By Dan Jones
Lately, it seems that I am drawn more and more to the need for awakening, repentance, and revival in this nation. It seems we have strayed far, far away from our Christian roots.
At times, it even seems to may be too late.
As it turns out, this is not the first time in the history of this nation that it seemed all was lost.
Many of the concepts of the Great Awakening of the 1730’s and 1740’s are credited with spurring the American Revolution that founded this country—including the concepts that people should be free to govern themselves, enjoy freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.
The ideas that, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” came out of what is now called “The First Great Awakening.”
Shockingly, immediately following the American Revolution, (1776-1781) the new nation slipped into a period of intense immorality.
According to Dr. J Edwin Orr, a leading scholar of revivals, there were 300,000 confirmed drunkards in a nation of five million at the time. Alcohol-related deaths were 15,000 per year. Vile profanity was common, women were afraid to go out at night for the first time in the history of America, and bank robberies were a daily occurrence.
Churches everywhere lost membership in droves. Some denominations considered combining for lack of members. One prominent clergyman, a Protestant Episcopal Bishop for New York, quit his job and took other work because he had not confirmed anyone in years.
The Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall, wrote to the Bishop of Virginia, James Madison, that the Church “was too far gone ever to be redeemed.” A number of famous and respected people, including Thomas Paine, predicted that Christianity would be forgotten in thirty years.
The colleges were the worst. (Is this beginning to sound familiar?) A poll taken at Harvard found not one believer in the whole student body. At Princeton, which was a much more evangelical place, a similar poll found two believers. There were student riots. A mockery of the Lord’s Supper took place at Williams College and at Dartmouth there were anti-Christian plays. Students took a Bible out of a church in New Jersey and burned it in a public bonfire.
The few Christian students at the time met in secret and kept their minutes in secret code.
It seemed things were, in some ways, actually worse than they are today.
Years before, over in Scotland, a minister named John Erskine published a small book urging the people of Scotland and elsewhere to unite in prayer for revival.
The notable Jonathon Edwards was sent a copy of this book, and he was so moved that he wrote a lengthy reply, which was republished at the time of this great decline in America under the title, “A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of all God's People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom on Earth, pursuant to Scripture Promises and Prophecies.” (Long titles were common at the time.)
This call to unified prayer spread throughout Great Britain, then the United States. Eventually, every denomination in the United States participated and both countries were interlaced with a network of prayer meetings.
It was not long before revival came.
That revival became known as the Second Great Awakening and out of it came the modern missionary movement, Sunday Schools, Bible Societies, public education, and the Abolitionist movement which put an end to slavery.
Many more examples of revival fueled by prayer can be found at this website: http://www.peacekey.com/1-1-a/OSAS/Revival_Prayer_1.HTM
From this example and many more, Orr makes one simple conclusion:
There is no revival where there is no prayer.
English preacher Sidlow Baxter, when he was eighty five years of age, said, “I have pastored only three churches in my more than sixty years of ministry. We had revival in every one. And not one of them came as a result of my preaching. They came as a result of the membership entering into a covenant to pray until revival came. And it did come, every time.”
Oh, one more thing… Kinship Christian Radio also credits its existence to group prayer. Executive Director Matt Dorfner said, “ I really feel one of the primary strengths of Kinship Christian Radio is the ongoing prayerline saints and listeners who lift up the ministry asking the Lord for the presence of the Holy Spirit and the prominence of His Word.”
The Kinship Prayer Line’s number is 800-450-PRAY (7729) or 507-526-3239.
You can also submit prayer requests through Prayer Works which is here: http://www.onlineprayerworks.com/kjly
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Psalm 145:18 NIV)