractors with love; compassion; truth; and relentless grace. This is also us “learning righteousness”. The Lord is also using opposition to our renewed hope in Christ to train us and test us unto the perfect way of the King.
Like I said, the Father is relentless in preparing a righteous Bride for His Son.
21 Days of Prayer and Dialogue to Help Awaken Us to the Glory of Jesus
It’s 3:00am. I’m now awake; standing over the coffee maker, wiping my eyes, regaining my balance, taking inventory of how my pulse, my stomach, my head and other various parts of my body feel. In a few minutes I will be seated before the Word; praying and listening to the Lord in the quiet early morning hours; giving my awakened senses to His Presence; considering what issues, chores and relationships lie before me in this day.
I was asleep. But now I am asleep no longer. And the longer I am attentive to the movements and the Words of my King, the more I am capable of responding to His heart, His attitude, His Words of empowerment, encouragement, and instruction. I am not functioning unto myself, or my own time-table. My heart, soul, mind and strength are subject to the Lord, and He is bringing me into awakened alignment with the Spirit, and the working of His government.
This brief description of my daily sensibility to the Lord is also an appropriate description for the Church in this hour. Much of the church has been asleep. Now, over the past few weeks, we hear beta-state reports of the Body being stirred. In our sleepiness we feel some “Other-generated desire” to leave the dream-world behind, becoming more and more aware of our real surroundings. “What time is it?”
At some point many of us will choose to leave the comfort of our bed, to choose a different posture, to put one foot in front of the other and give ourselves to a new state, called “being awake”.
As we engage in various self-awakening tasks we find ourselves facing the real question: “Do I want to be awake now? Or do I want to go back to the warm, comfort of my bed?” It’s a real choice that we make every day.
Normally, other factors help us determine how we want to respond to this choice. “Is someone else counting on me being awake right now?” “Do I have a job to do, or a boss who expects me to get to work soon?” “Is today a day off?” “How do I want to utilize the minutes, or hours that are my own?” “What is my body capable of doing right now?” “Do I have refreshed energy?” If I’ve been struggling with disease I may ask myself, “Do I have renewed energy to give myself to the tasks at hand?” And if I find that I am drawing on heightened insight, enthusiasm and strength I may even consider that I have been “revived” to give myself to my family, and the work that I have been assigned.
I am now fully awake; alert and sober. Soon I will be nourished, clean and dressed, and ready to fully engage the world that I’ve been called to and created for. Furthermore, I will soon be dialoguing with others, learning, encouraging, challenging, teaming, serving, loving those around me with the fresh strength that has been given to me.
This is the natural process of life. This is also the metaphorical parable of “revival”; yes, a term that isn’t detailed in the Bible per se; but a picture and a concept that can easily be transferred from our daily lives if we have ears to hear, and eyes to see what the Spirit is saying to the Church. And in a season when so many are arguing “terms” and “official definitions” of what is and is not true and authentic “God”, the analogy of a Body that is waking up may be one of the most useful pictures to help us understand where we are personally, and corporately.
We don’t want to be staggering through our day in our slippers and bed-clothes. Neither do we want to be asleep and wasting daylight when the master is calling us to “get to work”. It’s important that we are aware of our condition.
Are we being stirred, or being awakened, or changing our posture, or making ourselves ready, or being refreshed, or renewed, or being revived? Terms associated with the waking body can help us assess the true state of our responsiveness and submission to the Lord.
In Ephesians, chapter five, the apostle Paul gives us details to this daily “awakening” process. Over the next 21 days, you are invited to join us on a journey of self-awareness and Holy Spirit preparation in this crucial hour as we see the Body of Christ in our culture being roused to the daylight glory of the Lord. Every morning you’ll find meditation and dialogue material to help us be attentive and responsive to the Lord in this unique season. The Lord is calling His Church in America to be awake and revived. It’s vital that we know what that entails so we can fully give ourselves to Him and His purposes.
I hope this sounds intriguing and true-to-life. You’re welcome to join us in this dialogue, with comments, insights, scriptures and other helpful resources. We need each other. The Spirit is stirring us to a new day.
MONDAY, MARCH 6 1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. The Church in America (and elsewhere) seems to be on the doorstep of experiencing an “awakening”. As she does, she can learn a lot from the apostle Paul’s exhortation to our first-century sisters and brothers in Christ in the city of Ephesus.
The whole book of Ephesians is a glorious reminder of who we are in Christ. In the first three chapters Paul envisions and prays “the riches of the glory of our inheritance in Christ”; a wealth that is “exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we could ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)
In chapter four he details numerous practical and corporate results that should stem from the Church understanding who they are in Christ.
In chapter five, it seems that Paul’s attention turns to those in the Ephesian church who may be lagging behind in understanding the identity he has been speaking of. Like a good shepherd Paul is diligent to make sure that the grace of God is received not only by the strong and the zealous, but also the weak, the slow, and those who are struggling to apprehend the gospel.
He writes to those who have not seen their identity in Christ clearly: “You are dear children. Imitate God.” These simple lines urge those of us who are waking up to a mature understanding of our identity in Christ to four vital truths:
A. Through our faith in Christ Jesus we have become bonafide daughters and sons of the most high God. The apostle John distinctly maintains the same truth in his open letters to the first-century church: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1) What follows is meant to be attached to, and empowered by the spiritual, reality of our identity, and the nature of our relationship with God the Father: We are beloved sons! We are precious daughters! We are dear to Him! Revival includes a rediscovery and apprehension of this reality. We are neither orphans nor mere drone bees commissioned into an army of servitude. We are tremendously loved, and unique members of the family of God.
B. In his letter to the church at Rome Paul expounds on what accompanies our identity as sons and daughters of God: “14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:14-17) As we awaken to our identity in God, Paul reminds us that the reason we are, and we know who we are is because the Holy Spirit is living and speaking within us. We have a supernatural source of empowerment inside of us to walk out the truth of who we are. It’s as if the Holy Spirit is urging us: “You are a son of the most high God! You have been invested with power and authority to live out this noble identity.” An awakening will fill individuals with a sense of dignified, humbled, faith that God is empowering them with power to heal the sick, win the lost, and prevail over darkness.
C. Thirdly, Paul straight-forward exhorts the believing sons and daughters to “imitate God”; to “do what you see the Father doing” (John 5:19). He is saying, “You have the Holy Spirit within you to understand and do what the Father is doing.” Get to it! “Imitate God!” Every revival will urge and empower individual souls to holy, God-pleasing, God-like living.
D. Lastly, Paul, by implication is saying, “Behold God!” We can’t imitate what we don’t look at and focus on. We will become like that which we behold. As we gaze at Him we will find great power to be transformed people. We will no longer cower in darkness. We will become “light bearers”. “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) This too will mark revival in our day. Individuals will be captivated by powerful revelations of God in ways that empower them to be free from the powers of darkness and become brilliant witnesses of the “true light that enlightens every man.” (John 1:9)
PRAYER: You are beloved children of God! Behold your Father! You can become like Him through the power of the Holy Spirit! Father of glory, awaken us with an intimate understanding of who we are, and how deeply You love us. Stir us with the vision and zeal to live holy, Christ-like lives that are filled with Your Son’s power to conquer darkness. Amen.
TUESDAY, MARCH 7 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 5:2) O, the gift that we has been given to us through Christ Himself. The One Who did not let us remain in our wicked, self-destructive condition; the One Who left eternal glory with the Father in order to become one with us in our wretched, blind, naked, miserable and impoverished state; Who laid down His life as an atoning sacrifice of love from the Father, unto love for the Father; the One Who subjected Himself to being destroyed by the very condition that He came to destroy so that we might forever be free from its destructive power; WHO LOVES HIS ENEMIES LIKE THIS?
And who, in view of such incredible love, doesn’t fall down in wholehearted thankfulness, like the woman in (Luke 7) with weeping and adoration, and surrender all that we are to the One Who has shown us such love? Who, in view of such love, cannot help but be filled with Divine love; endeavoring to manifest the same love from wretched creature to wretched creature, knowing that there is no sinner, no enemy, no addict, no purveyor of evil, no betrayer, no political opponent, no worker of sedition, no heretic, and no combatant who is “off-limits” to this manner of love?
Who, in view of this love, can say about another wretched man or woman, “I am justified in not loving her!” “I am duty-bound to show this one no love!”???
One of the most ubiquitous and authenticating markers of all true revival (and also one of the most “unsung” markers of revival) is deep, overflowing, indefeatable love. Revivals are filled with songs of love, reveling in love, weeping gratitude for love, and magnanimous displays of love. When the love ends, revival ends. And when love is absent, revival never. really. gets. off. the. ground. You might even say, “Love is the sweet smelling aroma of revival.”
This should be foundational theology for every one of us. If we are true recipients of Hislove, we are no longer free to determine who to love and when to love, because we are no longer our own. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) As the apostle Paul says to the church in Galatia: “I have been crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet it is not I who live, but Christ Who lives within me. And the life that I now live, I live by faith in the One Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Christ loves every person we meet today. Because we are not our own, we are not free to show them something other than love. Our covenant with Christ demands that they be loved by us. The love that we have been shown is both the bond and the power of the love we are to share with all others – without one exception. This is the love that Paul bids us to walk in . This is the victory of His Kingdom. And – this is also how we “imitate God”. (Ephesians 5:1)
PRAYER: Father – Thank You for the over-the-top love You have shown me.I will forever say “THANK YOU” for Your love. Give me grace to maintain this perspective, at all times, and with every person. You loved me in my deplorable condition, and You constrain me to love others in their’s. As a recipient of Your love and mercy, I give you my will. Not as I will, but as You will. Father, revive my love with Your love. Perform Your love through me today. In the Name of Jesus, the One Who gave Himself up for me, I say “YES” to walking in love today. Amen.
THURSDAY, MARCH 9 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
In the two or three times that I have been engaged in a thick, “revival” atmosphere, the overwhelming Presence of the Lord’s goodness, His tenderness, His holy power, and His generous generous grace was both pervasive, and persuasive. Thoughts of sinning became odious to the deepest places in my soul. Repugnant even.
The single thought that consumed my mind was, how can I express the depth of my gratitude to Him for what He is doing to me – what He is showing me – what He is offering me? I wanted my heart to be spotless, because I so valued the holy dialogue He was having with Me that I wanted NOTHING to impede the flow of His life-empowering Words. In the light of His tangible Presence, I wanted to be rid of all uncleanness and filthiness – like eliminating the bad static from the most beautiful orchestral melody I’d ever heard.
In revival, our hearts are awakened to the ocean of God’s righteousness; and we quickly loathe the mud puddles of unrighteousness that keeps us from it. THIS is a significant part of what Paul meant when he said, “Do not show contempt for the wealth of the Lord’s kindness, His forbearance, and His patience. Don’t you know? It’s His kindness that leads you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4)
FRIDAY, MARCH 10 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Read this assertion from Paul again. Can you hear the solemnity in his voice? Do you process this declaration with self-justification – or with sober fear and trembling? Honestly: which of us can say that we are innocent of all four of these classifications? In a spirit of revival, both our fear of the Lord, AND our love for the Lord will compel us to the threshing floor of the Lord. There, our raw desire to be wholly yielded to Him will implore the Holy Spirit to thoroughly show us our lustful, unclean, covetous and idolatrous ways. This is what the writer of Hebrews means when, in chapter 12, he bids us to give ourselves to the God Who “is a consuming fire”. (Hebrews 12:29)
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”27Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.29 For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:25-29)
PRAYER: Holy Father. Consume us. We want to burn with You and for You with every aspect of our being.
SATURDAY, MARCH 11 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Revival comes, because God is building a Kingdom for His Son. This Kingdom is built by the Word of His power. (Hebrews 1:3) When revival comes to a fellowship, a community or a culture the Word of His power comes. It heals, saves and delivers on the basis of the victorious reign of Jesus Christ.
This is the gospel invitation of the historical Jesus Christ in a nut-shell. “Jesus of Nazareth is Lord, what are you doing about that fact?”
Where this truth is received, Jesus is enthroned where He belongs in a human’s life – and the Word of His power comes; forgiving, commanding, encouraging, empowering, restoring, breaking strongholds, dismantling lies, establishing hope, uniting hearts and exalting the Father. This is what the Kingdom of God is built upon: Words of power.
When our words have no power, it should trouble us. When we’re not piercing hearts; when demons aren’t being dispatched; when healing isn’t taking place; when restoration and unity isn’t the norm, it should move us to prayer, repentance and the adjustment of our hearts.
Many want prominence but their words have no power. Their words are empty. When revival comes, the ones with empty words are shown for who and what they are; empty deceivers. If they do not bring their impoverished souls to the waters of humility, repentance and baptism, those who have merely sought the praise of man will be recipients of the wrath of God.
Again. When revival comes, so does judgment. Some are judged and are rewarded with ten, and one-hundred-fold increase. Others are judged by the same Word and receive the rebuke of God.
14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled.15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”16 Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven.17 But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls.18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub.19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.20 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace.22 But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.23 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters. (Luke 11:14-23)
The wisdom of the hour of revival is to recognize when and where the Lord is building His Kingdom with power and to align our hearts to His Words. In order to have this discernment in the moment we need it, we are wise to cultivate praying, listening, intimate, Word-attentive hearts ahead of time. Many who do not cultivate this spirit will be easy pickings for empty worded deceivers in the hour of revival and judgment.
If our persevering, steadfast love for Jesus doesn’t compel us to cultivate spirit-discerning hearts, let the wrath and the fear of the Lord drive us to this wisdom.
MONDAY, MARCH 13 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.
TUESDAY, MARCH 14 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, The truth is everyone of us have walked in darkness, lived in darkness, were filled with darkness and were children and subjects of darkness. This is the natural state of the human soul. 100% of us have been afflicted with this condition.
It’s not theoretical, or philosophical. It’s tangible, and provable.
100% of us; all 8 billion people on the planet are under the curse of darkness. We lie, distrust, covet, are marked with shame, have malicious and fearful thoughts, are selfish, and crave autonomy. This is the provable pattern of darkness. It touches every soul, in every generation, in every location on the earth. (This is also one of the most extensive, bonafide proofs of the Biblical world-view.) Darkness has been the Lord over each and everyone of our lives.
Apart from someone breaking this curse off of our lives, the darkness will consume us. It will destroy us now, in this life, and it will torment us forever and completely in the next.
The good news is, darkness has a Conqueror. He actually became the curse itself, and exploded its power from the inside out, so that everyone who surrenders their soul to the new Lord may go free.
But we need to learn to be free. The pattern of darkness is endemic, prolific and persistent; like gravity – in this age it’s always “in play”.
Why should we continue to live in darkness and be destroyed?
By the power of the new covenant, the covenant He established by His own death and resurrection, Jesus severs our ties with darkness. Lying, coveting, shame, malice, fear, selfishness, pride and autonomy are no longer to be our masters. We CAN live free of their destructive influences – by submitting to our new Master. We have a new Lord; One Who is filled with light: truth, satisfaction, confidence, blessing, joy, love, humility, and intimate fellowship.
When revival comes, the power of darkness trembles. Light invades communities, fellowships, families and every crevice of the soul. THE pervading quality of “revival”, small or big, is the human soul being liberated from darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9) The atmosphere of “revival” fills human hearts with both the hunger and the power to live and walk in His light.
Father. We want Your light, and the reign of Your Son in our lives. Send us revival and break us free from the power of darkness, in the Name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
FRIDAY, MARCH 17 9for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth,
Revival is about an increase of the manifest glory and reign of Jesus Christ within a geographical region, culture, or people group. We call wherever Jesus reigns “the Kingdom of God”.
When Jesus was on the earth, wherever He went He brought His reign, and the Kingdom of God. “Behold! The Kingdom of God is in your midst!” (Luke 17:21)
As revival comes to a region, so does the open witness to the Kingdom of God. Within that region the Holy Spirit draws the hearts of the people to three qualities: 1. The goodness of God 2. The righteousness of God 3. The truth of God
THE GOODNESS OF GOD: In everything that God does, He is good. Whether we see it on the front end or the back end, or in the middle, the testimony of the redeemed is that our God is abundantly good; His heart runs over with goodness; and He lavishes us with His goodness; in mercy, grace, hope, redemption, wisdom, glory, love, power, destiny, sonship, and a thousand other features – He is supremely good. The invitation that is cast into the atmosphere of revival is the invitation of Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see, that the Lord is GOOD!”
“With respect to Jesus from Nazareth, that God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went around DOING GOOD and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God (Who IS GOOD) was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)
THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD I’ve said it many many times before. The RIGHTEOUSNESS of God is a Kingdom term. The greek word, DIKAIOSUNE, literally means “THE RIGHT ORDER OF THE KING”. When we speak of righteousness we always speak of how Jesus operates, how He thinks, and what His attitude is toward any given circumstance.
When revival comes to a community, the people within that community begin to increasingly ask: “What is the King’s will for…?” …my neighbor? …my family? …my heart attitude toward sin? …illness and affliction? …areas of compromise and darkness? …our enemies? …our schools? …our churches? …unity? When we begin to appropriate the King’s attitude toward specific facets of life, it is said that we are operating in “righteousness”. We are literally manifesting the King’s heart on the earth – through the way we live our daily lives.
“Suppose a man is righteous. He practices what is just and right.” (Ezekiel 18:5)
THE TRUTH OF GOD One of the chief qualities of revival is a prevailing HUNGER for the TRUTH OF GOD within a people-group. All of a sudden individuals who had no zeal for God and no will to pursue God are filled with a craving, “can’t make it stop”, consuming passion to experience the truth about WHO GOD IS, in His holiness, His power, His compassion, His mercy, His glory, His wisdom etc. People are filled with a rabid desire to understand the Word of God; to pray to God; and worship God – all in truth, reality and authenticity. At the same time there is a corresponding distaste for things that are offensive to God, false, plastic, and shallow. The Holy Spirit of truth stimulates souls to become seekers of bonafide truth.
“When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” (John 15:26)
Father of glory. In this hour, fill me, fill my community with an intensifying hunger for Your GOODNESS, Your RIGHTEOUSNESS, and Your TRUTH – all found in the revelation of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
TUESDAY, MARCH 21 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
In revival, the Holy Spirit pours out a hunger upon the people to find out what is acceptable and pleasing to the Lord. We become filled with an appetite for holiness that’s constrained by a desire to love God. This is the very dynamic that Jesus talked about in John when He observed: “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth… At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:15-17; 20-21)
We can neither want God, nor His Kingdom without the Holy Spirit working hunger for God into our soul. It is the Holy Spirit Who massages cold, dark hearts with hunger for God, love for God, and the revelation of God. He is the One Who shows us the trueway. And once we taste it, our heart is awakened to want more of it.
Formerly, we were only filled with a desire to please ourselves. Now, under the warm work of the Holy Spirit, we find a new desire stirring in our hearts: an embryonic craving to please God. And so we find ourselves attracted to the God/Man, Jesus Christ. We feed on the Scriptures. We are drawn into fellowships and relationships where Jesus is being manifest. We pray like new born chicks who expect good things to come from their mother and father.
This is the palpable atmosphere of “revival”, in an individual soul, in local fellowships, and in a region. This is why it is so important for us to pray for a move of the Holy Spirit. He is the One Who breaks up the blind, destructive lusts of the self, in order to release an appetite for Godliness. Wherever we see this emerging on the earth we can rejoice: The Lord is doing His work among a people!
Father of glory, stir up a hunger in my soul for what is pleasing to You.
Beloved, we can always have more of this.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
In the hour that men and women are being pierced by the Word of God and clamoring for Christ to forgive their sins; when signs and wonders are manifest within communities; when the Holy Spirit is being poured out upon all flesh; when love and tender, compassionate, generous fellowship with one another is the hallmark of the church; when the gathering of the saints is filled with an awe at the Presence of the Lord; the holiness of the Lord will also engender keen sensitivity toward unfruitful works of darkness. This “revival atmosphere” will even provoke judgment and severe punishment upon a company of believers. (The disturbing story of Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5 is an example of this reality.)
Wherever we experience authentic revival, we are engaging in nothing less than the increased reign, power and glory of the Present, incarnational leadership of Jesus Christ on the earth. And while His reign is filled with extravagant grace, it is not open to manipulation, or open to a democratic compromise of values. When revival comes; the Lord comes. His life-giving reign is sovereign. It is unbowed to the reign of darkness that has formerly marked a culture. It will not make peace with sin. It brings sinners to terms of peace through their surrender to a new master, and a new King.
The Presence of the Holy Spirit will convict sin and unrighteous in individual hearts – AND He will graciously open doors whereby individuals may be liberated from destructive and unfruitful works of darkness. Communities who are experiencing revival must know and trust that both of these works are standard when the Holy Spirit is stirring in their midst.
“But when the Helper has come He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment of sin…” (John 16:8-9)
This is a real promise we, who have been commissioned to preach the gospel in all the world, should learn to trust, and respect. Wherever we find the proclamation of the gospel, we should expect to also find the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. And wherever we find the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, we should believe the power of His grace to liberate hearts from unfruitful works of darkness will also be present. This is a vital part of faith working itself out in love (Galatians 5:6).
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God isfaithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)
“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)
FRIDAY, MARCH 24 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.
Psalm 132 is a prayer for revival. It’s the Old Testament version of the prayer that Jesus prayed in John 17. In this Psalm we get an intercessory road map to the vision, the zeal and the tangible expression of revival. The first part of the Psalm takes up the intercessor’s passion for the manifest Presence of the Lord. The second half of the Psalm identifies 12 markers for what happens when the Lord’s manifest Presence actually touches a geographical location on the earth: 12 practical signs that the Mighty One of Jacob is dwelling among a people-group.
In v. 18 of Psalm 132 we are told that one of the signs of revival is when the enemies of the anointed righteous ones are clothed with shame. “His enemies I will clothe with shame.”
This is the same dynamic that Paul is referencing here in v.12 of Ephesians 5. He’s saying that from heaven’s perspective; from the vantage point of eternity and righteousness, the hidden deeds of darkness are “shameful”. Lust, giving ourselves to addiction, plots of anger, thievery, infidelity, collusion to corruption, occult activity etc. are all deeds that are generally “done in secret” (In 1 Thessalonians 5 Paul notes that these are deeds that are done in the night: “For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:7)
In other words, Paul is saying, there are certain activities which are largely relegated to the night and secrecy, and not to the day and the open air – and they should tell you something about the culture that you’re living in.
In a society that values the things of God and the order of the righteous King, the list of behaviors above will be understood as shameful deeds, and where they exist at all, will only fester and grow in in the cover of secrecy. In a society that has little value for the things of God and righteousness, malice, sexual deviation, blatant violation of human dignity, the occult, plotting death, and subjugation to intoxicating influences will be more than tolerated; they will be openly displayed, advocated, and prized by a people-group.
What kind of society do we live in? Where do the values of darkness appear in our culture? Are they shameful, or are they valued?
Among a people who are learning to live in the light of His glorious Presence, activities of darkness should and will be increasingly regarded as “shameful” and abhorrent. They will be seen as something to be “delivered from”, and not at all things to be cherished as we approach the full light of the “day of the Lord”.
TUESDAY, MARCH 28 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
What needs to be exposed in our world? What cries out to be seen for what it is? Abortion? Poverty? Gun rights? Homelessness? Border security? Deep state? Hypocrisy? Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric? The evils of wealth? Racism? A socialist agenda?
The apostle Paul has “one thing” in mind when he pens this observation. It’s in the Light of light that we see all that is light. (Psalm 36:9) It’s in the “Light of life” (John 1:4) that we see “what is true” (Philippians 4:8)
What needs to be exposed by the light is much much much closer to home than we’re comfortable with. In fact, there appears to be nothing comfortable about where the light wants to shine. The light comes, as it does in revival, to shine into the very soul of curse-bound humanity.
So it is no wonder why we keep ourselves from coming to this light…
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen. (John 3:19-21)
This is the way of every human soul on the face of the earth. No one is an honest seeker of truth. No one is born wanting the light of life to illuminate the wicked, selfish ways of their heart.
Jews and Greeks… are all under sin. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit; The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
This is humanity’s ubiquitous response to the Light. To tell ourselves something different is to turn from the way of grace; to make ourselves out to be something that we patently are not. No one wants the raw essence of their soul manifest by the light.
Often, this simple, yet dynamic reality is what so vehemently opposes revival in a region: “men love darkness more than light”. (John 3:19) A. Men love the false security of their sinful ways. Sin has blinded them into a deceptive way of thinking that justifies and argues for their need to live in sin. In many cases sin has become an addiction. It’s seen as necessary for life. B. Men love the furtive ways of a sinful, critical, judgmental heart. They fail to see how their stubborn Pharisaical ways cripple them to the joy and the light of life that Jesus has come to bring them. And so Jesus says to them, as He did to the religious murderers of His day: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13) And, of course, they hate that anyone would tell them that they are hiding their hearts in the darkness, and so they curse the light. C. Men love the comfort of the status quo; never believing in the wonderful promises that can be had in the light. And often they curse the light because it seems too brilliant, too extreme, and too pervasive; fanatical.
We stay in the darkness for many reasons. And yet, by the grace of God; the relentless love and patience of God; the light does come…
14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
As a matter of preface, let me first say, I have no desire to denigrate here. I am reading several misleading articles and memes denying the fact that the Bible asserts that “revival” will happen on the earth prior to the return of Jesus. My purpose in this article is only to clarify from the Word. Not repudiate and demean others…
The Bible does state that just before the day of the Lord there will be a “great falling away” from true faith and trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
It ALSO declares that at the same time, just before the Day of the Lord, there will be a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, like (and perhaps even greater than) the days of the apostles in the book of Acts:
“And it shall come to pass that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Joel 2:28-32)
Just prior to the Lord’s return will be a period when there are both great false movements of apostasy from fidelity to the Jesus of the Bible (as we see in our day), AND it will also be a season when the Bride across the earth will make herself ready (Revelation 19:7) with first commandment love for Jesus (Mark 12:30), intimate reliance upon the Lord (Song of Songs 8:5), and Holy Spirit power (Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 3:21) that will testify of the uniqueness of Jesus’ glory and sweep billions of souls into the family of God. (You don’t become “mature in Christ” and not win souls. A lot of souls.)
Straight from the Bible.
Our God is big enough to do both at the same time.
A good example of this duality is how the Lord moved in our culture during the 70’s. Through the Jesus People Movement, Campus ministries and Charismatic renewal movements millions were brought into covenant with Jesus Christ, AND at the very same time apostasy, heresy and great immorality was being embraced by denominations forming the World Council of Churches and other false movements denying the 17 tenets of the apostle’s creed.
When both the “great falling away” and “the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh” are in full bloom it will be the most intense hour of history humanity has ever seen…
…and THEN He shall come.
Rather than limit ourselves and the arm of the Lord with predictive prescriptions, let’s encourage one another to maximize His glory based on the prodigious nature of His promises.
Regardless of the hour, our Father is the God of (Ephesians 3:20). Always.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20)
____________________ JSB • March 1, 2023
“Of the INCREASE of His government there shall be no end!” (Isaiah 9:8)
“My soul is consumed with longing for Your judgments at all times.” (Psalm 119:20)
Let there be no doubt, beloved. The hunger the Lord is releasing on the earth right now is both a judgment upon HIs household (1 Peter 3:17), and the world (1 Peter 3:18).
When John the Baptist came before the Lord, his first words were alarming words of prophetic judgment. “10 Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:10-12)
The living Lord was making Himself known to a kairos generation (Galatians 4:4) that needed to know that it was a transitional generation. It was a generation that was being invited into nothing less than releasing God’s strategic, redemptive purposes on the earth.
Would that generation ANALYZE and take a “wait and see” attitude? Would it CRITICIZE and condemn a paradigm that didn’t fit the religious conventions of the day? Or would the generation dare to leave their home, like Abraham; come out to the wilderness, like Moses, and be BAPTIZED into hunger for the One Who was coming?
You and I, our families and our churches are in the process of being brought into this judgment of the Lord. Truth-be-told, this judgment is being sent as an invitation to participate in His Isaiah 40:3-5 procession: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:3-5)
This judgment is also being sent for the purposes of our protection; to secure our hearts into the only stable reality that will prevail through the mounting tribulation that’s coming: the God/Man Christ Jesus.
How do we succeed in this judgment? We cry. We cry out for Him, along with all the nations (peoples) of the earth. (Matthew 24:30)
As we learn to cry out for Him, we are actually doing four things: A. We’re producing the Spirit-borne cry of the Bride at the end of the age. (Revelation 22:20) B. We are inoculating ourselves from the parallel cry that the deceived world will soon issue for the deceiver’s man of unrighteousness. C. And we are releasing a witness to a world that we are in league with a God Who rewards the hungry and the thirsty. D. We are giving the Son what the Father says His Son is worthy of on the earth. (Psalm 2:8)
This cry is at the heart of the Lord’s process of changing the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation.
The transition is stark, but it is also strategic and Spirit-empowered. It is the necessary transition from a people who are content to live disconnected from the intimate Presence of their God, filled with formulaic principles, ruled by dogma and bent on condemnation; riddled and compromised by false and inferior forms of power and exhilaration – into a Bride who leans into the tangible Presence of her Bridegroom, living authentic lives of Word-based trust, walking in real authority, exhibiting Spirit-borne joy, and redeeming souls from real darkness, making herself ready for the real-time arrival of her Blessed Hope.
This is where the prayer movement has always been intended to go: to produce a full-fledged cry of desire (Haggai 2:7) in the world-wide Bride. This is true and mature intercession. “Jesus, we long for You to reign on the earth in tangible ways.”
But make no mistake: we won’t automatically cry out any more than the people in John’s day were automatically baptized. It will require a humble, hungry step of faith to break from our detached analysis, and our cool conventional ways, in order to walk to the Jordan, and be baptized into the parade of the returning King.
Will we come? Will we cry out to Him for His glory-filled increase in our lives? THIS is the terms of this current judgment of the Lord.
As in all judgments the reward is vastly greater than the rebuke and the punishment. But reward and the rebuke ARE both real; as real as the Reign that He is bringing to the earth.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30)
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)
I am moved at the realization that John the Baptist’s message did not begin with a call to personal nobility and fulfillment, a call to open our hearts to love each other, or a call to the restoration of a society’s moral greatness. It was a call to repentance in light of the greatness and majesty of the One Who was coming, and the terrible, purifying judgment that accompanied Him.
“One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Luke 3:16-17)
The people of John’s day were living in a transitional generation when everything was about to hinge on what these people thought, believed and said about Who Jesus of Nazareth is. Their eternal destiny rested on these thoughts and convictions… But no more so than ours do in 2023.
John’s call is as relevant to us today, as it was 2000 years ago. We too are living in a transitional generation. Our eternal destiny depends on how we respond to the arrival of this (now resurrected) Jesus of Nazareth.
Who do we really believe He is?
How much of our lives are we willing to lay at His feet in abject worship and allegiance?
Our repentance is our appropriate response to the revelation of how little we have (as of yet) given Him in light of what this holy, powerful and glorious King is so worthy of. ____________________ JSB • February 24, 2023
In light of the current awakening at Asbury University and several other college campuses in our nation, it’s exhilarating to read this reprint article written and posted four years ago: February 14, 2019, and believe that our Lord longs to visit our region with the same. Enjoy, beloved!
The Great American Prayer Awakening of 1857
In 1857, four years before the outbreak of the Civil War, a Great Prayer Awakening swept unexpectedly across America. As if drawn by an invisible force, multitudes daily gathered in churches, halls, fire stations and auditoriums to pour out their hearts to God.
The First Great Awakening breached the racial chasm in Colonial America and unleashed a “moral outrage” against slavery at a time when it was practiced and accepted throughout most of the world. Now, 100 years later, this great prayer awakening would release the spiritual and moral forces necessary to end slavery and preserve a nation through a devastating Civil War.
This prayer awakening began when a businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier, began a noon-hour prayer meeting on Fulton Street in downtown New York City to pray for the conversion of the many new immigrants who were pouring into the city. Although it started slowly, the daily prayer gathering caught fire with hundreds attending from throughout the city and many marvelous conversions to Christ occurring.
From this Fulton Street meeting, a spirit of prayer seemed to be unleashed upon the nation. Prayer meetings began springing up in Philadelphia; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Pittsburgh; Cincinnati; Indianapolis; Chicago as well as many small towns and rural areas. It seemed that God Himself was gathering the people to prepare them for the dark and terrible night that was looming.
Charles G. Finney told of a prayer meeting in Boston in which a man stood and declared that he had just traveled almost 2,000 miles from Omaha, Nebraska, and had found “continuous prayer meetings all along the way.” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 22).
Finney described 1857-58 as a time when “a divine influence seemed to pervade the whole land.” He estimated that at the height of the revival 50,000 per week were being converted—and that without the aid of modern communication and technology. (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26).
Conservative estimates place the total number of conversions at around 1 million, but some have suggested that as many as 2 million may have been converted. The March 1858 issue of a religious journal reported: “The large cities and towns from Maine to California are sharing in this great and glorious work. There is hardly a village or town to be found where “a special divine power” does not appear displayed.” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26).
The prayer meetings were characterized by a solemn sense of God’s presence and much convicting power. Sinners seemed helpless in God’s presence as the arrows of the Almighty pierced their hearts.
In a noon prayer meeting at a church in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan, the sanctuary was crowded with a standing-room-only crowd when a prayer request was read from a wife asking prayer for her unsaved husband. Immediately, a man stood to his feet and with tears exclaimed, “I am that man. My wife is a good Christian woman, and she must have sent that request. Please pray for me.” He sat down, and immediately, a man in another part of the house stood to his feet weeping, and as if he had not heard the first man, declared, “That was my wife who sent that request. She is a good Christian woman and I have treated her badly. Please pray for me!” He sat down and another man stood, also convinced that it was his wife who sent the prayer request and after him a fourth and a fifth with similar confessions.
Four young sailors began a prayer meeting on the battleship, the North Carolina, which was docked in New York Harbor, serving as a receiving ship for the Navy. Crewmen from different ships changed their assignment through this ship. As the four young men prayed night after night, revival suddenly erupted as God’s presence filled the ship, and powerful conviction gripped the hearts and minds of all on board. Night after night, sailors bowed humbly before the Lord and, with tears of repentance, called on His name. Hundreds were converted. Many were afterwards transferred to other ships, and revival fires were kindled wherever they went.
One writer described a “zone of heavenly influence” that pervaded the Eastern seaboard, extending out into the Atlantic and impacting the passengers and crews of approaching ships. He wrote: “Revival began aboard one ship before it reached the coast. People on board began to feel the presence of God and the sense of their own sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicted them, and they began to pray. As the ship neared the harbor, the captain signaled, “Send a minister.” Another small commercial ship arrived in port with the captain, and every member of the crew converted in the last 150 miles. Ship after ship arrived with the same story: both passengers and crew were suddenly convicted of sin and turned to Christ before they reached the American coast.” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 25).
A young D. L. Moody attended daily prayer meetings in Chicago and wrote to his mother, “Oh, how I do enjoy it! It seems as if God were here Himself.” In Washington, D.C., Presidents Pierce (1853-57) and Buchanan (1857-61) attended prayer meetings organized in that city.
In Charleston, South Carolina, John Girardeau, the black pastor of the Anson Street Presbyterian Church, a church established for slaves, began a prayer meeting in 1858. He exhorted his congregation to pray and “wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” The prayer service grew until the auditorium was overflowing with more than two thousand people. As on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit suddenly fell upon those at the Anson Street Church. They began to sob, softly, like the falling of rain; then, with deeper emotion, to weep bitterly, or to rejoice loudly, according to their circumstances. It was midnight before he could dismiss the congregation. The meeting went on night and day for weeks. Large numbers of both black and white were converted and joined churches in the city. (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26-26).
The Prayer Revival had a profound impact on all segments of the society. It was a common sight for businesses to have signs on their doors informing customers that they were closed for the noon prayer meeting. Newspapers carried regular reports of the revival and its progress. The editors of the daily New York Herald carried a regular section called “Revival Extras” by which they informed their readers of the latest news concerning the revival.
One Chicago newspaper carried a report which shows the impact the revival was having on the society at large. It read: “So far as the effects of the present religious movement are concerned, they are apparent to all. They are to be seen in every walk of life, to be felt in every place of society. The merchant, the farmer, the mechanic; all who have been within their influence have been incited to better things; to a more orderly and honest way of life.” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 30).
Although this great prayer revival is often identified with the years 1857-58, it did not suddenly cease after those dates. Those dates merely identify the revival at its height and period of its greatest impact. There is evidence that the effects of the prayer revival continued to influence the nation throughout the years of the Civil War.
For example, with the North suffering one defeat after another and things looking grim for the state of the Union, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution asking the president to proclaim a national day of fasting and prayer. President Lincoln then designated April 30, 1863, as a national day of humiliation, prayer and the confession of national sins, which would include the sin of slavery. The following is a selected portion of his proclamation: We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessing no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. By the President: Abraham Lincoln
Because the Great Prayer Awakening was still fresh in the minds of the people, they responded en masse to Lincoln’s call to prayer. And after this national day of repentance and prayer, there was an almost immediate turn of the war in favor of the North—but not before one last severe test of faith. The following June, a confident General Robert E. Lee led 76,000 Confederate troops north into Union territory, that is, into Pennsylvania. The populace was terrified and there was much panic. Lincoln, however, having been impacted by the prayer revival, found solace in prayer. He said: “When everyone seemed panic-stricken, I went to my room and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed. Soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul that God Almighty had taken the whole business into His own hands.”
The Confederate forces were defeated at Gettysburg on July 3, and that battle proved to be the turning point for the war.
It was from this era and out of this environment of both prayer and war that the Negro spiritual came forth that included the repeated phrase, “Ain’t gonna study war no more.” It captured the deepest feelings of many who longed for peace and God’s blessing on the nation.
Gonna lay down my burdens Down by the riverside Down by the riverside Down by the riverside
Ain’t gonna study war no more Down by the riverside Down by the riverside Down by the riverside
Gonna sit down with Jesus Down by the riverside Down by the riverside Down by the riverside.
Could it be, in 2019, with the nation again in so polarized in hostility the Father yearns to pour out another prayer awakening on our land?
Father, sweep through our region once again. Pour out Your Spirit and awaken Your Bride in prayer. Deliver Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona to Your Son!