Adapted from Simply Prayer (copyright 2020), by Bill Elliff. Used with permission.
A National State of Emergency is a governmental declaration which usually suspends some normal functions of executive, legislative, and judicial powers; alerts citizens to change their normal behaviors; or orders governmental agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans.
In response to COVID-19, every nation suspended normal functions, alerted citizens to change their normal behavior, and implemented emergency plans.
As God looks at the state of our nation, we must think deeply about His evaluation of our land. If Scripture is any indication, He would tell us that we are in a state of National Spiritual Emergency.
So what should we do?
Simply go on with business as usual? Or should we agree about the nature of this dramatic problem, change our normal behaviors, and implement emergency plans?
Throughout history, God has chosen seasons to “rend the heavens and come down.” These times of revival in the church and massive spiritual awakening among the lost are used by God to remind us of what heaven is like and to make His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. It is His great mercy that brings such times. When the church and a nation sink to desperate spiritual lows, the cry of our hearts should be for such revivals and awakenings.
Richard Owen Roberts described revival as “the extraordinary movement of the Spirit of God among His people that produces extraordinary results.” God is at work everywhere all the time. But seasons of revival accelerate the movement of God, accomplishing in a matter of days or months what could not be accomplished in decades.
There have been five nationwide seasons of extraordinary revival and spiritual harvest in America to date:
- The First Great Awakening, 1735–1742
- The Second Great Awakening, 1800–1825
- The Prayer Revival, 1857–1858
- The Welsh Revival, 1904–1905
- The Jesus Movement, 1969–1971
Notice that every 50–60 years in our history, God has graciously come in power to our nation, bringing the course correction we desperately need.
The telling mark of these movements has not been just the change in the churches, but the rapid expansion of the gospel. Awakening implies that a man is in spiritual slumber, unable to find God. God in His grace quickens his heart, bringing him to an awareness of his sin, a deep desire for repentance, and faith to believe in Christ. In times of national spiritual awakening, this happens with stunning speed.
SETTING OUR SAILS FOR REVIVAL
G. Campbell Morgan said, “We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”
Humble, repentant, united prayer is one of the best ways to prepare our hearts for what God wants to accomplish through revival.