Note to Readers: Compared to what I have written in the past, this verbal offering will seem extremely long. Please, take the time to read every word. I believe that God has placed these words on my heart and they are extremely important for us to consider in the day in which we find ourselves.
“Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” — Psalm 85:6
“It’s like a blowtorch—we can’t get in front of it.”
“If we had the entire army, we still couldn’t stop it.”
“Wind is king here; it’s dictating everything we’re doing.”
These statements were used to describe the ferocity of the recent wildfire near Los Angeles. But they also reflect what many are feeling about the events of the last month or so, in which the American banking system almost collapsed, major companies failed, and the stock market lost nearly 50% from its peak value.
Genuine fear swept the country as we tried to comprehend the crushing loss of our retirement savings and the mind-numbing cost of the government-sponsored bailout of our financial system. Many still worry about the security of their jobs, not to mention the future of a country saddled by massive levels of personal and national debt.
Even more troubling than the financial crisis, however, is the moral disintegration it exposes. Stories of calloused corporate greed and widespread political corruption betrayed our public trust and undermined our confidence in those in power. Congressional approval ratings bottomed out at only 11%, and a cry for credible leadership echoed across America.
But most disturbing of all was the fact that at the height of the crisis, when experts were wildly scrambling for solutions, not once did President Bush, John McCain, or Barack Obama—professing Christians—suggest that we stop to pray! The candidates did not even end their debate speeches with the historic phrase “God bless America.” Apparently, as far as our leaders are concerned, God isn’t part of the solution at all.
The Urgency of Now
The absence of God-consciousness in our society is what makes this such a critical moment for America—so urgent that I felt compelled to stop everything I was doing in order to write this. In my lifetime, our nation has never experienced a more dramatic wake-up call with so little public acknowledgement of our need for God.
Regardless of whether the worst of the crisis is now over or whether it proves to be a precursor of even more turmoil in the days to come, there is a vital spiritual lesson we must not miss: God uses times of crisis to call people and nations back to Himself. Times of uncertainty, financial or otherwise, are divine opportunities to recognize the futility of our idols and to embrace the true hope that is in Jesus Christ alone.
Prayer in Times of Uncertainty
The prophet Hosea lived in times very similar to ours. Pervading winds of wickedness and unbelief swept over the people of God. Lust and greed dominated the political and religious landscape as worship of Baal filled the land.
The hope of Hosea’s day must be our cry today: “It is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and rains righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12). In times of crisis, our hope is Yahweh God! No matter how dark the hour or how insurmountable the problems, there is no limit to God’s power.
A.W.Tozer echoed this belief in the all-reviving power of God:
“There is no limit to what God could do in our world if we would dare to surrender before Him with a commitment like this:
Oh God, I hereby give myself to You. I give my family. I give my business. I give all I possess. Take all of it, Lord—and take me! I give myself in such measure that if it is necessary that I lose everything for your sake, let me lose it. I will not ask what the price is. I will ask only that I may be all that I ought to be as a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
If even 300 of God’s people became that serious, our world would never hear the last of it! They would influence the news. Their message would go everywhere like birds on the wing. They would set off a great revival of New Testament faith and witness.”
God-sized change is possible for America today. But it is critical to recognize that every revival in history has been birthed, cradled, and nurtured in prayer. That’s why now is the time to seek the Lord as never before. WE MUST SEEK HIM! The wind of evil can be overcome by the wind of the Spirit of God, but believers must repent, and we must pray!
Ripe for Revival
As strange as it may sound, I believe the crisis and uncertainty that America now faces are part of God’s plan to invite America to spiritual awakening and revival. While I grieve over the hardships many are now experiencing, there is a sense that this is the season we’ve been waiting for—an opportunity for believers everywhere to express their confidence in God and to testify that Christ alone is the true hope of America.
The connection between crisis and spiritual revival is part of American history. In 1857 the stock market dramatically crashed amid loss of confidence in the American banking system and U.S. economy. Five thousand businesses failed within a year, and thousands lost their jobs. Yet in the midst of financial calamity, thousands of businessmen turned to prayer, and the great prayer revival of 1857-1858 resulted in almost a million conversions!
The same situation is true today—the change we need in America will not ultimately come from the politicians in Washington or the market leaders at the Treasury or Federal Reserve. According to Scripture, real change begins in the hearts of God’s people and is empowered by God’s Spirit (1 Peter 4:17; Zechariah 4:6).
That is why I am excited this morning. I am hearing reports of a growing passion and hunger among God’s people to experience a sweeping revival. God is working now in the lives of His people.
God can take a hardhearted nation and transform hearts, homes, churches, and communities. Widespread revival has happened before—let’s urgently pray for God to send the sweeping wind of His Spirit to America again!