Patterns of Spiritual Awakeningsby Michael Edds on January 1, 2019
Patterns of Spiritual Awakengs
Excerpts from Christian History magazine
By Michael Edds
"Spiritual awakenings manifest patterns that are similar, often strikingly so. While all of the following elements may not be present in each instance, for the most part awakenings progress through a cycle whose phases include these various aspects of God's working."
1. Awakenings are usually preceded by a time of spiritual depression, apathy and gross sin, in which a majority of Christians are hardly different from secular society, and the churches seem to be asleep. The causes of each decline differ widely, but when the prophetic voice and moral leadership of the Church has been stilled for some time, social evils are usually rampant.
2. An individual or small groups of God's people become conscious of their sins and backslidden condition, and vow to forsake all that is displeasing to God. Christians recall past outpourings of God's grace and power, and long to see them again. When histories of awakenings have been written in later years, it has been occasionally discovered that individuals at great distances and completely unknown to each other had, prior to the awakening, been praying simultaneously to the same end!
3. As some Christians begin to yearn for a manifestation of God's power, a leader or leaders arise with prophetic insights into the causes and remedies of the problems, and a new awareness of the holy and pure character of the Lord is present. This standard of holiness exposes the degeneracy of the age and stimulates a striving after holiness by God's people. The leaders find that their eagerness for God's moving is shared by many who have been waiting for God to act, and who will rise to follow.
4. The awakening of Christians occurs: many understand and take part in a higher spiritual life. Evangelism of the unsaved may or may not accompany this renewal of Christians. (Salvation of the lost occurs when Christians are restored to image of Christ and holiness. This great transformation in Christians leads to a stirring in the community. God "comes down" into the lives of Christians and then "moves out" into the community.
5. An awakening may be God's means of preparing and strengthening His people for future challenges or trials. Throughout history, renewal has often come before persecutions and severe trials. (The First Great Awakening came prior to the American Revolution. The Third Great Awakening occurred a few years before the Civil War. Azusa Street occurred before a great earthquake in California and before World War I.)
Do you see these patterns at work among God's people today? The answer is YES ! The more I see, hear, read and discover from others and from the Lord, I believe we are at the third pattern or stage. The "old wells" of revival are about to be reopened, "fallen mantles" are being picked up and "new fountains" are about to burst forth!