Sermon Illustrations

First Step to Spiritual


The need for turning to God has never been more urgent than today. The latest fads of social Christianity and religious programs have been unable to deliver Americans from their economic concerns, fear of terrorist attacks and moral decline.

Many in America have become like the people of Jerusalem, of whom God had the prophet Jeremiah write when He became grievous over their willful sinful behavior. (Jeremiah 8: 1-12)

“Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” (vs. 12) Sadly, God was speaking judgment against not only the kings and the officials of Judah, but also against her religious leaders, her priests and prophets. However, God had made Solomon a great promise. Whenever He judged a nation economically, physically and spiritually, He would forgive repentant sin and restore their land. “…if My people who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered…” (2 Chronicles 7: 14 - 15)

Men of God who have spent much time in prayer and study, have found that all true revivals, those that have had a real lasting effect on the country, began when men of God took off their rose-colored glasses and took an honest Biblical look at their own spiritual condition, their congregation’s Christian testimony before the public and their effectiveness in meeting the community’s social and economic needs.

Men such as Jeremiah Lamphere and the Rev. James McGreedy did just that. They wept before God in true concern for their own spiritual condition, that of God’s children and of their communities. They started prayer vigils that met daily or at least weekly. They fasted and challenged and encouraged Christians to endure in true prayer for over a year. They cried out like King David did, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139: 23)

Studies of the great revivals of the early and late 1800’s, which came about as a result of these prayer meetings, proved them to have had a very positive effect on this country and produced these characteristics in people who responded to God’s call to repentance and holiness: 1.) A hunger for the knowledge of God as revealed in His written Word; 2.) An intense conviction of sin, leading to repentance; 3.) Godly humility and brokenness; 4.) Deliberate acts of reconciliation and restitution; 5.) A growing interest and practice of personal and corporate prayer; 6.) A joy in worship that was untainted and pure. God was center stage and the Lord Jesus Christ was the sole object of people’s adoration and worship; and 7.) Flourishing evangelism. People became active in reaching their families, friends and co-workers for Christ.

The first step to a true spiritual revival, that will have a powerful effect on America, begins with searching our own hearts and then enduring in prayer until revival comes.

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