Nearly all Christians understand that evil is prevailing at an alarming rate and that we may be on the verge of a massive recession and unparalleled civil unrest. But we aren't called to run, but to rescue—we must lead in the battle, not leave the battle. (See How to Make a Difference—My Challenge to Readers below.)
God often shakes the physical to get us to respond in the spiritual. Our nation is being shaken to its core. Do you see the calamity, decadence, and perversion all around you? If so, then why are so many "Christians" stagnant, inactive, and lifeless?
Why aren't churches packed and adding more services to accommodate the hunger of God's people? Why are we not setting significant time aside for prayer and fasting? Costco carts are full, but prayer closets are empty! The war on lukewarm Christianity must begin today.
We Must Till the Soil of our Heart
I asked a pivotal question months ago: "Is this our last stand—our last chance?" I'll let God answer that question, but as for me and my house (and our church), we will fight the good fight of faith.
How about you? Will you fuel the flames of revival or continue to quench them? We must prepare for the downpour of the Spirit.
It's time to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. We must cry out, "Oh God, would you rip heaven open and come down?" (cf. Isaiah 64). How do we know that He won't turn and relent from judgment and leave behind a blessing for those who truly know Him (cf. Joel 2:14)?
Darkness often Precedes Light
America crossed a dangerous line years ago. Instead of repenting and turning back to God, we have walked further into the deep waters of ungodliness. The decadence and brutality in our streets are unparalleled in our history as despair overcomes our land. But, believe it or not, I am hopeful.
How can I be hopeful amid such darkness and depravity? Because God often revives His people at very dark moments in history. Before an awakening broke out in Wales in 1904, for example, one observer noted, "It is ever the darkest hour before the dawn. The decay of religious faith, the deadness of the Churches, the atheism of the well-to-do, the brutality of the masses, all of these, when at their worst, herald the approach of the Revival."
Do You Really Want God to Rend the Heavens?
I've released this paragraph a few times over the years. The relevance is so important that I'd like to share it with those who may have never read it:
Years ago, I prayed, "Lord, bring revival to the churches," but I was not ready for the response that followed. After I prayed, it was almost as if God was saying,
"You don't want revival—it will ruin your schedule, your dignity, your image, and your reputation as a person who is 'well balanced.' Men will weep throughout the congregation.
Women will wail because of the travail of their own souls. Young adults will cry like children at the magnitude of their sin. With the strength of My presence, the worship team will cease playing. Time will seem to stand still. You won't be able to preach because of the emotions flooding your own soul. You'll struggle to find words but only find tears. Even the most dignified and reserved among you will be broken and humbled as little children. The proud and self-righteous will not be able to stand in My presence. The doubter and unbeliever will either run for fear or fall on their knees and worship Me—there can be no middle ground. The church will never be the same again."
Do you truly want God to rend the heavens and bring another national awakening? It will cost you: National revival begins with personal revival. The war on lukewarm Christianity has begun. We must repent and turn completely toward God, beginning with prayer and fasting: We think that we are waiting on God, but often, He is waiting on us.
How to Make a Difference—My Challenge to Readers
Gordon Cove once challenged readers: "You have not sought the Lord with 'your whole heart' until you have tried a protracted season of prayer and fasting." Could a lack of prayer, fasting, and repentance be one of the hindrances to a spiritual awakening? Absolutely! Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Fasting doesn't twist God's arm, but it does bend my knee. There is simply too much on the line—a massive spiritual awakening is our only hope.
With that said, I'm embarking on a prayer and fasting journey. "We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again" (G. Campbell Morgan).
If you'd like to join me, I'll be posting updates and motivation every day or two on my Facebook page here.
If you are near Southern California, feel free to join us for Rend the Heavens Week beginning Monday, April 11th at 6 pm through Resurrection morning, April 17th. For those outside of our area, you can watch these services live on our Facebook pages or on my YouTube channel here:
I also want to recommend two resources to read during this time—my books Feasting and Fasting and, Oh God, Would You Rend the Heavens—both are available as free downloads here.
It's time to break up our fallow ground and seek the Lord while He still may be found (Hosea 10:12). We provide the sacrifice; He provides the fire.
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
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Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the WCF Radio Network. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, including free downloads of his eBooks. Visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to his new podcast, Idleman Unplugged. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the new free speech platform Parler.