How many gifts will come with instructions that begin with “start here.” Our journey with Christ in 2012 needs to start here.
The English revivalist Gypsy Smith challenged his listeners to take a piece of chalk and draw a circle on the ground. Once the circle was complete, get inside the circle and pray, “Lord God, send revival and begin it right here in this circle!”
We desperately need a movement of God’s Spirit in our day. As individuals, churches and a culture, we have insurmountable problems that our best human ingenuity cannot fix. We need the Lord to sweep into our churches in a fresh way. We need a great spiritual awakening to blaze through our communities and our culture.
No one can make God do anything. Local church and Convention leaders cannot launch a program to cure what ails us. We need the fresh wind of God’s Spirit and a fresh fire burning in our hearts.
How can we get in a position for God to powerfully move? We know from the Scriptures that God wills to do more through His people than any of us could ever imagine. How do we cooperate with Him for a movement of His Holy Spirit? We know every work of God in history was preceded by the work of the Holy Spirit in individual lives through prayer.
So, on our knees we must go! We must meet Him inside the circle of His presence. There we have a powerful opportunity for healing to come to broken lives, fractured families, addicted captives and cold, hardened hearts.
It is time for us to call out to the Lord, “Begin Your reviving work right here in this circle, right now, for Your glory. Lord, start a spiritual awakening right now in this circle, in me!”
At the first of the year, Missouri Baptists, Southern Baptists have a huge opportunity to join with countless others across the nation in a humble journey of 21 days of prayer and fasting. Such an exercise is a powerful discipline that sets the tone for an entire year of seeking the Lord. I would recommend starting on January 2 and completing the guide on January 23.
If the Lord were to choose to visit His people who were consecrated to Him in a fresh way, can you imagine the outcomes? Historically, we’ve heard of what happens when the Holy Spirit is released through God’s people. You have read as I have about the Layman’s Revival (1856-58) that led to over one million people surrendering their lives to Christ.
As a young seminary student, I heard C. L. Culpepper testify about the movement of God in a remote province of China. Today there are remnants of the Shantung Revival continuing to impact China with the Gospel witness. It is amazing what God will do through people who seek Him with all their hearts.
I saw with my own eyes the movement of God healing a racial divide in a Louisiana community. Racial tensions exploded in this small community in rural Louisiana. One day over 17,000 people from all over the nation arrived and accelerated the animosity with words of hatred and bitterness from state and national spokespersons.
There was a remnant that realized all the promoting, unrest and profiteering was not right and they sought God’s face. After a few months of contrition and repentance, the Lord graciously moved. It all started in one church with public confession and asking one another for forgiveness.
Then for nine weeks, evangelical pastors and churches of every stripe, every racial background met and sought God’s face. To accommodate all the people coming, the evening meetings moved from the church building to the local high school gym. People from hundreds of miles away drove to be part of what God would do next. Hundreds of people were born again.
Where once a community was ripped by hatred and prejudice and resentment, the Lord transformed the culture of this central Louisiana community. Generations will tell the story of God moving in their lives and community.
It’s time to be honest before the Lord. It’s time to repent. It’s time for us to realign our lives with the Word of God. It’s time for our lives to be awakened to what matters the most to our God.
To assist, MBC has posted at www.MoBaptist.org/prayer a free downloadable 21-day devotional guide. Awaken was written by Claude King who was also co-author with Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God. I had the honor to assist with the editing of this guide and believe it could powerfully position our lives for an amazing work of God. Join me in the journey, a 21-day journey of prayer and fasting.
“O Lord, awaken our souls to You in a fresh way. Begin in my surrendered heart a fresh work that consumes my thoughts and captivates my words. Start right here in me.”