It is hard to overstate the significance and timing of this year’s SBC Annual Convention Theme “The Third Great Awakening.” With the Supreme Court deciding against the biblical definition of marriage, praying for the next great awakening is more crucial than ever. But regardless of whether America first sees spiritual awakening or worsening consequences of rebellion, true churches can still see revival!

Especially in times of spiritual battle and societal darkness, it is crucial for believers to resist two common spiritual hindrances-discouragement and doubt.  If the early Church could face such devastating persecution with boldness and joy, we can also. As they stood strong by God’s grace and Spirit, we too can experience His victory. The very last things believers should do in seasons of darkness are to lose faith or become timid.  (2 Tim. 1:7-8) In fact, challenging times can be important moments for spiritual growth and renewal.

Difficult periods are often times of spiritual sifting. Spiritual sifting separates between those who are deeply committed and those whose commitment is surface. It is no accident that many great awakenings have come at times of major societal darkness, persecution or both. Furthermore, true revival always comes from a committed, purified remnant, not the compromising lukewarm majority. In times such as these, it is vital for believers to keep their eyes on Jesus and their hearts filled with His faith and joy. Toward that end, it is important to remember three great truths.

1. Be of good cheer in the midst of darkness and tribulation. In John 16:33, Jesus reminded His disciples to be at peace and rejoice in spite of many persecutions and trials. The Lord made it clear believers would suffer great tribulation in their days on Earth. Yet, in the midst of trials, a believer’s joy is rooted in two glorious realities. First, the Lord’s grace is fully sufficient and His presence will never leave His people. Second, this world is not our home and Heaven awaits all who know Christ.

2. Do not be surprised or discouraged by the hostility of a lost and dying world. (2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12)  It should be no surprise that believers walk in a different direction and have different beliefs than a world in spiritual darkness. While we should never look down on people or be prideful and unloving, we should rejoice that we can walk in God’s truth. Our compass is the Word of God and truth, not opinion polls.

3. Stay focused on all God is doing and trust Him for ever-greater power. Every believer should be reminded that the prayer movement is deepening, God is working and every knee will one day bow. Rather than let up in prayer meetings and evangelism, these are days for intensification! May believers remember churches can have true revival in days just like these. So rather than retreat, this is the time to intensify prayer, strengthen evangelism and boldly declare God’s truth and glory.

Our office has created five prayer covenant cards that aid every believer in powerful prayer and effective evangelism. In January, we posted several new formats for powerful corporate prayer in churches. For help with intensifying personal prayer, strengthening evangelism and embracing dynamic prayer meetings, check our website or call us at 405/942-3800.