“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV 1900)
In the mid 1700’s, America experienced what we call “The Great Awakening,” a revival. After the colonists came to America, they struggled and relied on God to get them through the early years. However, later they prospered and wealth resulted in a complacency towards God and His church. Hedonism creep in. In an effort to increase church participation, churches softened membership requirements by removing the need for a public testimony of faith. Renewal was needed.
The society prior to the “Great Awakening” does not sound a lot different from ours today. We are affluent. Church participation is dropping. Membership requirements have softened. Moral standards have declined.
Moreover, our nation now is divided more than I have ever seen. We are a house divided. As I stated yesterday, I believe there is only one thing that can bring us back together again. Revival, a “Great Awakening.” But, how does such a thing happen? Where does it start?
In 2 Chronicles, the chronicler gives the Lord’s response to Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the new Temple. Part of Solomon’s prayer was for the Lord to forgive and restore the people of Israel if they departed from God’s ways then returned in confession and repentance. Verse 14 is a key to revival.
The Lord states, “If my people, which are called by my name.” the requirement was for the Lord’s people. They were to humble themselves, to pray, to seek the Lord and to repent from their wickedness. Revival needed to start in and continue through the hearts of God’s own people. It is still this way today.
Many church people who call for revival in America, think it is something that must go on out there, that is outside the church. This is not where revival begins. Revival must begin in the hearts of believers as they follow the prescription found in the verse, “If my people, which are called by my name.”
REVIVAL BEGINS IN THE CHURCH. This is exactly what happened during “The Great Awakening.” While Jonathan Edwards is considered the father of the “Great Awakening, ” the work started much earlier as devoted believers prayed for a movement of God. Edwards, who was not a particularly powerful preacher delivered a sermon called, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” The Spirit of God moved in his congregation as the parishioners began to weep and wail loudly over their sin.
The result was that revival broke out in the church. But it did not stop there. It spread to those outside the church. It swept through New England and the colonies. Society changed for the better. Churches turned back towards God. Moral standards were elevated again. Believer, we need revival to begin in our churches. Pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit to “Revive Us Again.”