This week I taught a college course in Tacoma, Washington which focused on God’s global plan of salvation over the last 4000 years.
Yes, God has been directing history–His Story–from the very beginning.
I pointed out that in every generation there are five undercurrents–key factors–in God’s Kingdom enterprise. One of those factors, which can grow into a spiritual tsunami in nations, is a growing wave of desperate prayer that proceeds an outpouring of God’s Spirit.
In the United States, this spring, is God launching pre-revival winds of prayer?
Chapter Four of my book, The Fourth Wave: Taking Your Place in the New Era of Missions (available in e-book and in paperback), is called “What Causes Rising Tides?” When I first began researching mission movements and expansion over the past two millennia, I focused on the people that God used in various time periods. To name just a few:
- Peter, James, John and Paul in the Early Church era
- Willibrord and Boniface and Patrick during the Middle Ages.
- Count Zinzendorf, William Carey, David Livingstone and J. Hudson Tatlor during the first and second waves of modern missions.
- Loren Cunningham, Bill Bright, and Luis Bush in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Yes, God uses people to advance His work on earth “There came a man sent from God whose John was John” (John 1:6).
But He also works through five other key factors that unleash, sustain, and grow His waves of redemption.
1. Unity – among believers, the fruit of humility and prayer, is a key proponent in the advancement of God’s kingdom. Unity is the main focus of Jesus High Priestly Prayer in John 17–that his people “would be One as I and the Father are One” (John 17:21).
2. Revival – this is God’s people coming back to “life” through the power of His Spirit. Charles Finney said that “revival is nothing less than a new beginning of obedience to God.”
3. Providence – God has plans for peoples and nations in every generation. The key is finding what He is doing and flowing with His wise and righteous desires.
4. Technology – Using the tools of the time to share the Good News, whether it is the Roman roads and Greek language of the 1st century, the ocean-going ships of the age of exploration, the Gutenberg printing press of the Reformation, or the airplanes, sound systems, and Internet of the modern world.
5. Prayer – The fifth and maybe most important factor in God’s reviving nations is the power and dynamic of prayer. I call it either the fire or fuel of revival and missions. In fact, I normally put it first on the list because it seems to be the essential human activity that sets everything in motion.
When God’s people pray, then supernatural things happen. Chinese missionary Jonathan Goforth once explained: “There’s no secret to revival. Revival always comes in answer to prayer.”
As 2016 enters its fourth month, it appears that the God of the universe is launching some pre-revival winds of prayer that could certainly affect the United States and beyond. I not only want you to be aware of what He is doing, but also encourage you to join in–either on location or in your own home and community.
Something is afoot this spring. Desperate prayer is rising in the world’s leading missionary-sending nation. Here are a few of the encouraging signs.
East-West Revival Sandwich?
Amazingly, God has led two different spiritual movements to call strategic prayer gatherings on the same day–this Saturday, April 9, 2016–2600 miles apart. One is in the east in our nation’s capital. The other is in the west in the city of Los Angeles.
Washington, D.C. is the “city of authority”–where our laws are enacted and enforced. Los Angeles is the “city of influence”–the cultural and artistic hub of the United States of America.
On the same day and time, on two different coasts, in two of the most important urban centers of America, God is leading his people to gather to Him and pray desperately for our nation and world.
Here are the two God-inspired events.
This prayer gathering is an invitation from Lou Engle, leader of The Call, and a prophetic voice to this generation of youth. Lou says:
“Believing that decades of globe-spanning prayer have saturated the heavens, we will boldly ask God for the rain of revival on April 9th, 2016. We will consecrate an entire day — 15 hours — for the purpose of unity, miracles, healing, and the proclamation of the gospel. Our rally cry: Come, Holy Spirit! Instead of 120 in the Upper Room, we seek to gather as many as 120,000 in one place and one accord to simply exalt Jesus. And for inspiration, we turn to the most powerful expression of revival in modern times: the historic Azusa Street Revival of 1906.”
If you are anywhere near LA this Saturday, don’t miss a once-in-a-generation clarion call to the Church to embrace and receive a 21st century outpouring. If you live elsewhere, here’s how you can participate in Azusa Now:
- Phone apps: Apple – https://appstore.re/us/Ydnjbb.i. Android – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=me.doubledutch.the call
- Webcast: www.AzusaNow2016.com
Azusa Now is primarily a call to the Millennial Generation. We need another Azusa Street visitation from God. Will you join your heart and prayers with Azusa Now?
On the other side of the nation, at the same time as Azusa Now, up to 30,000 pastors and spiritual leaders will also be crying out to God to bring a nation-shaking revival to America. United Cry DC 16 is a broad movement of groups of pastors and leaders.
“Gathering in our Nation’s Capital has been of historical and spiritual significance. It has been a major gathering place for Christians to come together in solemn assembly to pray and repent for their nation. Each time thousands of Christians gathered to pray in Washington, DC, our nation encountered significant events and God intervened.”
“Throughout our American History pastors have also always played a significant role in bringing about spiritual and social transformation in our nation. We need our pastors to rise up, teach us how to pray, and lead all of us within the Body of Christ back to a relationship with the Lord! Strong times call for strong measures – It’s time to gather again and pray!”
So while the youth are crying out to God in the west, the pastors and leaders will be crying out to Him in the east. “From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the Lord’s name is to be praised” (Psalm 113:3).
Maybe God will use April 9, 2016 to fulfill Malachi 4:6: “And He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.” That’s the last verse of the Old Testament–and it’s loaded with significance.
The coming of Jesus follows.
3. National Day of Prayer – May 5, 2016
One month after Azusa Now/Cry Out DC16 comes the annual National Day of Prayer for the United States. Some 40,000 gatherings for prayer will take place around the nation on that date. This year’s theme is “Wake Up America” which seems to line up with the building crescendo of prayer that God is inspiring.
I will be in the nation’s capital that week for a variety of meetings with the National Prayer Committee and the official prayer meeting on Capitol Hill and the evening city celebration.
Go to the NDP web-site and find out what’s happening in your area. If there’s nothing nearby, why not schedule your own prayer meeting at school, church, or in your home?
4. Together 2016 – July 16, 2016
In July, God has initiated another national gathering of youth to call out to God for revival in America and around the world. Called Reset or Together 2016, it follows the legacy of past Washington For Jesus, Promisekeepers, and The Call movements to mobilize this generation to seek God’s face.
The leaders of Together 2016 want America to reset–a great modern word for repentance. They are praying for one million young people to join them on the National Mall on 7-16-16.
Can you come? If not, can you join in prayer?
A final prayer focus of note is Franklin Graham’s Decision America Tour 2016 where the evangelist is traveling to the capital city of all fifty states this year to lead gatherings for repentance and prayer. Please go to the web-site and look up the date for your state–then go in person or pray right where you are.
There are many things to intercede for in America and world. Broken families. Back-slidden cultures. A slumbering Church. Racial division. Millions of aborted babies. Economic malaise. Floods of refugees. The scourge of terrorism.
Columnist Steve Berman believes that God could even use our prayers, like he did during the dark days of the Revolutionary War, to bring a change of godly leadership to America:
“We, however, like George Washington, can submit ourselves to prayer. Those who do pray and seek God know His power and that He can conduct 9,000 troops to safety under the eyes of the red coats. He can certainly change the hearts of disaffected and estranged voters.”
“So when the time comes to unify, God can be in our midst to draw us together. There’s a more powerful force than politics (thank God He is) at work here, and the answer to our unity problem is found in Him, not in polls, or personal insults, or accusations.”
Exactly right–through God’s power.
Will you join God’s pre-revival winds of prayer?