We live in an age of unbelief. The foundations of American life are eroding. America is entering an uncharted, revolutionary time. We are no longer the America of our founders or even the America that existed twenty years ago. We are in trouble, and a cataclysm of ominous events may soon overwhelm us. We need a national spiritual revival.
Two seminal revival movements were such game-changing events in American history that historians were compelled to call them Great Awakenings. The First Great Awakening in the mid-1700s created the moral climate for the Declaration of Independence and the founding of a new country, conceived in liberty, that would truly become a light to the nations.
The Second Great Awakening in the mid-1800s was even more potent and culminated with Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery. As a result of this movement, the United States has liberated more people economically, politically, and spiritually than any other nation in history.
The problems of America today cannot be solved by politicians or our broken culture. We need another Great Awakening on a scale and resolve equal to the first two. There are some hopeful signs this may be happening.
In February this year, a large and spontaneous worship service ran nonstop for almost two weeks at a small Christian college in Kentucky. The occasion at Asbury University was so galvanizing that people flew in from around the country, overflowing outside the college's chapel, to participate in the praying, singing, and discussions.
More than 200,000 people converged on the small town. There was no desire for publicity. No famous Christian speakers or bands attended. The only draw was the powerful presence of God. Many remained in line for hours to pray for just a few minutes because they realized the blessings of God were flowing in the chapel.
The spiritual cry spread out from Asbury to 37 other colleges, granting many young people the freeing experience of spiritual renewal. More than 200 teams of students have been sharing testimonies about the revival in churches since then, with hundreds more going out this summer.
Massive public baptisms were held this past summer at Pirates Cove in California. Pastors Mark Francey and Greg Laurie and hundreds of churches in Southern California baptized more than 8,000 people at these events.
Greg Laurie was active in the original Jesus Movement in the 1970s, and his story was recently told in the movie Jesus Revolution, produced by Angel Studios, which surprised critics and Hollywood alike with large box office receipts. Angel Studios has also produced the Chosen television series depicting Jesus and the Twelve Disciples, which has become very popular, using only crowdfunding donations to cover production costs.
Many more events could be mentioned. While these happenings are hopeful, we are still a long way from a national revival. These days, many citizens disapprove of expressions of faith in God as the Provider of all human rights. Many think their rights come from the government. Sadly, only after a calamity of unspeakable proportions will enough people come to re-examine their attitudes toward faith and founding principles that a broad spiritual renewal can occur.
In 2001, on the Sunday following 9/11, churches nationwide were suddenly filled as if it were Easter morning. It seemed people widely felt that America needed repentance before God that He allowed such monstrous evil to visit our land. But the repentance was not to last. This tragedy was only a one-day event, and within a few weeks, church attendance started to dwindle, and any thoughts of repentance were forgotten. Since then, church attendance has reached new lows following the COVID years.
We may be on the path to a combined financial, moral, civil, and geopolitical crisis that could extend for many years. This is no one-day event. There are no easy answers to what lies ahead. People already sense trouble and are starting to pay attention. We don't need a transformed nation; we need a restored nation. And that happens only through a change in individual attitudes and beliefs toward the Divine Providence of God.
Believers will receive mockery and rejection when they exercise their faith with authenticity and courage. Yet the Church is most vibrant and closest to God when under earthly persecution. That was true in the first century, and it is true today. Followers of Christ must push past whatever ridicule and opposition awaits us and answer our calling.
There is an old saying that hope is not a strategy. In our circumstances, however, the world is failing, and hope in Him is all we have left. We take back the nation by praying, repenting to the Lord, and acknowledging that the Republic will fail without our hearts returning to Him. We must call upon Divine Providence and plead for mercy.
We know that God responds to those who cry out to Him. Only through Him can national revival come, and the blessing it brings becomes possible. He watches over us today just as He did in generations past. Keep the faith, be encouraged, and keep praying. May another Great Awakening arise in this dark and uncertain time.
By Jeff Luken