“Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:49, NKJV
Early in our new year of 2018, I am urging all of our readers to join me in a deeper commitment to prayer and fasting for the greatest spiritual awakening in the history of our nation. Decades before our Declaration of Independence there were many colonial prayer warriors seeking God for a spiritual awakening. The first moving of the Holy Spirit actually came before America gained its freedom. Historians consider that colonial believers were influenced by Jonathan Edwards, a Congregational Pastor in Northampton, Massachusetts, and George Whitefield, a British Evangelist. This first revival occurred in the 1720s.
Other spiritual movements occurred throughout the nation in the 1800s; In the 20th century, however, few spiritual movements measured up as great awakenings. But this is not to discount some citywide and denominational outpourings of the Spirit. The Azusa Street in California (1904) and the Asbury Seminary (1950s and 1970s) were remarkable revivals, but most of our spiritual leaders find them lacking in the impact of full-scale historic awakenings.
Since “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV), and since we have enough evidence in the signs of the times as predicted by Jesus and His apostles that we are living in “the last days” preceding Christ’s Second Coming, why not believe God for a mighty full-scale spiritual awakening that will exceed all previous outpourings of the Spirit! We must have the kind of awakening that will resurrect the dry bones of the Church and reach out to and draw millions of lost souls to Christ.
Surely, nothing would please God more than seeing and hearing millions of professing Christians in America “Humble themselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways” (II Chronicles 7:14, NKJV). He promises to hear from Heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land!
Please! Let us heed the urgent call of the Holy Spirit at this hour to prayerfully and humbly prepare our hearts and lives to meet the conditions required for revival. I urge us to consider the following:
- Our Mighty Weapons. The apostle Paul told the carnally divided church in Corinth that “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . .” (II Corinthians 10:3-5, (NKJV). Men and women of the world, including Christians who have not yet discovered life in the power of the Holy Spirit, place great emphasis on brilliant minds, ideological concepts, eloquent diatribe, and human cleverness in pursuit of their goals. However, in pleading with God for revival, spiritual warriors must pray for the wisdom, boldness, faith, obedience, and endurance which all come from the Holy Spirit.
- Our Protective Armor. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12, NKJV) In verses 14 through 16 the apostle lists the seven pieces of armor:
- Girdle of truth. Truth here is more than the human virtue of sincerity and honesty; it is knowledge and belief in the Word of God.
- Breastplate of righteousness. I believe the apostle has in mind here the purity of heart that results in the believer’s inheritance gained in Christ’s righteousness, which is now being lived out in obedience.
- Feet shod in the Gospel. A picture that is to be imagined here is of a soldier well balanced in footwear, meaning prepared, steadfast, mentally alert, and courageous.
- Shield of faith. The believer has already experienced saving faith; next comes living by faith daily; then, with the Spirit-filled life comes the battle of faith–strong enough to target the flesh as well as evil forces who seek to rob, steal, and destroy his or her faith and kingdom efforts.
- Helmet of salvation. Since a helmet protects the more vital part of our bodies, I think the apostle is referring to our minds. In battle, we must remember who we are and whose we are. “You are of God . . . He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (I John 4:4, NKJV)
- Sword of the Spirit. We pray the Scriptures—the very word of God, and we plead the promises of God in a spiritual battle.
- Spirit-inspired prayer. Prayer is our greatest weapon. Satan hates and fears this our greatest weapon more than anything else. But, it is one weapon he cannot defend against, except to prevent it.
- Our Urgent Summons. Throughout the entire Church Age, Spirit-filled Christians have responded to the Spirit’s call to a ministry of prayer. But, never has the Spirit sought to get their complete commitment to prayer as He is in these days. We live in dangerous, divided times of evil. The Church has never been weaker, and the world has never been more wicked. And because of the revival of wickedness, Jesus warned that “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12, NKJV).
In our pursuit of reaching a spiritual “critical mass,” we believers must get filled and refilled with the Holy Spirit—rekindled with holy fire to fast and pray and see the power of God break and defeat the evil powers that hinder the release of divine outpourings of the Holy Spirit!
Immediately after Jesus was filled with the Spirit, “He fasted forty days and forty nights” (Matthew 4:2, NKJV). Before meeting Satan in the wilderness of temptation, Jesus felt the need to prepare His mind and heart and will for dealing with the devil. For prayer warriors to prevail against the evil forces hindering the release of the glory of God on the weakness of the Church and the wickedness of our world today, it will take prayer, faith, obedience, and fasting—all inspired by the Holy Spirit. By Jesus beginning His ministry with fasting, He has set an example for the kind of praying God requires to resurrect the dry bones of believers and to redeem the lost.
O Thou God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the God of Elijah, John the Baptist, the apostle Paul, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, and Billy Graham, we come believing You to hear our prayers and pour out Your Spirit on Your needy Church. Bring an epidemic of repentance among saints and sinners throughout our nation! Just as You fell on that wicked city of Ninevah long ago under the prophet Jonah and poured out that first Pentecostal Revival on the 120 believers in that Jerusalem Upper Room, so in these last days call us to prayer and fasting and faith and holy fire for the kind of revival You are going to release in our time to prepare both the church and the world for the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! In Jesus’ Name, I plead! Amen!
Rev. Jim and Shirley Tharp’s Winter Schedule
Saturday Morning Prayer Group: From 10 am to 12 noon, Pastor Tharp leads a prayer meeting, interceding for revival and a great spiritual awakening. We are meeting at 724 Glider Lane, Belgrade, MT. If you are in the area, you are welcome to join with us for intercessory prayer.
Sunday Mornings from 9:00-9:30 Mountain Time: Every Sunday Pastor Tharp broadcasts a sermon over 99.1 FM on his program, A Call to Prayer, which is heard in several counties of Montana. At a future date we plan to include these broadcasts on our website so that everyone worldwide can listen to them.
Prayer Partners, please keep our schedule as a reference in praying for our ministries.