by Holly Culhane
A dear friend works in Washington, D.C., commuting weekly from her home in the Pacific Northwest and flying home each Thursday for the weekend. She’s a dedicated public servant, shepherding well her family, her team, her District, and believes deeply in the power of prayer.
On a recent Saturday morning, I received the following text from her….
“After flying home from D.C. Thursday evening and feeling a bit desperate by the state of affairs nationally, I was helping my daughter study for her history test the following morning. It was on the First Great Awakening which happened between 1740-1742. It was described as a religious revival that emerged in the English colonies in America. Two theologians used by God were George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards, with the latter well-known for preaching the sermon, ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’ – one of 18,000 sermons he preached! Later, I went on Wikipedia where evangelical preachers were described as those who ‘sought to include every person in conversion, regardless of gender, race, and status.’ Revival theology stressed that religious conversion was not only intellectual assent to correct Christian doctrine but had to be a ‘new birth’ experienced in the heart.
“I encouraged my daughter to ask her teacher the dates of the Third Great Awakening….
“According to Wikipedia, the Second Great Awakening of the 1830s was preceded by New York City prayer meetings. Leaders such as Charles Finney say women’s public prayer as a crucial aspect in preparing a community for revival as mothers were seen as the moral and spiritual foundation of the family. Evangelists stressed Christ’s humility and forgiveness and often directly addressed issues such as slavery, greed, and poverty, laying the foundation for later reform movements against the consumption of alcohol, for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery, and addressing a multitude of other issues faced by society.
“When I picked up my daughter after school and asked her if she had asked her teacher about the Third Great Awakening, she said, ‘No.’ I then asked her teacher the question. She then responded, ‘2022!’
“Isn’t it noteworthy that many today are going ‘woke’? How about praying for a Great Awakening? How about asking God to turn a global pandemic into a global revival of souls?
“May we repent of living a spoiled life and turning our back on God and issue a clarion call for revival – a new obedience to God?
“Great struggle can produce great clarity. Do it again, Lord! Amen!”
Yes! May we – as shepherd parents, pastors, partners, supervisors, managers, lay leaders, Board members, and friends – repent and awaken to a new obedience to our Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd.