It’s true that America is in a desperate spiritual crisis. But I have assurance that we are on a collision course with God’s revival power.
On September 13, 2006, President G.W. Bush stated that he sensed America is standing on the brink of a third great awakening. He cited the First Great Awakening of the 1700s, under Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, and the Second Great Awakening of the 1800s, under Charles G. Finney and Peter Cartwright. A third great awakening in America, proclaimed by the leader of the most powerful nation in the free world in the 21st century—now that’s exciting!
It’s also very much needed. Although we have hundreds of thousands of churches in America and thousands of Christian radio and TV stations, America’s moral fabric is being torn apart—not just in the streets or the church pews but also in the pulpits. People no longer have a fear of God; prayer and the Bible have been removed from our schools; the Ten Commandments have been removed from our courthouses; and abortion, divorce, sexual perversion, sexual abuse and same-sex marriage are rampant.
The state of the nation reminds me of what Matthew says about Jesus’ return: “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37-39, NKJV). In this hour, we are seeing the fulfillment also of Romans 1:28-29: “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness” (KJV).
A reprobate mind is a mind that is void of judgment—a mind that can no longer tell the difference between right and wrong. Would this be a good time for a great spiritual awakening in America? Clearly, the answer is yes!
However, a spiritual awakening is not something that can be planned or organized by man; it must be orchestrated by God. What can we do to cooperate with Him? We must pray for God to raise up ministers of the gospel who are on fire for Him and whom He can use to ignite spiritual fervor across the country.
We don’t need more life coaches and success motivators, running the same circuits, with messages that all sound exactly the same. We don’t need more people who treat ministry as a money-making business, publishing books that have a form of godliness but no power in them, and producing albums with wishy-washy lyrics void of anointing. We don’t need more agencies that suck money out of ministries under the guise of giving advice and direction.
What we do need are more men and women full of the fire of the Holy Spirit, speaking the word of the Lord, and carrying the presence of Jesus to a lost and dying world! We need radical men and women of faith who are God-pleasers, not man-pleasers, and who are interested in building not their own kingdoms, but the kingdom of God.
The focus of the next great awakening must be souls. We must set out to reap a harvest and to see the nation shaken by the power of God. I believe that if we press into God, humble ourselves, submit to His Word and His Spirit, allow Him to change us, and obey Him in spite of whatever persecution we may experience, He will send a nationwide spiritual awakening that will affect every area of our society.
We Need Revival
During the Welsh Revival, under Evan Roberts, 150,000 souls were saved, bars closed down, and football teams were disbanded because of the awesome presence of Jesus that invaded every area of society, causing people to totally lose interest in worldly pursuits. Even work in the mines was disrupted because the donkeys did not understand the new, clean, curse-free commands coming from their masters’ mouths!
In America, Christians have not had much of an impact on society in general. One reason is that we have tried to do things in our own ability, forgetting that it is not by might, not by power, but by the Spirit of God that we accomplish anything (see Zech. 4:6).
For example, many Christians have attempted to influence Hollywood only to come under Hollywood’s influence themselves. Many Christian politicians have gone to Washington, D.C., as principled individuals but after being in power a few months, they compromise their principles and fall into the same corruption and deception as the non-Christians in office.
What is it going to take? Another television preacher, another green prayer cloth, another telethon, another Christian agency ready to take the latest up-and-coming preacher to international stardom and fame?
No! It is going to take a revival in the hearts of the preachers of this land—a revival that will bring the fear of God back into the pulpits, flood the pews and flow out into the marketplace! That is what a great awakening is all about!
It’s not about another service or conference; it is about the presence of God invading every realm of society. This cannot come about until a sense of eternity invades the pulpit and flows down to the people—until they stop living for the moment and realize that every decision they make has eternal consequences.
In my view, having a great awakening in America is not an option; it is a necessity. And though we cannot make it happen, we can help to lay the groundwork for it. First, we must repent—not for other people’s sins, but for our own. Then we must come to a place of empowerment through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as directed by the baptizer and head of the church—Jesus Christ. He told His disciples, “‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me … to the end of the earth'” (Acts 1:8). The power of the Holy Spirit is for every believer, from the youngest child to the oldest saint, and it is available today.
Third, we must realize that the Great Commission is not the “great suggestion”; we must ignite our passion for Jesus and begin to share the gospel in whatever sphere of influence the Lord has given us. We must get over the idea that in order to be a missionary, we must go to Third World nations and foreign fields. A missionary is not one who crosses the sea, but one who sees the cross.
The Lord called my wife, Adonica, and me as missionaries to America from Africa because America is a mission field that needs to be worked and harvested for eternity. If we do not see a great awakening here, 15-20 years from today America as we know it will cease to exist. There will be an explosion of cults and the occult and a rising tide of Islam. A whole generation of young people will be raised with no fear of God and no respect for authority. Anarchy will reign!
But I believe we will see a great awakening, and it will bring about a mass mobilization of the body of Christ, with each member carrying God’s eternal purpose in his heart and mind. The move of God, and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in and through every believer, will result in signs and wonders taking place outside the four walls of the church.
God’s presence will be manifested in the marketplace; in day cares; in elementary, middle and high schools; and on university campuses. God’s power will be demonstrated in all these places, resulting in mass conversions and whole regions being shaken by the power of God!
Reaping the Harvest
Some prophets are prophesying judgment over America, but I don’t believe God is preparing to judge us as a nation yet. His grace and mercy are still reaching out to this land because so many millions still have not heard the gospel.
When judgment does come, it will begin in the church, starting in the pulpit and moving to the pew (see 1 Peter 4:17). We should not dread this but welcome it, for when judgment comes to the church, the fear of God will grip the hearts of lukewarm Christians and set them on fire for Him.
Such fervor is crucial for Christians to see the need and begin to win souls. It is wonderful to pray, but we must also act. The harvest is not a problem; it has always been ripe. It’s the lack of laborers that is the problem (see Luke 10:2).
We have to go beyond simply attending Sunday services and start to have an impact on every city in every state—until this land is shaken by the glory of God. When it is, many areas of our society will change, beginning with the government—from local levels, such as town councils, all the way to the House of Representatives and the Senate. God will once again be on the lips and in the thoughts of the people—and not just in times of trouble.
The economy will be impacted; the educational system and the media will be transformed. Just think about what would happen if Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities were shaken by God’s power, became evangelical Bible schools, and sent missionaries to the far-flung corners of the globe, as their founders intended! Years ago we traveled from the United States to Europe to lead a crusade. As our plane lifted off the ground in New York, I began to write this poem for America:
the lady her beacon beams
To all those tired and weary,
come to freedom’s dream
And now that freedom threatened,
revival her only hope
America, your time has come,
to fulfill your heavenly goal
From the grandeur of Alaska,
to the blue of the Florida Keys
From the Aloha of the Islands,
to Maine it’s plain to see
Fifty nations, it seems to fill your shores,
as weary travelers come
To seek the joy that freedom brings,
and to bask beneath your sun
The cry my heart desires,
as one born out of due time
The burning cry of revival,
from one of your newest sons
America, America, may your Eagle soar again
High above the clouds of darkness,
back into His glory once again.
I believe God is answering the cry at the end of this poem for Jesus to reign in glory over our nation. I believe we stand on the brink of the Third Great Awakening, a revival that will result in the greatest harvest of souls the world has ever seen.
I pray that you will cry out to God and ask Him to take a coal off the altar of heaven and place it on your lips so that you can speak His words to this generation. You are His hands, His feet and His mouthpiece on the earth today. It’s time to rise up and bring in the great harvest!
Rodney Howard-Browne is the founder, with his wife, Adonica, of Revival Ministries International and the pastor of The River at Tampa Bay (revival.com). To read more about the First and Second Great Awakenings, log on at charismamag .com/awakenings.