This year has so far been rather challenging, to say the least, for a lot of people. What with the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, the strict and idiotic lockdowns that came as a result of it, the social and racial unrest that has led to wanton destruction of property and numerous deaths, all leading up to an election which if won by Trump will almost certainly lead the Left to… continue doing the things they’ve been doing so the threat of riots is not quite as effective as it otherwise would have been.
One silver lining in this dark cloud of a year, however, is what I believe to be the potential revival of Christian America. It is often at our lowest point that we seek the Lord for comfort, and while some might be angry at God for allowing these things to happen, many more will come to God in search of refuge from the evil one. Many more people will begin praying to God, or pray more often, that their current situation – both personal ones and larger, social ones – will turn around. As a guest pastor for a church I often watch online said, “If it’s not good, God’s not done.”
This has not been a good year for many of us, but since it’s not good, that means that God’s not done. Good things will come out of all of this. We may not see it now, or understand how it could possibly come to be, but even while we don’t see a way, God most assuredly does.
Undoubtedly, there will be plenty of people who won’t change no matter what. Who will refuse to acknowledge God’s existence (for the most part; they acknowledge Him when they have something to be angry with Him about) and who will foolishly even declare themselves an enemy of God (as I have met one such fellow on Twitter who has outright said that he would kill God if he met Him, as though he had any power at all to stand against the omnipotent One).
Such people will reject and even mock prayer. We often see it whenever a tragic event like a shooting or natural disaster occurs, there are those who offer prayers and those who mock those who offer prayers, declaring it to be a waste of time and effort which accomplishes absolutely nothing and that we must seek evidence-based solutions to the problem.
The thing about prayer is that it absolutely works and multiple studies show it is an evidence-based solution to problems.
For example, one study of older adults found that “the negative effects of financial problems on health were significantly reduced among those who regularly prayed for others,” according to National Review.
In other words, the people who regularly prayed, and prayed for other people, were noticeably less affected by the strains of financial problems than those who did not pray. When you turn your trust and faith over to God, you recognize that your job is not your income source, the economy is not your income source, but God is your income source.
And hallelujah for that because of the following passage:
Luke 11:9-13: “So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
One could say: “Well, Freddie, the context is clearly about the Holy Spirit, not about finances or other things.”
And one would be half right.
The context of the passage is clear: Jesus is talking about salvation and receiving the Holy Spirit. Indeed, whomever asks for forgiveness, they will be forgiven. The Lord is merciful to such people. But recognize that God doesn’t only give His children the Holy Spirit. In the rhetorical questions, Jesus talks about parents giving their children fish or eggs if they ask of it. While, obviously, human parents cannot give the Holy Spirit and Jesus needed an analogy that would be understandable to His audience, God also gives us many other blessings. The proof that God is happily willing to give other things to His children is in the fact that He DOES and we express our thanks to Him as a result.
Why else would we give thanks to God for, say, getting a new job or a promotion, or doing well on a test, or finding the love of someone’s life, if God only gave His children the Holy Spirit? When we ask God for things, a number of things can happen:
1. God gives us exactly what we want.
2. God doesn’t give us what we want because what we want is not what we should have, or God is protecting us from something.
3. Or, God doesn’t give us what we want because He has something even better in store, giving us more than what we even asked for.
God is delighted in giving us things that we ask for when those things help us achieve our God-given destiny. So when praying to God, He is even more delighted by the faith and trust that is placed on Him by us.
We pray not merely to ask for things like children asking for a new toy. We also pray for help, we pray for clarity, we pray for strength, for wisdom and understanding, as well as for others that they might get those things.
And studies have shown, like I mentioned earlier, that prayer is extremely helpful. One research study found that prayer is of great psychological benefit to those who perceive God to be a loving God. They also found that, on the flipside, it caused anxiety and distress for those who perceive God to be distant and uncaring.
Which is why it’s important to also know who God is. I remember seeing on social media a post that quoted someone about how many (too many, according to that person) Christians view God as all-loving, forgetting the wrathful side of God. The thing about that is, while God is wrathful, He is only wrathful to sinfulness which was not forgiven by Him; which was not asked to be forgiven.
God doesn’t express His wrath against His children. His children are forgiven! His wrath is reserved for those who are unrepentant and unsaved – those who deny Christ consciously or subconsciously.
In understanding who God is, putting one’s trust and faith in Him, and having been saved by His Son, prayer is a great reliever of stress and it helps people spiritually, psychologically, and often times, physically.
Like I said, there are a number of studies that show such things, and that National Review article I mentioned earlier talks about many of them.
I hope that in reading this, you will come to better understand (if you haven’t already) just how important prayer is. In terms of both helping people feel better, such as in a group of cancer patients who were instructed to pray focusing on thankfulness and concern for others and were found to have the least symptoms of depression, and in terms of better accomplishing tasks, such as a study which found that those who prayed for 10 minutes about a personal life issue (even those who are less religious) were better able to accomplish focus-driven tasks than those who were instructed to think about the personal issues or were distracted with a puzzle, prayer is a magnificent and efficient way to solve problems.
When ignorant people criticize prayer, they don’t realize that prayer actually has value and effectiveness which has been backed by empirical evidence.
Prayer is extremely helpful, not only for our own souls but also for life in general. I firmly believe that if we prayed more as a country, things would be a lot better than they are.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
As it was mentioned in my previous article on California’s foundation on greed, there was a religious revival in the 70’s called the “Jesus Movement” that originated from said state.
In his book titled: “Is This The End?” Dr. David Jeremiah talks about the need for a Christian revival in the country. He lists the documented Christian revivals through this land’s history.
First, comes the first revival called The Great Awakening (1720s through 1740s). Just prior to this revival, the land was not too different from what it is today, with less and less people being converted and proclaiming their fellowship to Christ. This revival began with a simple gospel message of the need to be born again, which resonated with younger audiences and gave them hope. Johnathan Edwards, during this time, warned unconverted men and women of the danger that lies ahead of them should they fail to come to Christ. And John Wesley used his powerful voice, in the literal sense, to evangelize sinners for a mile without the use of amplification systems.
This revival is immensely important, as it's what led our founding fathers to fight for our freedoms.
The Second Great Awakening started sometime in the early 1800s. During this time, as people were preoccupied with the task of building a new nation, their spiritual well-beings began to deteriorate. During the time of the Great Awakening, 40 to 50 percent of the population attended church. By the 1790s, however, that number dropped down to 5 to 10 percent.
Christianity in America was under threat of extinction.
But in a college in Virginia, some students locked themselves in a room in fear of fellow classmates and began praying for revival. The college president investigated the situation and when the students were invited to his office, they prayed alongside the college president. In short time, half of the student body had come to the Lord.
The Third Great Awakening came during the 1850s and 1860s. After sometime, the passion and fire of the Second had died down. But thanks to one Jeremiah Lanphier, the Third Great Awakening began. He had announced a prayer meeting for September 23, 1857. In that first meeting, almost no one showed up. But as months went by, more and more people would show up. More than 50,000 people a day would show up to pray in New York, and this revival spread to other major cities around the area.
Then came a larger scale revival: The Global Revival (Dated sometime early 1900s) This one actually started in Wales, where a young man by the name of Evan Roberts began to preach a simple message: confess your sins to God, do your best to not continue sinning, obey the Holy Spirit promptly, and confess your faith in Christ openly. This simple message stirred incredible amounts of emotion from people in Wales, then England, then the rest of Europe, America and much of the known world.
Lastly was the aforementioned revival: The Jesus Movement (1970s). During this time, an entire generation of people became known as the “hippie” generation. This generation was known as the most screwed up generation in American history, with drug usage rising, and Indian transcendental meditation becoming the most popular form of spirituality there was. However in 1968, a Christian couple opened an evangelistic coffeehouse in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury (Hashbury, as nicknamed by the hippies) district. This one coffeehouse spawned a myriad of other Christian coffeehouses in the West Coast. And that led to ministries starting and people’s souls to be saved. This even caused thousands of hippies to become baptized.
We can see that there’s a pattern in our nation’s history, much like in our world’s history. The number of people who believe in Christ shifts over time. Sometimes that number goes up, and sometimes that number goes down. As I look at the state of the world today, I see that the trend is a massive down. What with the legalization of marijuana, gay marriage and unapologetic promotion of abortion, we see that the passion for the last revival is very clearly in the past.
But you have to ask yourself: are we due for another Christian revival? The answer to that can be a yes or a no. What do I mean by that? I mean that God is the one who decides who He saves. If He wants another religious revival to occur in the U.S. and the world, He will cause it to happen. He’s the Master of the Universe and gets to decide whom will enter His kingdom. That’s not to say that I don’t want another revival. I most certainly do. But if the Jesus Movement was ordained to be the last one, who are we to argue? Those of us who are saved will not suffer death… that is spiritual death. I’d be more than happy with another revival, but I have no right to complain if it doesn’t come. And those who are saved needn’t worry about the future, as it is all in the hands of the Lord.
This is why we are encouraged to evangelize people. We want to help bring as many people to Christ as we possibly can, regardless of the trend in faith in the country or the world.
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”
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