March 09, 2023
Why should we pray fervently for the blessing of a nationwide or worldwide spiritual awakening? Why should we unite (as Jonathan Edwards said) in “explicit agreement and visible union among God’s people in extraordinary prayer for a revival of religion and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom on earth?” Why should we seek to cooperate together and not tear apart the beginnings of His awakening in our nation?
Timothy Keller recently wrote an insightful article (three days before Asbury happened) entitled, “American Christianity is Due for a Revival: Our society is secularizing, and Christianity seems to be in long-term decline. But renewal is possible.” In that article, he speaks of the need for increased, united prayer.
All religions promote and call for prayer. But historically, during times of fast growth and renewal, Christian movements have been marked by an extraordinary amount of communal prayer. During the early years of the explosive Christian movement in Korea, all-night prayer meetings were common, and they remain so in many parts of the country to this day. During the 18th-century Great Awakening in America, Jonathan Edwards wrote of the “explicit agreement and visible union of God's people in extraordinary prayer for the revival of religion.” Unions of believers for prayer—both large and small gatherings—have an empowering effect. The renewed growth of the Church in the U.S. will not happen without it.
Why should we increase our praying right now? Why should we pray with others, even momentarily laying aside some of our differences and joining together for a united cry for a nationwide awakening?
The blessing of God is when He descends on something normal and makes it abnormal; natural and makes it supernatural; human and makes it Divine. For instance, when a boy gave five loaves and two fish, God blessed it and miraculously fed 5,000 people.
All of us pray for God's blessing. It's an oft-used phrase expressing our desire for God to take something to a dimension we could not see on our own. Think of the areas we pray for this blessing: "Lord bless our WORK...our FAMILY...our CHILDREN … our CHURCH …our NATION.
IT’S PERSONAL, BUT THERE’S MORE …
Sometimes we pray for the blessings of God simply because we want them for ourselves. We desire the comfort, help, and pleasure they will bring. And the blessing of God provides all of this for us personally. But this is the lowest level of motivation to seek God's blessing. David, in Psalm 67, exhibits the purest and highest level of prayer.
So, why should we seek the blessing of God in any area of our lives? And, in the highest way, why should we pray that God would bless our nation with an unusual outpouring of His presence and power … a spiritual awakening that would sweep across our country, bringing our churches to life again and seeing the acceleration of the gospel?
The Psalmist instructs us in our praying. “Lord, bless us with your favor, presence, and power SO THAT...
YOUR WAY may be known on all the earth.
We should seek the hand and favor of God so that the ways in which He operates will be visible in every corner of the earth. One man said the church’s task is to “give the world a right opinion of God.” The people around us see enough of the ways the world, flesh, and devil operate. They’ve even been turned away by how supposed Christians fight and argue (often about the most menial concerns). There are abundant illustrations of sinful paths and godless rebellion.
But a believer’s life and a church’s witness should show others the activity of the One whose “ways are higher than our ways and thoughts are higher than our thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Like the stunned crowd on the hillside, which had been miraculously fed from God’s hand through a small boy’s offering, God’s manifest presence in times of spiritual awakening and the stunning results it produces bring into full view the reality that there is a better way than what mere man can produce.
YOUR SALVATION may extend among all nations.
When God showers visible blessing on His people, it is a witness unto the greatness of our God, which leads others to salvation. This may be in the form of provision for a need or grace amid suffering. But each blessing witnesses to others of a supernatural God.
“If I be lifted up,” Jesus said, “I will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32). This speaks not only of the manner of His death but the process that would one day bring people from every tongue and tribe and nation into His kingdom. When they see God working, it draws them to salvation. The reports of what God has done at Asbury have sped across the world at warp speed, and the result has been more people coming to Christ, many on college campuses and among the next generation. What could be more important?
Being saved from sin, death, and hell is the most important thing that can ever happen to any human. We should increase our prayers to this end and cry out for this salvation of people and nations so that…
YOUR PRAISE will come from all people.
God deserves honor and glory and praise. As men see His blessings and ways and are brought to salvation, more and more people will praise Him for His incredible goodness. They will worship and serve the Creator, who is blessed forever, and not the creature. (see the opposite that we are experiencing in Romans 1:25)
Seasons of intense revival and awakening across a region or nation bring God front and center. In His mercy, He makes Himself known. People see His ways and His nature. The result is the rapid expansion of the gospel and the growth of God’s kingdom. We “see His salvation among the nations,” which leads us to give God the praise He deserves.
John Piper said that “Missions exist because praise doesn’t.” The reason we must pray and ask God to make Himself known and aggressively cooperate with Him in explicit agreement, visible union, and extraordinary prayer is so that more people will bow before Him and give Him the glory He deserves.
Pray for a mighty spiritual awakening and harvest for His sake.
 “American Christianity is Due for Revival, Timothy Keller, The Atlantic, February 5, 2023
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