"Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known" (Habakkuk 3:1).
Looking back over the history of America, we discover that our Triune God blesses us with a season of spiritual awakening every fifty years or so. The First Great Awakening was followed by a Second. Then, after World War II, we experienced yet another season of spiritual vitality. So, if our Triune God works in the future as in the past, it’s about time for a new season of spiritual renewal or revival.
Or maybe not.
A study of the history of Christianity in America also reveals a common denominator to seasons of awakening: pervasive and prevalent prayers of the church for such a blessing. But we don’t hear many prayers these days for a fresh season of spiritual renewal. It’s been a while since I heard an American Christian pray, “Lord, I have heard of what you did in the First and Second Great Awakenings; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day; in our time make them known.”
Speaking for myself, I tend to equate such prayers with fundamentalists who often link prayers for spiritual renewal to prayers for the nation. They seemingly pray for God to bless America by blessing the ministry of the church. Personally, I am uncomfortable with linking the two, though I am sure one would impact the other. Hence, not wanting to sound like a Christian nationalist or fundamentalist, I seldom pray for a season of spiritual renewal for my community. Shame on me.
But I am not alone. I have sifted through a large pile of books on the ministry of the contemporary church in America and I have been reminded that, as American Christians, we prize our industry, creativity and strategies. We tend to think that we can help our Triune God fulfill the divine mission in America through solid leadership, a clear vision frame, ample resources, cross-cultural adaptability, dynamic small groups, and a post-Christian world view. We often fail to acknowledge that seasons of spiritual renewal begin with our Triune God (and, more often than not, in ways beyond our comprehension).
So today I invite you to join me in offering to our Triune God the prayer of Habakkuk for a season of spiritual renewal in our communities: “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known.”