Wednesday, February 22, 2006

February 22, 2006

Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. Daniel 7:27

What if God answered our prayers? What if God created an awakening in answer to our prayers that swept through the Peninsula and we witnessed the tremendous effects of being salt and light in our community? What if bars shut down? What if the crime rate dropped? What if abortion clinics and pornographic outlets closed down? What if the quality of our schools and testing scores rose? What if ethnic tension was transformed to racial unity? What if poverty was reduced? What if I told you that wouldn’t be the first time it has happened on American soil?

On 9/23/1857, a 47-year-old New York City businessman by the name of Jeremiah Lamphier decided to do something radical with his lunch hour…he decided to gather with other businessmen and pray for his city! After much publicity, he waited for his many colleagues to show up, and only six did. But the next week, 20 did and the next week 40 did and after that, so many showed up and the prayer hour was so sweet, they moved the weekly meeting to a daily one. Thanks to the telegraph, word spread of the prayer meeting to other cities and lunchtime prayer meetings took off all over the country. History records that it was the passion in the heart of that lone businessman that led to what is called the Second Great Awakening in America.

J. Edwin Orr, former professor at Fuller seminary, in his book entitled The Event of the Century: the 1857 and 1858 Awakening records how the revival fire spread from New York to other cities: “Prayer meetings were spread in other parts of the land. Both in city and country: Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, Chicago and other cities shared this glorious work. The spirit of revival spread everywhere and seemed to permeate every nook and corner of the great republic.”

It didn’t end with prayer, God heard and moved. Bars and brothels closed down, crime rates dropped, newspapers and magazines wrote about the influence and hundreds of thousands of conversions were recorded.

This Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, March 1, our church will engage again in a 40-day prayer experience for revival on the Peninsula. On Sunday, you will receive a booklet called Seek God for the City which daily contains prayers of Biblical hope for every segment of society. Each day we will pray for a different segment! (City Officials, women, teachers, the homeless etc…)

Where is all this going to take us? Only God knows! He has told us clearly that our community and the nations for that matter are there for the asking, and we are called, as Christ followers into the ministry of intercession for them. (See Psalm 2:8)

Please pray right now, counting the cost, (15 minutes a day!), and ask God, “Do you want me on this 40-day journey? Can you give me the faith to believe you for a third Great Awakening? Am I this generation’s businesswoman, housewife, businessman or student, (We will have children’s prayer guides as well!) that history will record who took you at your word, exhibited great faith, hit my knees and was the genesis of a Great Awakening?” Why not you?