It has been 150 years since America experienced what has been called the Third Great Awakening. During a period of two years (1857–59), anywhere from 500,000 to 1,000,000 individuals were added to the church, and at one point 50,000 people were coming to Christ every week! This work of God could be considered one of those rare moments in history when God woke up an almost spiritually comatose nation in order to do a “new thing.”
America is in desperate need of a Christ awakening. Americans are now living in the third largest mission field in the world. Current statistics indicate that less than twenty percent of Americans attend church on any given Sunday.
Historically when a community or nation has experienced awakening and revival, it has always been preceded by intense periods of prayer. In the past century, hundreds of thousands have prayed for another work of God to occur that would impact our nation–but no one alive today has seen this kind of movement in America.
This kind of powerful movement is the work of a Sovereign God, but Scripture indicates He listens and responds when His people cry out in humility and repentance before Him. Let’s look at a few prayers that caught God’s attention.
• Moses intercedes for the nation Israel (Numbers 14:5-21)
• Solomon cries out for help from God (1 Kings 8:22-61; 2 Chronicles 6:12-7:3)
• Daniel fasts and prays for God to bring restoration (Daniel 9:1-19)
Each of these prayers (as well as others recorded in Scripture) has some key elements we should note and apply to our own prayer lives as well.
• Confession of corporate sin
• Humility before God and dependence on His power
• Request made on the basis of God’s character (faithfulness, covenant-keeping, compassionate)
• Desire for God’s reputation and name to be vindicated–God’s glory to be seen!
But also note who offered these prayers?
• Men who were walking in obedience to God
They were not perfect, but they were striving to be right with God and live honorably in their relationship with others. As Nancy pointed out in her blog post last week,
If we are praying for revival, while failing to deal with those things in our hearts, lives, and relationships that are standing between us and the Lord, then we are wasting our breath.
“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:16b-18).
Imagine hundreds of thousands of “True Women” standing in the gap in prayer for our nation to experience awakening and revival to sweep through the church. Imagine God’s response. Imagine and allow your hearts to capture the vision and faith for the powerful work God desires to do in His church and in our nation!
Will you join me?