Revival: Should We Pray for It?

July 23, 2015 at 8:53 AM 11 comments

Under the

Under the “big top” of revivals in early America…

Lately, I’ve been hearing a recurring theme among Christians and church-goers alike. It is the need for revival in the land. Because of this, I’ve decided to write what I’m hoping will be a short series on the subject of Revival. While I would fully agree that revival is needed, I cannot help but wonder if it will come. If it does come, the other concern is what might it look like and how long might it last?

If we consider some of the great revivals in American history, the question immediately comes to mind – what did that revival accomplish? Certainly, it brought people closer to God. It caused people to look at their own lives and compare them with where they should have been. However, did those revivals change society as a whole? Did they have any real lasting effect?

I want to look at the following areas in this series to help us unpack the meaning of revival, why revival might not come, and what it means even if revival does not come (to America).

First, let’s look at what revival is all about, shall we? I don’t intend to be exhaustive here by any stretch. I simply want to provide a basic understanding for the meaning of revival and what it entails.

WHAT IS REVIVAL?
In short, we might say that revival in the religious sense is a renewal or an awakening within a person or people that compels them to take their relationship with God more seriously. Revivals are designed to “wake” people up to the need to understand the living relationship we have with God (for those who are saved) and to call people into that living relationship with God (for those who are not saved).

Often, revivals are said to occur when there is some great outpouring of emotionalism. Some argue that this emotionalism is what the Holy Spirit uses to cause people to realize their need, while others argue that the emotionalism is the result of a movement of the Holy Spirit. Still others argue that emotionalism itself is not an evidence that the Holy Spirit has worked at all. They compare this to the birth of the Church in Acts 2 where it was not emotionalism but the very presence of the Holy Spirit who caused disciples in the Upper Room to speak in languages that, while unknown to them, were clearly understood by Jews from all parts of the known world who had come to Jerusalem to worship during the Jewish Festival of Weeks, which is also Pentecost for Church.

In essence then, most would agree that revivals are times when people are called to renew their relationship with God, to make good on their promises, to undertake to live a more holy life before God in order that He would receive the greater glory.

Historic Revivals in America
Many historians consider 1801 to 1900 times of revival in America. This time in America was filled with failures and challenges and created a need/desire to see things changed.

“Sometimes it is during the days of hopelessness and despair that revival comes to a people! So it was in the middle of the nineteenth century. In the United States, it was a spiritual, political, and economic low point. Many people had become disillusioned with spiritual things because of preachers who had repeatedly and falsely predicted the end of the world in the 1840’s. Agitation over the slavery issue had bred much political unrest, and civil war seemed imminent. A financial panic hit in 1857. Banks failed, railroads were bankrupt, factories closed, unemployment increased. Many Christians realized the need for prayer in such dire situations, and prayer-meetings began to spread around the country.

Notice the description of the times above. America was at “a spiritual, political, and economic low point.” So many bad things were happening that people began to think that God had abandoned America. Many believed the only clear solution would be found in revival. Where else could one turn for solutions if not God?

The problem though is that God never said He would eliminate problems in our life. He does promise to be with us through them. We need to learn to trust Him in all situations. In fact, Paul argues that in all things we should give thanks because this is God’s will concerning us and our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

If Paul could say that with confidence, then I have to wonder why we look at what we consider to be bad things and immediately think that God is opposed to it but can’t really do anything unless and until people get right with Him. The implication is that God is powerless, impotent, unable to accomplish His will unless human beings actively partner with Him. This is a belief that stems – I believe – from emotional virtue, which is political correctness.

How often have I heard or read that God is getting ready to judge America. Maybe you have too. These concerns are voiced by sometimes well-meaning Christians and other times by individuals who seem to have no clue about rightly dividing the Word of Truth. They see everything “bad” as being out of God’s will and only the “good” as being part of it. To believe this is to ignore biblical truth that God is gloried in all things – good and bad, not just those things which we identify as good.

Is your sacred cow listed?

Is your sacred cow listed?

Charles Finney
From 1795 to 1835, parts of America went through what is known as the Second Great Awakening, which was led by evangelist Charles Finney. His emphasis was actually on works. Some of the things he believed and taught left him open to attack from individuals who compared what he said with the Bible. This is partly due to the fact that Finney himself was somewhat unclear in what he taught/believed. People didn’t know for certain if he was teaching a works-based salvation or that good works should naturally follow true repentance leading to salvation. It was almost as though Finney did not know – from a truly biblical perspective – whether true saints would be able to persevere unless the emphasis was on persevering through good works, the emphasis being on the individual rather than on God’s work in and through the individual.

There are some who count Finney as an outright fraud, a person who did not thoroughly understand what the Scriptures taught. Though licensed as a Presbyterian minister, he often expressed doubts about some of the Presbyterian theological framework.

However, in spite of all of this – and each reader can decide for themselves the validity of Charles Finny – the fact remains that a revival of sorts did occur under his ministry. People were changed, but for how long and how far was the reach of those changed individuals?

What I believe Christians need to be aware of today is that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Faith does not come through our emotions. God never wants us to use our emotions to make decisions because decisions made based on how we feel about something are destined to change because our emotions are not constant.

Today, we are hearing a cacophony of voices crying out that if only America would experience revival, all would be well. We have people who stand up and base their entire best-selling book on one verse of Scripture that actually applies to Israel, but is somehow made to apply to America, and these people are praised! Don’t question that person because he is a sacred cow to someone. What he says is clearly what God wants to happen, right? He speaks for God…uh…not necessarily.

sacredcowWe need to leave our sacred cows behind and while we can and should be taught by godly people from God’s Word, they should never be held up as though they cannot fail. To rightly understand what revival means and whether or not America should be praying for national revival, isn’t it best to understand what God’s Word actually says about the times in which we live? Isn’t God’s Word the barometer and guide for our lives? If so, surely God has something to say about whether or not revival is on the way, wouldn’t you think?

This is part 1 and we have numerous parts to go through yet. We will take the time to discuss more related to revival and whether or not the push for revival in America is simply wishful thinking or something attainable. I will leave you with this. Any time a movement seems to be propped up by people, it is destined to fail. In Acts 2, the 120 waited and prayed in the Upper Room. They simply waited as Jesus told them to wait. Their patience was rewarded with the outpouring and filling of the Holy Spirit. It was He who empowered and emboldened them to be His witnesses and it was He who saved 3,000 people that day.

But did this “revival” take Rome by storm? History shows us that this was not to be. If we follow today’s logic, we would have to say these first century Christians failed. Yet, I don’t believe that at all and we’ll talk about that next time.

Entry filed under: christianity, Life in America, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation.

War Room: A Review of the Movie and the Industry Surrounding It Revival: Why Persecution?

11 Comments

  • 1. Stephen  |  July 27, 2015 at 11:21 AM

    Thanks for your reply. I too have had experience speaking in tongues for a short time.

  • 2. Stephen  |  July 27, 2015 at 10:59 AM

    The use of the Kundalini spirit when speaking in tongues is out of context I believe. Truly the use of tongues is misused in certain churches. However, some have grown to see its limited use—let us say in private prayer, instead of a public spectacle over the pulpit and church body. If they teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, Him crucified and risen again as their only salvation and redemption to God the Father then this is not the hill to die on.

    “Kundalinî: ‘She who is coiled; serpent power.’ The primordial cosmic energy in every individual which eventually, through the practice of yoga, rises up the sushumnâ nâdî. As it rises, the kunalinî awakens each successive chakra. Nirvikalpa samâdhi, enlightenment, comes as it pierces through the door of Brahman at the core of the sahasrâra and enters!” Hinduism Today
    “The Kundalini is your own mother. Your individual mother. And She has tape-recorded all your past and your aspirations, everything. And She rises because She wants to give you your second birth, but She is your individual mother. You don’t share Her with anybody else. Yours is a different, somebody else’s is different because the tape-recording is different. We say She is the reflection of the Adi Shakti who is called as Holy Ghost in the Bible. But She rises without any difficulty. Hardly any time it takes.” — Shri Mataji – See more at: http://adishakti.org/subtle_system/kundalini.htm#sthash.f5yottzk.dpuf

    The definition is from a Bing search on the web.

    • 3. modres  |  July 27, 2015 at 11:10 AM

      I would tend to agree with you, bearing in mind Paul’s own words where he said he would rather speak five intelligible words than 10,000 in an unknown language (1 Corinthians 14:19).

      At the same time, where there is a Kundalini spirit being exercised in church and “worship” services, what else is going on beyond the veil?

      If a Christian believes that they have a gift of tongues and use it in prayer to the Lord, that’s up to them. I used to be heavily involved in the Charismatic Movement in the 70s and even though I firmly believed I spoke in “tongues,” the reality is that I cannot for the life of me see what it profited. Supposedly, I was praying in an unknown language that some taught the devil could not understand. I couldn’t either. I’m not sure what the point was, except to believe that I was having deep communication with the Lord.

      I’ve come to believe that, like Paul, I would rather speak fewer words in an intelligible tongue than a thousand or ten thousand in a language that I cannot comprehend. Certainly, God does not need me to do it since He is able to the discern the depths of my inner groanings when I cannot even put feelings and thoughts into words (Romans 8:26).

      Thanks for your comments, Stephen.

  • 4. Revival: If My People… | Study - Grow - Know  |  July 24, 2015 at 3:17 PM

    […] in America if Christians are only willing to pray for it. You can read the previous articles here, here, and […]

  • 5. Revival: Why Persecution? | Study - Grow - Know  |  July 23, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    […] In our first part of this series, we went over aspects of religious revivals; what they mean, what they were intended to accomplish, and what they actually did. We really have just started scratching the surface though. In this part, we want to continue to break down the concept of the religious revival and continue to discuss the ramifications of the historical events known either as revivals or great awakenings here in America. We also want to get to the point of understanding whether or not a national revival is something that could happen if Christians will only get (and stay) on their knees, fervently approaching God with humility and honestly of heart. […]

  • 6. Sherry  |  July 23, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    Emotionalism blinds people from seeing the truth in God’s Word. If one loves a certain man-made tradition and/or satanically inspired practice that God hates, the emotional attachment will make the person twist scriptures in order to validate their observance of that which God clearly says in His Word is detestable to Him and is prohibited. Emotionalism puts man’s feelings in authority above God’s Authority.

    For example, people believe it is biblical to be “slain in the Spirit” Speaking in tongues, also, gets the seal of approval by Christians who practice such. But, it is really of the Kundalini spirit. I’ve lost friends from the Pentecost/United Pentecost churches for trying to explain this to them. Their response always has to do with their feelings. And, a side note, I do not call revivals full of these antics anything from God’s hand of blessing-the Toronto Blessing-ahem…

    • 7. modres  |  July 23, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      I agree, thank you.

      Not sure if you read the article on the “War Room” I reblogged from another Christian’s website, but it was interesting because he referred to the time that Tyler Perry attended one of T.D. Jakes’ services, donating a million dollars and then prayed over Jakes who was then “slain in the spirit.” T. D. Jakes is a false teacher with his Oneness doctrine to begin with, and Perry might think of himself as a Christian, but his life doesn’t necessarily prove it. Yet, these two together was something that God allegedly “honored”?

      • 8. Sherry  |  July 23, 2015 at 7:45 PM

        modres, I was in a false church for 8 years. Thing is, my “foundation” was all wrong and I didn’t know it! If I hadn’t prayed and asked God to show me all of the lies I was believing to be the truth, I’d probably still be in the false church of witchcraft! I’m grateful God answered that prayer and I pray it over everyone who call themselves Christian. When your foundation is bad, so is your whole belief system if you are not prayerfully discerning.

        God bless!~

      • 9. modres  |  July 23, 2015 at 8:43 PM

        Yes, and tragically, there are many succumbing to it today. But none of us are beyond the ability to be deceived (myself included). We need to throw ourselves on His grace and mercy daily with an attitude of humility asking Him to keep us from falling into a deceived outlook.

      • 10. Sherry  |  July 24, 2015 at 4:35 PM

        Very true. You give wise advice!

      • 11. modres  |  July 24, 2015 at 5:09 PM

        Thanks! Thanks also for that link. I’ll check it out. 😀


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