August 15, 2016
by Walter Norvell
A young friend whom I love and respect very much recently asked me, “Are we due for an awakening?” The question challenged me. I thought about it in several ways. First, are we “due” anything from God? Obviously God owes us nothing, but He chooses to respond to us out of His grace. Second, are we overdue another great awakening? I think we are. The last great awakening in our country was in the early 1800s. Most church historians now think the Jesus Movement of the early 1970s should have been an awakening but the American churches rejected it.
Then my friend asked if we should pray for an awakening. How do we know that is what God wants? If we pray for it, are we manipulating God or others? These questions are easily to answer. We should and must pray for an awakening. We must pray that God will revive His church and that the church will pray for the lost and unchurched until many awaken to God’s grace.
Are we manipulating God if we pray for awakening? No. Our challenge in prayer is to determine what God wants to do and ask Him to do it. To pray for a revival for the church and awakening for the lost is God’s will. We can confidently take up this task, entreating God to bring all His great riches to bear in reviving the church and saving multitudes. God is doggedly determined to redeem. Praying for revival and awakening is God’s work for us.
Do we need revival in the church and an awakening in our culture, and our world?
Have you watched the news lately? Sixty-five million people are displaced as refuges. Racial tensions abound. Watch groups are pointing out the rise of religious persecution. In our country many strongly-held Christian values are under attack, rather successfully I might add. One in four Americans are concerned about religious freedom in our own country. More Americans than ever consider themselves having no religion at all.
The church has always been at odds with the culture when the church is being God’s church, faithfully obeying Him. Yet, maybe, the church spent many years being cozy with the culture so that few could see a difference between the church and the culture. Now that the culture is rejecting God even more, a stark difference may be surfacing.
Look at Lamentations 3. This poetic book of laments was penned by Jeremiah as Jerusalem fell to Babylon. Judaism had become cultural. Priests were not teaching God’s Word to the people. Their trust was in the externals of their faith, namely the temple and its rituals. But the tools to bring people closer to God had become lifeless stumbling blocks. Now it seemed all was about to be lost.
Read the chapter. Listen for Jeremiah’s hurt and loss. His suffering is bone-deep. His pain is beyond his imagination (v. 1-17). Yet, listen for his hope. His hope is in the Lord no matter what Judah has done. Verse 18 says Jeremiah had come to the end of his endurance and his hope. But in verse 21, Jeremiah remembers, despite his hurt, who his graceful God is (v. 22-33). His hope is rekindled. God’s love is new every morning. God is good to those who wait on Him. He does not cast off His wayward people forever.
So, when we have sinned against the Lord, what are we to do? We are to test and examine our ways and return to the Lord (v. 40-41).
This passage is clearly about Judah in the 6th century BC. But, what are the principles here? Old Testament believers and New Testament believers are alike. When we sin, when we have been unfaithful to God, we are to examine our lives. We confess. We repent. We commit to ourselves anew to obeying God.
So, let us pray for a revival in God’s church. Let us repent of our love for this world. Let us bring justice to the least, the last and the lost. Let us offer faith to our lost friends and neighbors. Let us encourage faithfulness in our Christian brothers and sisters. Let’s humbly seek the Lord. Let us pray without ceasing. Let us pray for our leaders.
What hangs in the balance? I cannot say for sure, but I know that the eternal destiny of millions of human beings hangs in the balance. I know that God answers prayer. I know He wants us to pray for the church and for the lost.
Why do we tarry to pray like this?
You have to answer that question.
Scripture: Read Lamentations 3. What does this passage say to you about praying for revival?
Dig Deeper: Read Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill.
Now It’s Your Turn: What need do you feel about praying for revival and awakening? Please share your ideas so we can all grow together.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”