Prayer Key To Awakening

Prayer: Key to Awakening
By Dave Earley

The first major revival in America occurred in the 1730’s – 1740’s. It is now called the Great Awakening as godly repentance and true conversion swept through the colonies transforming society and revitalizing Christianity. In the early years of the divine outpouring, an estimated 50,000 people were converted out of a New England population of 250,000 (20%) As God’s work continued the number of Baptist churches grew from 9 to 400. Other denominations also experienced growth and multiplication.
America in Need of Revival

America in the 1730’s was in dire need of God. Gambling, drunkenness and sexual immorality were spreading especially among young adults. Churches were floundering were many unconverted members. Spiritual impotence was such that one pastor remarked that “religion lay as it were dying, and ready to expire its last breathe of life.”

Revival Begins
In 1729, a twenty-six year old pastor named Jonathan Edwards took over from his grandfather the role as sole pastor of the North Hampton Church. It was one of the largest and wealthiest churches in colonies. Because of a lack of land in the area, many of young adults could not marry and start a family. They were wasting their time late at night drinking and in sexually immoral behavior.

A few in the church were fervently praying for a spiritual break-through and an out-pouring. Edwards began to preach against the sin and the nature of divine judgment in the face of resistance by his flock.

In 1734, Edwards began to preach the gospel clearly in a series of sermons on “justification by faith alone.” After two young adults died unexpectedly, his words finally were received and six young adults were converted including a young lady known as the worst sexual offender. Her changed life became the talk of the town. Within six months, 300 of the 1,100 people in town were converted (25% of the population).

When Edwards wrote of the events in his book, “A Faithful Narrative of Surprising Conversion (1737).”  He said, “The town seemed to be full of the presence of God.” He also said, “Our public assemblies were beautiful, the congregation was alive in God’s service, everyone earnestly intent on public worship.”

The revival spread through-out New England. As the revival began to cool, George Whitefield, one of the leaders of the Great Awakening in England, came to America to preach in 1739. He and Edwards joined together and revival renewed, grew and spread through all the colonies as thousands more were converted.

Prayer: The Key to Revival

Later, Edwards began to tell others of the great importance prayer plays in revival.  In 1743 he published Thoughts on the Revival in New England. In it he said,

“It is God’s will through His wonderful grace, that the prayers of His saints should be one of the great principal means of carrying on the designs of Christ’s kingdom in the world.

When God has something very great to accomplish for His church, it is His will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of His people; as is manifest by Ezekiel 36:37.

And it is revealed that, when God is about to accomplish great things for His church, He will begin by remarkably pouring out the spirit of grace and supplication (see Zechariah 12:10).”  – Jonathan Edwards

In 1746, Edwards began to sense that the extraordinary power and momentum of the First Great Awakening was beginning to wane. He knew that Christians needed to urgently pray. So he took it on himself to write a call to united prayer. The title of the booklet says it all, A Humble Attempt to Promote the Agreement and Union of God’s People throughout the World in Extraordinary Prayer For a Revival Of Religion And The Advancement Of God’s Kingdom On Earth, According To Scriptural Promises And Prophecies Of The Last Time (Jonathan Edwards 1746). The title says it all!

In it he stated, “That which God abundantly makes the subject of his promises, God’s people should abundantly make the subject of their prayers.”  He also said, “There is no way that Christians, in a private capacity, can do so much to promote the work of God and advance the kingdom of Christ as by prayer.”

In the 18th century, America experienced a great spiritual awakening that brought in a huge harvest of souls as a result of united prayer for revival and the advancement of God’s kingdom.

We can’t we see the same? Why don’t we put revival atop our prayer lists?

It happened before, it can happen again!

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JERICHO

JERICHO!!!
By Dave Earley

Twenty-five years ago, I was flying into Israel on Israel’s premiere airline (EL AL – to the Skies”). As we approached Israel, I was very pleased that the airline’s radio played an exciting historical event for tourists – the account of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.

You remember the story, God gave Joshua a big challenge – cross the Jordan river at flood stage and capture the Promised Land beginning at the impregnable city of Jericho.

God also gave Joshua an unusual battle plan,
1. Being led by the Ark of the Covenant, they were to march around the city once a day for six days.

2. March around the city seven times on the seventh day.

 

3. After the marches are complete, the priests were to blast their trumpets and all the people were to shout together.
As you know, after all of the marching, trumpeting and shouting, the walls fell down and the Israelis stormed the city and won a great victory! Yeah God!

I don’t think the marching or the yelling was what knocked the walls down. God simply did a miracle in response to the faith of the people.

Jericho Week at Grace City

            UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) is our Jericho.  The large urban university (29,000 students) is one of the least reached campuses in the US. Built around a Mormon (LDS) “church” and Institute of Religion Student Center, the campus has historically been very resistant to Christian groups. Campus Crusade has recently given up, the Southern Baptist group did not number more than a handful last year, and the largest Christian group (Inter-Varsity) has about 30 students.

            As a predominantly commuter school, the hub of campus life at UNLV is the Student Union. For us, the Student Union and the free-speech green space north of it will serve as our base of ministry. We plan to re-launch several of our student Bible studies there in two weeks.

We believe that no Christian ministry will succeed at UNLV without first winning the battle in the spiritual before attempting to do ministry. Therefore, we have planned what we call JERICHO WEEK with prayer centered in and around the Student Union of UNLV.

                                     

This year we will enact a three-part strategy.

  1. Faith Walking: Joshua 1:1-3 The Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, who had served Moses…  I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses.

God promised to give them every place where they stepped. We are going to walk around the Student Union the Library and the main courtyard believing God will advance his kingdom and give us revival and a harvest souls in this place.

  1. Faith Stepping: Joshua 3:15-17 As soon as the priests carrying the ark reached the Jordan, their feet touched the water at its edge 16 and the water flowing downstream stood still… The priests carrying the ark of the Lord’s covenant stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel crossed on dry ground until the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan.

Joshua 4:24 This is so that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the Lord your God.”

Joshua 5:1 When all the Amorite kings across the Jordan to the west and all the Canaanite kings near the sea heard how the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, they lost heart and their courage failed because of the Israelites.

When they stepped into the flood waters by faith, God did a great miracle that grew their faith, silenced their enemies and testified to the world. We are going to believe that God will do such a miracle on campus this year that it will build our faith, discourage our enemies and tell the world God is alive!

  1. Faith Proclaiming Joshua 6:5 When there is a prolonged blast of the horn and you hear its sound, have all the people give a mighty shout. Then the city wall will collapse, and the people will advance, each man straight ahead.”

When they blew the horns and shouted, the walls came down. During Jericho Week, we will hold our house of prayer on campus in the student union from 9 AM-12 noon Monday through Thursday and also in the evenings. We will worship pray and intercede in the student union. We also intend to spend some time in the heart of the campus proclaiming the greatness of God. We are going to read some of the greatest hymns of praise recorded in the book of Revelation.

OUTREACH WEEK
Jericho Week leads us into a week of outreach on the campus of UNLV. We will have various outreach events including a large block party going on campus.

Please pray with us and for us for a great break-though this year at UNLV and in Las Vegas.

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PRAYER SUMMITS

PRAYER SUMMITS
By Dave Earley

James Edwin Orr, considered the foremost authority on revival, has stated, “When God is about to do something new with His people, He always sets them to praying.”  Dr. A. T. Pierson stated, “There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.”

Tired of the status quo. Hungry for more. Pastors’ and church leaders are showing a new zeal to seek God in united prayer. Last week, along with Kevin White, the Executive Director of the Nevada Baptist Convention, I led Pastors Prayer Summits across the state of Nevada.


On three separate days we saw God powerfully move on the hearts of pastors in Las Vegas, Reno, and Central Nevada.

I felt the sessions in Central Nevada were especially powerful and necessary. The spiritual hunger was evident as the pastors travelled at least an hour and almost all of them drove over two hours to be there.

I am also encouraged because the session in Nevada were not the only such meetings I have been asked to lead this year. In January, I also led a Day of Prayer for 50-60 pastors of the various congregations of Transformation Ministries. Based in the western part of the United States, Transformation is a partnership of likeminded Baptist churches who work together to see growing pastors, healthy churches and communities reached through church planting.

Besides that, I got to spend parts of two days challenging the top leaders of the global mission agency ABWE in the areas of prayer and spiritual leadership.  ABWE (American Baptists for World Evangelism) is a strong global force with 1,000 fulltime missionaries. It is now under the leadership of our longtime friend Jim O’Neill.

I am further encouraged because Pastors Prayer summits are springing up around the nation. I have already been invited to speak at a large one in Virginia this winter.

Recent happenings in the Middle East and the steep moral decline of our nation, demands a response. So let’s begin to cry out to God together for revival. We have tried everything else to no last avail. Now is the time to turn to God like never before.

  • Psalms 85:6  Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
  • Psalms 80:18-19 . . . revive us, and we will call on your name.  Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
  • Habakkuk 3:2  LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.

 

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PRAYER KEY TO REVIVAL

PRAYER: KEY TO REVIVAL
By Dave Earley

“Every time in the history of the church revival has come, it has followed extensive prayer and seeking of God’s face by some of His children.” – Wesley Duewel.

Grace City strives to be more than just a church plant and even more than a church planting movement. We hope to do our part to help catalyze a revival that awakens churches and results in mass evangelism across the United States.
It has a happened before and it can happen again.

During an 18 month period from September 1857 to early 1859 it was estimated that 1/15 of the population or 2 million people were saved. That’s 10,000 new converts joining the church in America each week. The Washington National Intelligencer reported that in many New England towns not a single unconverted person could be found.  (Today the US population is 310 million and 1/15 converted would be 20 million!)

This revival had no special organization, no human promoter, and no set structure.
It has been written that, “A canopy of holy and awesome revival influence – in reality the presence of the Holy Spirit – seemed to hang like an invisible cloud over many parts of the United States, especially over the eastern seaboard. Those approaching the East Coast [of America] felt a solemn, holy influence, even one hundred miles away, without knowing what was happening in America.
Revival began on board one ship before it reached the coast. People on board began to feel the presence of God and a sense of their own sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicted them and they began to pray. As they neared the harbor the captain sent this message, “Send a minister.”

Another boat arrived in port with every member of the crew having given their heart to Christ as they neared the coast. Ship after ship told the same story, both passengers and crew came under conviction and turned to Christ before they reached the American coast.”
The same powerful work of God was felt in shops, fields and factories. Charles Finney wrote, “A divine influence seemed to pervade the whole land.”

It was not a revival of preaching but a revival of prayer.
Finney wrote, “I recollect in one of our meetings in Boston that winter a gentleman arose and said, I am from Omaha, Nebraska. On my journey east I have found a continuous prayer meeting about two thousand miles in extent.

This great, unprecedented move of God can be traced back to a businessman and lay preacher named Jeremiah Lamphier. As financial panic gripped Wall Street, he simply began a weekly prayer meeting at the Dutch Reformed Church on Fulton Street in New York City. Anyone could attend and stay for a few minutes or the whole hour.

The first day he prayed alone for the first half of an hour before being joined by six men. The second week there were twenty. The third week nearly forty came and they decided to meet daily. Soon they numbered over a hundred. Within a month there were prayer meetings at other churches.
In March of 1858, six months after the start by Lamphier, over 6,000 people were meeting in 150 churches throughout New York City. Soon every city on the East Coast had noon prayer meetings. Businesses closed at noon for prayer.

Those attending the prayer meetings felt the awesome presence of God, prayed for specific people, expected answers and got answers. For example, a father asked for prayer for the salvation of his three sons who were living in different parts of the country. The sons knew nothing of this. Within weeks the father received three letters, one from each son telling how they had gotten saved.

Lost people would show up at the prayer meetings and ask to be prayed for. By May, 50,000 were reported to have been converted in this prayer revival. By June, it was nearly 100,000. Eventually, the number was about 2 million.

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Does God Care

DOES GOD CARE?
Dave Earley

Las Vegas is Sin City. Sin has a price tag and the price tag is brokenness. Yet, it is not only Las Vegas “sinners” who experience suffering and sorrow. We all do.

The question we are faced with is this: Does God care?

Sometimes when we are hurting, we feel all alone and that, of all people, God has no idea what we are experiencing. This is a lie.

Two thousand years ago, God stepped out of paradise in Heaven so He could experience our pain. He not only saw our suffering, He tasted it, He wore it, He lived it, and He died as a result of it.

The ultimate and only pure picture of a bad thing happening to a good person is the cross. Jesus Christ was the only sinless person who ever lived. He is the Son of God and God the Son. Yet, He experienced the ultimate in bad. Pain, suffering, sorrow, and evil resulting from sin filled the cup that Jesus drank in full measure.

Are you struggling with emotional anguish? Many of the people Jesus had lovingly healed and fed called for His crucifixion. His friend betrayed Him, His best friend denied Him, and His followers abandoned Him. He was spit upon and mocked. Jesus knows about emotional pain.

Are you frustrated by injustice? The witnesses at the trial of Jesus lied about Him. The courts operated illegally to convict Him. Even the governor, after plainly stating “I find no fault with this man,” condemned Him to death.

Are you in physical pain? Remember that Jesus was beaten. He was whipped nearly to death with a whip designed to shred and rip the skin off His body. He experienced crucifixion—the most painful type of execution the Romans could imagine. Jesus died gasping for air, pulling against spikes in His wrists and feet, writhing for hours in front of a vicious crowd.

Is your battle against spiritual torment? The eternally innocent One, Jesus, had the filth of our sins dumped upon Him. His own Father had to turn His back on His then sin-covered Son. Darkness, torment, and hell filled the cup He drank down for us.

Imagine the excruciating agony of the Heavenly Father, after an eternity in union with His Son, being forced to turn away at His Son’s greatest point of need. Imagine having the power to remove all the pain from His Son, but knowing that to do so would leave the world cursed by sin.

Does God know anything about pain? You have got to be kidding. On a much higher, deeper, broader level than we can possibly imagine, God experienced exactly what it is to have bad things happen to a good person. He knows what it is to suffer, and He knows how to help us in our suffering.

Are you in deep anguish? Battling bitterness? Staring at a thick wall of doubts and questions? Worn out by your pain? You need God. Take your pain and turn it into prayer. Talk with God. Tell Him that you hurt. Tell Him you need encouragement. He is there.

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STIRRED BY LOVE TO DO SOMETHING

STIRRED BY LOVE TO DO SOMETHING
By Dave Earley

I love looking at the lives of people who were moved by God to do the difficult in order to try and make a difference. David Wilkerson was such a man.

He was the pastor of a small church in Phillipsburg PA when he saw a Life Magazine cover photo of seven gang members arrested in New York City. He was stirred by love believing that “Love is not only something you feel. It is something you do.”

He left his comfort zone and did something. He resigned his church, moved to the city and began a street ministry to young drug addicts and gang members. He understood that the key to city impact was not going with the goal of making converts, but going with the goal of meeting needs. Then he said, “The conversions would take care of themselves.”

He later stated that as he began to actively love gang members, meet their needs and proclaim to them the love of God, God began to do miracles.  He also build his ministry with a strong belief in prayer, “The day you learn to be publically specific in your prayer that is the day you will discover power.”

Later that year, Wilkerson founded an addiction recovery program now known as Teen Challenge. The ministry grew and expanded and now helps alcoholics, drug addicts, gang members, prostitutes, and others of all ages bound by life dominating and disabling issues. It now includes more than 1000 centers in 82 countries, Studies show that graduates of the program are less likely to return to their addictions and are more likely to be employed than those who went through similar non-faith based programs.

Wilkerson then wrote a book, The Cross and the Switchblade. It told the true story of Wilkerson’s first five years in Brooklyn as he ministered to disillusioned youth, encouraging them to turn away from the drugs and gang violence they were involved with. It details the conversion of gang leader Nicky Cruz. In the book, Wilkerson tells how he reached Cruz,

“Nicky Cruz: You come near me and I’ll kill you!

David Wilkerson: Yeah, you could do that. You could cut me up into a thousand pieces and lay them in the street, and every piece will still love you.”

The book became a best seller, with more than 16 million copies distributed in over 30 languages. It has been recognized by Christianity today as one of the “Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals.”

Several years later, the book was turned into a major motion picture by the same name starring Pat Boone as David Wiklerson and Erik Estrada as Nicky Cruz.  The film has been viewed by an estimated 50 million people in over 30 languages in 150 countries.

Wilkerson did not stop there, he then began Youth Crusades, which was an evangelistic ministry aimed at teenagers whom Wilkerson called “goodniks”—middle-class youth who were restless and bored. His goal was to prevent them from becoming heavily involved with drugs, alcohol, or violence.  Later, he moved his ministry to Texas and began a national ministry to college students and also a global ministry for missions.

In his mid-fifties he continued being stirred by love and moved to Manhattan and launched Times Square Church. The church quickly grew to include people from over 100 nationalities and now has over 5,000 people involved weekly. It became aggressive in serving the community by feeding the homeless, and helping the disenfranchised. It developed a large emphasis on prayer and a large Thursday PM prayer meeting.

At the end of his life, Wilkerson said, As I look back over fifty years of ministry, I recall innumerable tests, trials and times of crushing pain. But through it all, the Lord has proven faithful, loving, and totally true to all his promises.”

He was killed in a car crash at the age of 79.

The legacy of David Wilkerson is that he allowed himself to be stirred by love. He left his comfort zone and left a big footprint. He made a difference that is continuing today.

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Worth IT

#worth it
By Dave Earley

When it is 110 degrees and my back hurts and I’ve have had a long week and my allergies are acting up and I’m tired of living in “Sin City” it is easy to wonder, “Why am I doing this?”
I think about having most of my family living 2,300 miles away and I miss my friends. I consider the book contracts, the great retirement plan and great health insurance I left behind. I think of people we have poured our lives into in Vegas who have gone back to their addictions. I consider giving up and I ask, Is it worth it?”

Then God allows us to be a part of something that answers the question in bold print. YES, IT IS WORTH IT!

Thursday night, in spite of the heat 110 degree heat several hundred people came to the park for a Jesus Party. God reminded me through several people that it is worth it.

Buford, one of my friends who has been attending our Sunday night Grace City Flamingo services, asked if he could talk to me privately. I have learned that with street people, what will happen next is they will tell you a sad story and ask for some money. After giving them the money, you should not expect to see the money again.

Just a couple of weeks earlier, I had given Buford enough money to cover his rent so he would not have to be homeless. So I was thinking, I am not going to give him anymore money.

But this was different.

He pulled me aside and said. “I told you that when I got paid, I would pay you back.” Then he opened up his wallet and tried to pay me back!  I was so proud of him I almost cried. He seemed fairly proud of himself as well.

Then there were four ladies (Sandy, Lori, April, and Leslie) from Center Grove Baptist Church in Clemons NC who came to spend the week serving with us. They had wash basins and joyfully washed the feet of strangers’. You need to understand that some of those feet had not been washed in a very long time and smelled awful. Plus they painted some little girls nails for the first time.

Sam and Graham
, two of our pastoral leaders, did a great job of boldly sharing the gospel.

Ben (an intern from Virginia), Angel (the homeless advocate) and Gary and Lashunda (who we met in the park last year and since then have been saved, freed of drugs, baptized, married, and have both gotten jobs ), along with a lot of other great people served several hundred people free hamburgers, hotdogs, chili, chips, cookies, pop, and ice water. They gave out snow cones and popcorn (more snow cones than popcorn). They helped little kids play in inflatable bounce houses and have their faces painted.

Sherri,
who lost her best friend this week, was meeting people at the registration tent.

Xavier came to the park to get drunk and left with Jesus. Viktor, an ex-gangbanger, was brought to the park by his family and found new purpose pursuing young gang members for God. Plus a dozen other people were deeply touched by the love and power of God.

Rachel Pezzuto
and her kids heard me speak at a Spotswood Baptist Church in Virginia last year. Since then, they wanted to come to Vegas and serve with us –which is pretty cool! What really blessed me is when she told me that she prays for us every day!
So yeah,

I guess it is worth it.

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