Help for churches that want to make prayer more foundational to their entire ministry
Ashley Madison and Revival
By Jonathan Graf
Thanks to the Ashley Madison website hacking, it was a rough summer for Western Christianity in general—and some Christian leaders in particular. The site was designed to allow people to set up “secret affairs” online. Thousands of people signed up, never dreaming their hidden lives would be revealed to the world. Josh Duggar may be the best-known Christian whose sinful activity has been outed by hackers. But a sizeable number of pastors and Christian leaders were also publicly embarrassed by their hidden attachment to this site.
The more I thought about this, however, I thought, Wait a minute. This is not bad! The answer to our prayers is beginning to germinate. Revival, which once seemed somewhat dormant, is beginning to show signs of life. Revival is on its way!
How do I know that?
As I have challenged churches over the past 20 years to raise the bar on prayer, there is one thing I often see as they first start the process—something I call “hidden things coming to light.” Typically, as a church begins praying more and asking for the transforming work of Christ in its midst, suddenly the truth comes to light that an elder has been sexually abusing his daughter (or some other sad and grievous sin). Or perhaps the marriage of a key couple in the church suddenly implodes, even though there were no visible signs of trouble.
I believe these things often happen (though not always) for two reasons:
First, I think Satan wants to see if a church has the fortitude to withstand the results of prayer. He tries to make prayer so messy that people back away from serious intercession. I have seen this happen in several churches. Fear and pain brought on by unpleasant exposures can cause people to cease praying for transformation.
Second, if Jesus Christ is going to release His transforming power in a church, all masks must come off! He will allow those hidden things to come to light so that repentance, forgiveness, and healing can take place.
Many have been praying for revival for decades. Others are just now recognizing that it is getting darker and darker in our nation and that a fresh move of God is the only answer. Prayer—a unified crying out in desperation—is the key. So more and more prayer is rising up.
I believe God is beginning to move in response to our cries. But first He will move in a way that purifies His Bride, the Church. He is allowing the falseness, the pride, the dabbling in the world, and the secret sins in the Church to be exposed. Why? So repentance will follow and healing can come. Then He can pour out His Spirit in a powerful way to cause His Church to once again be a light in a dark place.
As you continue to pray for revival in the Church and spiritual awakening in our nation, do not be alarmed at what happens in the physical world. God will use the building turmoil in this nation for His glory—to purify and revive the Church and to bring many lost to Himself. Pray that a spirit of repentance and humility will fall on us so we can, in turn, be the salt and light Jesus calls us to be.
–Jonathan Graf is the publisher of Prayer Connect.