12.) Let's Pray for Revival
By Rev. Oliver W. Price
Winston Churchill said that England needed "a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor." America needs that today. Yet many Christians as well as non-Christians have abandoned all hope of moral recovery. Christianity Today (11/20/87) reported that college students are saying that America "'is going down the tubes and there's nothing we can do about it.' With that attitude, students think they might as well enjoy themselves." Arthur Levine in a book titled When Dreams and Heroes Died, calls this "going first class on the TITANIC'. (Capitals added). This attitude is not limited to college students. Our government seems to be committed to unlimited borrowing while our economy is sinking in a sea of red ink.
Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor of Chicago's Moody Church, says the evangelical church itself is like a ship taking on water. He warns, "The church cannot be inundated by worldly values and yet meet its responsibility of keeping society from decay. If our assignment is to reclaim the moral ground of this nation for righteousness, how can we do it if we ourselves are guilty of the same sins?"
However, Dr. Lutzer offers hope, "The Body of Christ still wields awesome power. If we are brought to our knees, God may begin to give us spiritual victories that could stem abortion, infanticide and drug abuse." So he concludes, "The greatest need for the church today is believing prayer." "Are We Going Under?" Canadian Revival Fellowship News, Nov./Dec. 1985).
According to Dr. Edwin Orr, God has revived the church and brought moral recovery to America before. Right after the Revolutionary War, America fell into a moral slump. Through our close ties with France, a wave of anti-Christian influence swept into our country. Voltaire said, "Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years time."
"The church is too far gone ever to be redeemed" was the sober conclusion of even Supreme Court Justice John Marshall. Dr. Orr explained that there were so few Christians on college campuses that they met in secret to escape persecution. An epidemic of drunkenness with 300,000 drunkards in a population of 5,000,000 plagued America.
When the moral slump was at its worst in 1794, churches of nearly all denominations rallied to a call for united agreement in prayer. Revival in the churches and moral recovery in the young nation followed.
United agreement in prayer has strong roots in history and in Scripture (2 Chronicles 15:1-15; Zechariah 8:18-23; Acts 4:23-31 and Matthew 18:15-20). Jonathan Edwards, who experienced a powerful spiritual awakening in his pastorate in Massachusetts in 1734-1735, wrote a book titled, "An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God's People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom on Earth."
I have personally witnessed the power of united prayer. One time disagreement had destroyed fellowship between some believers. When they came together seeking reconciliation each person agreed that he recognized the presence of Christ in our midst and that he wanted Him to take charge of our meeting. We were thus united in trusting our Lord to reconcile everyone there. We prayed around the circle. Then we began our discussion. We stopped for prayer three times. The third time the Spirit broke through. People began asking forgiveness of one another while they wept and prayed.
Another time a group of ten believers from several different towns and churches seeking the Lord's wisdom for solutions to problems claimed the power of Christ over their meeting. We agreed on the following points based on Mathew 18:15-20. (1) Christ is present; (2) we want Him to take charge of us; (3) we expect Him to change us; (4) and to enable us all to agree with the heart and mind of God. As we prayed, a brother sobbed until all our hearts were melted. "I've been away from the Lord for a long time," he sighed.
Our Lord is in the midst of His people to wash us, cleanse us and prepare us to be presented to Himself, holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:23-27). Notice our Lord in the midst of the seven churches taking charge, cleansing and restoring them (Revelation 2-3). First, He revealed to each church their true condition in the sight of God. He told the Ephesian church their strong points and their fatal flaw. They had forsaken their first love. Second, they must repent and be restored to their first love or lose their light (Revelation 2:4-5). In answer to united prayer the Lord works among us like that today.
For example, the prayers of a small group that had met every Tuesday at noon for four years were answered when a spiritual awakening came to Bemidji, Minnesota in the fall of 1986 during a crusade led by Ralph and Lou Sutera.
"During the meetings I had a cleansing such as I had never experienced before," Pastor Larry Forsberg of First Baptist Church exclaimed. His wife said, "For the first time in my life, I saw the Lord working in miracle power solving problem areas" in the personal relationships of Christians.
A new spirit of purity and harmony was demonstrated. "We have seen marriages restored, restitution made and people walking in victory," the wife of Pastor Alan Johnston of the Evangelical Covenant Church commented. Bob Page, a minister who serves with Oak Hills Fellowship wrote, "I have been here for 49 years and I have never seen such fellowship before!" Twenty-two churches and two organizations were drawn together in love and unity for the first time.
America's only hope is that the Christians will unite in prayer, according to Matthew 18:15-20, until we are in agreement with our Head and right with one another. So let's pray for revival in the churches.
Copyright by Rev. Oliver W. Price 1992 Revival Insights Vol. I, No. 1