I Was Just Thinking About – AWAKENING (Part 1).
Reference is often made to the plea and prayer of David in Psalm 85:5-7 (NASB) for spiritual revival, “Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation.” David had a sense of the spiritual dearth (a scarcity or lack of something) that can so easily creep into one’s life and Church, resulting in coldness to the things of God.
In this nation in the early 1700s, this had become the spiritual drift in the British-American colonies. Bursting on the scene were two dynamic men Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield. They were key to a spiritual revival that swept throughout the colonies. Jonathan Edwards, the Yale minister who refused to convert to the Church of England, became concerned that New Englanders were becoming far too concerned with worldly matters. It seemed to him that people found the pursuit of wealth to be more important than John Calvin's religious principles. Edwards forcefully declared: "God was an angry judge, and humans were sinners!" It was reported that he spoke with such fury and conviction that people flocked to listen. It became known as The Great Awakening. Out of that time of forceful declaration of God’s Word came his sermon: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Many people were brought to tears and came repenting of their sins against a Holy God.
In addition to Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a minister from Great Britain who toured the American colonies. An actor by training and with good stage presence, he would forcefully declare the word of God, weep with sorrow, and tremble with passion as he delivered his sermons. Colonists flocked by the thousands to hear him speak. He converted slaves and a few Native Americans. It was reported that the religious skeptic Benjamin Franklin had come to hear him speak in Philadelphia and was also impacted by what he heard. What was so unique about their ministry and sermons?
In part, it was a dramatic shift and break from the Church of England and the formalism, rituals and traditions it represented. Additionally, there was an emphasis on the centrality of Prayer. A servant of the Lord who is committed to Church Revitalization has shared: “Prayer is the most critical and essential element in the DNA of a local church. Martin Luther said: Prayer is the daily business of the Christian. John Calvin said: We see that nothing is set before us as an object of expectation from the Lord which we are not enjoined to ask of Him in prayer. John Wesley said: There is nothing without prayer.” Where do you believe you/we should focus and implement?
Prayerfully – consider these things with me.