Join the Fifth Great Awakening
As we discover God’s heart to meet with us in order that we might experience the depths of his love, I pray that your life would be marked by a new grace to consistently and powerfully encounter the living God.
For our final day of this week, we’re going to ask God to awaken the hearts of our nation and culture. The need for a move of God has become more obvious than ever, yet he often moves in response to the faithful prayers of his people. Let us be those people today and ask for the great awakening our world so desperately needs.
I’ve often heard people pray for God to bring revival to our nation, yet rarely have I heard prayers for a great awakening. But throughout its history, the Western world has actually seen four “great awakenings.” What’s the difference, you may ask?
Revivals change people and churches. Awakenings change cultures and nations.
The First Great Awakening is dated to 1734 under the preaching of pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards and the British evangelist George Whitefield. Before it began, only 5 percent of colonial Americans identified with a Christian church. At its height, 80 percent were active followers of Jesus.
The Second Great Awakening is dated to 1792 and was sparked by a prayer movement led by a Baptist minister named Isaac Backus. This movement led to more than a thousand large gatherings, called camp meetings, being held across the country. Churches doubled and tripled in membership, and William Carey began what we now consider the modern missions movement.
The Third Great Awakening is dated to 1858, resulting from a “businessman’s prayer meeting” movement that began the previous year in New York City. Out of a national population of thirty million people, more than a million came to Christ in a single year. And at one point, fifty thousand were turning to Jesus for salvation every week. This revival continued into the Civil War, when more than one hundred thousand soldiers were converted.
And the Fourth Great Awakening began in Wales in 1904. This awakening impacted every sphere of culture and industry. Police formed barbershop quartets to sing in churches since there was no one to arrest. Saloons went bankrupt. Coal mines even shut down briefly because the miners became converted, stopped using obscene language, and the mules could no longer understand their commands. This awakening spread to the US: for example, out of fifty thousand residents in Atlantic City, New Jersey, only fifty were unconverted. Two hundred stores in Portland, Oregon, closed every day so people could attend prayer meetings.
Now the world is seeing a Fifth Great Awakening.
More Muslims have come to Christ in the last fifteen years than in the previous fifteen centuries. China’s underground church is exploding in growth. Churches are growing exponentially in Cuba and across Latin and South America. And sub-Saharan Africa is witnessing a remarkable advance of the gospel.
Will we see this awakening in America? Is an awakening of this magnitude even possible today?
We believe it is. And we are praying that First15 can be one such catalyst for the moral and spiritual movement we need so desperately. Would you join us in this prayer?
God’s promise is clear in today’s verse:
-We must humble ourselves, admitting we need the transforming movement of God’s Spirit.
-Then we must “pray.” The original word in Hebrew means to pray passionately and collectively
-God says we must seek his face, which in Hebrew means to “run hard after” personal intimacy with the Lord
-And when we do, we must “turn from our wicked ways” as his Spirit reveals them to us.
If we will, our Father promises to hear us, forgive us, and heal our land.
today’s devotional is written by Jim Denison
1. Meditate on God’s gracious desire to “heal our land.”
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).
2. Pray for the Lord to bring the Fifth Great Awakening to our land. Would you commit to intercede daily for a movement of God in our nation and our world?
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
3. Ask God to show you ways to participate in his plan for spiritual renewal, then commit yourself to joining his Spirit at work each day.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).
James 4:8 promises: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” So let’s close this week with a practical way to accept his invitation as well as share it with others.
Rodney “Gypsy” Smith (1860–1947) conducted evangelistic campaigns in the US and Great Britain across seven decades. He was once asked how revival begins. His answer: “Go home, lock yourself in your room. Kneel down in the middle of the floor, and with a piece of chalk, draw a circle around yourself. There, on your knees, pray fervently and brokenly that God would start a revival within that chalk circle.”
Will you draw such a circle around your soul today?
Will you invite others to do the same tomorrow?
Extended reading: Acts 2
May your day be filled with the fullness of God today.