The last great spiritual awakening in America was the Jesus movement, which took place about 40 years ago. I was there, and I think we can not only learn from history, but we can be inspired by history.
A few years earlier, an April 8, 1966, Time magazine cover posed this question: “Is God Dead?” What a difference a few years can make, especially when God intervenes. Five years later, a 1971 issue of Time described a spiritual awakening: “Jesus is alive and well and living in the radiant spiritual fervor of a growing number of young Americans. … If any one mark clearly identifies them, it is their total belief in an awesome, supernatural Jesus Christ, not just a marvelous man who lived 2,000 years ago, but a living God.”
The words revival and awakening are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinction. An awakening takes place when God sovereignly pours out his Spirit and it impacts a culture. That is what happened during the Jesus Revolution, and it’s what happened in multiple spiritual awakenings in the history of the United States, predating its establishment as a nation.
A revival, on the other hand, is what the church must experience. It’s when the church comes back to life, when the church becomes what it was always meant to be. It’s a return to passion. I think many times we overly mystify the idea of revival, but we don’t really need to. Another word I could use for revival is restoration – restoring something to its original condition.
If I’m cruising down the road and see a cool, classic car that has been restored to showroom condition, I think, “Wow, that’s beautiful! Someone took time to do that.” That can happen in a life as well. And it’s what the church needs.
R.A. Torrey, a friend of Dwight L. Moody, was a great preacher and evangelist in his own right. He gave this prescription for revival during a February 1917 address at Moody Bible Institute:
“Let a few of God’s people, they don’t need to be many, get thoroughly right with God themselves – the rest will count for nothing unless you start right there; then let them band themselves together to pray for a revival until God opens the heavens and comes down. Then let them put themselves at God’s disposal to use them as He sees fit. That will bring a revival to any church, any community.”
Let’s review: 1) Get right with God, 2) get together with other Christians and pray for revival, and 3) make yourself available to God, especially in winning souls.
Spiritual awakening, that outpouring of the Spirit, is up to God. We can’t organize it, but we can agonize for it in prayer and call upon God to send it.
What are some signs of revival? One of them is that people are hungry for God’s Word, the Bible. We don’t worship the Bible; we worship the author of the Bible. The Bible is the autobiography of God, so as we read the Scriptures, we discover him.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post, Greg Laurie