Revival – To Sweep Our Nation Of Its Present Moral Crisis
By Sarah Foulkes Moore
The awful plagues of lawlessness, divorce, political corruption, mammon-madness and pleasure-worship now eating like destructive termites at the foundations of our nation will vanish as darkness before light with the coming of a national revival of faith in the God of our fathers.
A thoughtful study of the effects of religious awakenings on our national history should make prayerful men and women, at this crisis time, feel seriously the grave responsibility of praying frequently and working effectively for a heaven-sent, Spirit-given revival of Christian faith – to restore multitudes in backslidden churches and save our civilization.
Writing of the conditions prevalent in the Thirteen Colonies in the early part of the 18th century one historian says: "Intemperance, profanity, licentiousness and every form of vice prevailed as never before in their history."
Moral restraints were cast off and existing social order was so deplorable that the colonial defense against the tyranny of George II was rendered negligible.
It was a crisis time in colonial history. Yet it is a matter of record that the Colonies met the crisis successfully through the magnanimous influences of a religious revival.
Under the earnest and eloquent preaching of Jonathan Edwards and others, revivals began to break out all over New England. Augmenting the revival ministry of Jonathan Edwards was that of George Whitefield who traveled from Maine to Georgia on horseback, everywhere turning men to God through his mighty pleadings.
New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Savannah turned to God under the persuasive preaching of this young Englishman.
Benjamin Franklin writing of the results in his journal says: "From being thoughtless and indifferent about religion it seemed as if all the world were growing religious so that one would not walk through Philadelphia without hearing Psalms sung by different families in every street."
The year 1800 was another critical year in American history. The population had now reached the mark of five million people and the national boundaries had extended toward the Mississippi.
But in her zeal for expansion, the nation had become irreligious and "impiety, contempt for law, profligacy in public morals, profanity and lawlessness" increased and abounded.
The territory lying beyond and reaching into Ohio and Kentucky was described as follows: "Immunity from law courts had attracted the most vile and abandoned criminals and deterred virtuous people from making settlements. Murderers, horse thieves, highway robbers, counterfeiters, and whiskey makers fought decency with guns, clubs, and knives."
Tom Paine and Voltaire largely influenced the ethical and philosophical thought of the day. American colleges teemed with French skepticism. Leading the liberals in spiritual revolt was Thomas Jefferson, while Aaron Burr sought to split the nation asunder with his treasonable activities.
Economically, politically and socially, America faced another crisis. And the second time in its history the forces that saved the country were those generated by the religious awakening beginning in the early part of the 19th century.
This old-fashioned revival began in Kentucky and spread through seventeen states. Historians writing of those "camp meeting days" declare: "Neighborhoods noted for vicious and profligate life are as much noted now for piety and good order."
The transformation resulting from this spiritual awakening directly opened the way for winning the West and annexing it to the United States.
The Third Revival
With the discovery of gold in California, and the extension of the national boundaries in the bold acquisition of Mexican states, and the ensuing prosperity of rich harvests, railway and steamship developments, America once more turned from God to the worship of mammon.
In 1855 she found herself in the midst of a terrible panic, unemployment, want and despair. To add to the grim terror of those days were the ominous rumblings of the coming Civil War, national disruption and fearful strife.
The national peril was great. Again and for the third time, God turned His hand upon America and saved her from ruin.
Beginning in a businessman's noonday prayer meeting, a revival burst into flame which rapidly spread north and south. The cry, "What must I do to be saved?" pierced the air. Thousands turned to God.
The revival continued unabated throughout the conflict of the North and the South and was, under God, the means of reconciling the warring interests in the civil conflict.
"Never in the history of mankind," comments one historian, "was a civil war followed so quickly by a reconciliation so genuine and so perfect."
The Next Revival
Today America is facing a crisis. Only one thing can save America, and that is to get back to her spiritual undergirdings, and return to the faith of the forefathers. Only a visitation from on high will turn the tide, and save the day.
The responsibility of securing this spiritual revival rests entirely with praying men and women. Prayer groups and companies, whole churches and assemblies should be organized to intercede for a national revival.
In 1900 Wales faced a crisis. This crisis was met by organizing three hundred extra prayer groups to pray down a heavenly visitation upon the land. All Wales became as one great prayer meeting. What was the result of this organized banding together to seek the face of God for an imperiled nation? Within a short time revival fires began to sweep Wales and in two months over seventy thousand turned to the Lord.
Revival Follows Prayer!
There is no revival where there is no prayer. What America needs today more than able statesmen, more than the passing of new laws is men and women to get desperately determined and in earnest to have God work in revival power, and to take hold of God in an agony of importunate prayer (Isa. 64:1-7; 66:8).
The responsibility of calling America to prayer and taking hold of God, of getting down on our faces before Him and staying there until He again visits us from on high, and once more diverts a crisis in our national history – is your responsibility and mine!
Our one solemn concern in these days should be to give ourselves to faithful, constant, prevailing prayer for America! Let the people of God everywhere in America recognize the tremendous power of prayer, and mobilize and organize their forces at this strategic point and our country will be swept out of the present moral crisis and into a great religious revival.