As election day approached, I strongly encouraged the people of my congregation to pray. I admonished them to pray for a peaceful election and that God would raise up new leaders who would fear God and govern by the truth of his Word. Most of all, I encouraged my people to pray for revival in America. As the late Chuck Colson once said, “When you stop to think about it, politics is simply a reflection of the values of the culture. You change the culture, you will change the politics. If politics is sick, it means the culture is sick—and we Christians are responsible for the culture….” The truth of Colson’s insight speaks to the desperate need of a spiritual awakening in America. Our politics are sick, which means our culture is sick, which means the church needs revival.
Election season seems to always stir the embers of revival in the church. It’s during these times that Christians are focused on the needs of our nation, our states and our communities. We have heightened sensitivities toward the moral decline of our culture, the failing economic system, the growing threats to our national security, and the ever increasing attack against religious freedoms (i.e. Christians). In other words, as concerned citizens, and even more, as concerned Christians, our worlds become very disturbed and uncomfortable. I have seen this stirring of the nest produce a spiritual concern and fervor in Christians who were hitherto unconcerned and disengaged. The mantra of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is raised and special times of prayer are called.
However, as I have observed these stirrings, I have begun to ask a question: are we praying for national resurgence or are we praying for national revival? What I mean is, are we praying for God to reestablish our nation as the world superpower, protect our land from foreign invasion, keep the economy strong (so we don’t feel the discomfort of want), allow us all to go on practicing our religion without opposition or persecution, get a few “bad guys” out of office, and help everyone to vote the way I did? Surely, this is what God meant when he said, “I will heal their land”, right?
Or, are we praying for a fresh awareness of God to sweep our nation, like what happened during the Great Awakening’s? Are we praying for God to bring a new awareness of his holiness to the church that there might be a spirit of repentance from the idols that have stolen our hearts away from him? Are we praying for him to raise up from our heathen population a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9), regardless of whether America is the world superpower or not? Are we praying for faithful hearts even if the economy goes “bust” and our religious rights are stripped away? Are we willing to have revival in our nation, even if it means there is no resurgence in our nation?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the American way of life! We have the privilege of living in the most free and prosperous nation in the history of civilization. I love being American! But, I must say, I have become very careful in the way that I pray for revival in America. I do not pray for national resurgence. I will leave that to God’s sovereign will. He alone can raise a nation up; and, he alone can bring it down. However, I do pray for national revival. I pray for a church set ablaze with God’s glory, regardless of whether or not our religious freedoms are protected. I pray for a revival in the hearts of pastor’s across this land who will boldly proclaim the Word of God, even if it is called a hate crime. I pray for God to make saints out of sinners who will live holy lives and be faithful to him, even if we have to live in want and discomfort. I am praying for national revival, not national resurgence.
What do you think is the difference between praying for national resurgence versus national revival? Leave your comment below.
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All Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version.