For years many well-known Christian leaders have been saying, “The only hope for America is a national revival.” Unfortunately, all too often we respond to these statements with a wholehearted “Amen” without understanding why that is, or what our part could be in ensuring national revival.
For me, one of the most wonderful things about being “born again” is the love we suddenly receive. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states: “Therefore if anyone be in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” (NKJV) The person of the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you and a powerful new compassion, a compassion that Paul described as “a love that surpasses all understanding” Ephesians 3:19a (NKJV) is placed there by the Holy Spirit. This love has an electrifying effect and we suddenly find ourselves mysteriously bonded to everyone else who has had the same experience.
In Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21, He prays “That they all may be one, as You Father, are in me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” (NKJV) I have seen the most hardened criminals come to Christ and be so filled with His love that they weep as they pray for their fellow inmates at their prison chapel services. This God-infused love is a love that’s so strong that I have seen people give up their professional careers, leave America and their close family members and become full-time missionaries in third world countries to reach a people group that they have never met. I have seen married couples who were in the middle of a bitter divorce come to Christ, and be born again and have so much love for each other their marriage becomes like a teenage romance. The love of God has a powerful unifying affect that can even draw a whole nation together during a revival movement that sweeps from town to town, city to city, and state to state.
As a revivalist I am often called by God to preach on the topic “Are you truly born again?” It is always an unpopular message. What was once commonly preached in all the churches is in today’s world frowned upon for fear it will offend congregants. However, if you are truly “born again”, one of your first experiences will confirm the authenticity of your decision. That experience will be the sudden indwelling of God’s undeserved love for all of mankind. For the first time in your life, you will love those that are hard to love with an authentic love, and you will also love and worship God in a way that you never before dreamed possible.
Sweeping revivals such as are documented to have happened in 1727,1792,1830,1857 and 1882, had profound impacts on the entire regions. Some had national fruit impacting the whole country. The common denominator in this type of revival seems to be that the region or country where the revival breaks out gets to a place where the sin in that region is so bad people start crying out to God for intervention. Are we there? Every revival that I have found in history was birthed during a concentrated season of intercessory prayer. Interestingly, God invariably sent revival as a result of prayer initiatives started by common unknown people within their communities thus ensuring that no prideful human could take credit for God’s actions. This should come as no surprise to us because God always choses the humble, to do His work. 1 Corinthians 1:27 says, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty”. (NKJV)
We must accept the fact that God has chosen to limit his power on many things to the prayers of men and women. When Cain was asked, “Where is Abel your brother?” He gave an answer that should ring a prophetic call bell in our hearts: “Am I my bother’s keeper?” The truth of the matter is that the Great Commission was given to the disciples and from them to us from that day forward, commanding us to reach all people groups with the good news of salvation. “And He said unto them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’” Mark 16:15 (NKJV). Yes we are our brother’s keeper. We all think about the great disunity that exists in the world around us. Just think what would happen if a huge revival broke out that spread nationally and millions were “born again!” Just think how God’s love would unite our hearts! Just think if we all agreed with God’s Word!
In 1904 in the country of Wales a revival broke out after which not one unsaved person could be found in the whole country. Crime went to zero percent and the police, having nothing to do, formed quartets and traveled around singing in churches. While it is unlikely that a revival could have such a national impact here, documented cases of smaller pockets of revival have swept regionally throughout our nation several times in history. I like to ask people who conveniently believe that all revivals are just sent by God’s sovereign hand, “If God sovereignly sends a revival to a people group totally by His own free will and thousands of people are wonderfully saved during that time period, how is He fair and just to the people who died without Christ who never had such a revival sent to them? Let’s start realizing both that we need a great national awakening to unify our nation, and also that if we paid a price in prayer a revival could come! What if we started believing that revival was up to us, and not up to God? May we begin to pray that way today!
Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is www.verticalsound.org.