“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in You?” Psalm 85:6
I’m finishing the first volume of Dallimore’s two-volume biograph of George Whitfield. I’ve always enjoyed reading the stories of those whose lives had significant historical impact on the culture of their time. For their spiritual influence, Judson, Moody, and Truett come to mind. Others, like Washington and Churchill, I appreciate for their political leadership that helped shaped western civilization.
I was drawn to Whitfield after hearing John Piper, D.A. Carson, and Timothy Keller, in a panel discussion, extol the incredible impact his life had on their own. George Whitfield was the foremost figure of the great 18th century revival, also known in America as the “Great Awakening.” As I prayerfully plodded through his story, my heart was stirred by this man’s passion for God, and a spiritual thirst for revival began to grip my soul.
I wanted to share this with you for two reasons. First, Dallimore’s work on Whitfield is a great read and I would encourage anyone to take it up, especially those concerned about the spiritual and moral decay that surrounds us. Secondly, I believe there is a tremendous need for a fresh moving of the Holy Spirit among the Lord’s people. The book kindled hope in me that a true heaven-sent revival could take place in our time. “For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27b)
Why it’s possible.
First, the church in America could see another “Great Awakening” because revival is a work of God. It cannot be produced by human effort but is always a sovereign work of grace by Him who “works all things according to the counsel of his will.” (Ephesians 1:11) The Lord is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we may ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20) Dallimore remarked, “God is not limited by such circumstances as the extent of human sin or the degree of mankind’s unbelief.”
In addition, we must not suppose that our nation has reached her spiritual Rubicon, that her sin is too great, that secularism’s grip is too strong, or that the church is too anemic to experience a fresh spiritual awakening. The revival that shook both England and America in the 18th century emerged out of moral conditions that could not have been more deplorable. The Bible says, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20)
“God is not limited by such circumstances as the extent of human sin or the degree of mankind’s unbelief.”
Revival in America is also possible because it’s presently happening in other parts of the world. You may have heard about the Korean Pentecost of recent years, but even now the Lord is working mightily in Iran, Africa, and China. Astounding reports of “book of Acts” events have been reported, resulting in thousands coming to Christ and a multiplication of house churches. I believe that what God is doing in these countries he can do in ours. “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.” (Isaiah 59:1)
Will You Pray?
A.W. Tozer once remarked that “revival is born after midnight.” That is, it comes when our desire for God and for a fresh moving of the Holy Spirit among us exceeds our normal spiritual regimens. We must be willing to pray beyond the usual to the unusual in seeking the Lord. As a country preacher once said, “Revival is never preached up, it’s always prayed down.”
I am asking all my readers to pray earnestly and sincerely for revival in our personal lives, in our churches, and in our nation. Do not suppose a true spiritual awakening will happen as long as we are content with ourselves, our circumstances, the state of country, and even our churches. George Whitfield was mightily used of God to bring thousands to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ in a day of moral decadence and spiritual apostasy; both of which characterize our present society.
Perhaps the main difference would be the sophisticated technology that serves to distract and mesmerize the masses away from the truth of the gospel. Yet, God is able to overcome every obstacle, and who knows but what he may be gracious to send revival in our time. Will you join me in praying to that end?