Friday, 17 February 2012

A Call to Prayer for Revival


Yesterday, I emailed this call to various leaders across the Anglican church. If you feel that the LORD is calling you to join us please indicate when and how you will do so in the comments below. 
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6)
It’s good to be Anglican, however, what I’ve observed in my own parish and diocese and during my time serving on the Council of General Synod shows me that we and other mainline churches are in a season of decline in both attendance and finances.

Faithful, intelligent people are doing their best to turn this around with strategies across the church like Fresh Expressions and Vision 2019.

We need to add something to those efforts. We need to embark on a new movement of concerted, united, sustained prayer across the churches across the country. What shall we pray together for? Let’s ask for a revival; an awakening; a spiritual refreshing; an ecclesiastical renaissance; for the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to breathe new life into us and our communities through the power of the Holy Spirit. Canon Dr Max Warren, described as the greatest General Secretary of the Church Missionary Society in the Twentieth Century, defined this kind of revival as
a reformation of the Church for action…a reaffirmation of theology, resuscitation of worship, renewing of conscience, and it is all these within the Church and for the Church. (J Edwin Orr, The Restudy of Revival and Revivalism, (1981), p. iv)
God, the Holy Spirit, has chosen to breathe new life into the church many times through history. The common denominator in the beginnings of such spiritual awakenings is prayer. In the nineteenth century it was concerted prayer, for example, that launched an awakening across the United States which grew churches like Trinity Episcopal in Chicago from 121 members in 1857 to 1,400 in 1860. This growth was not the result of clever programming but because of a prayer generated spiritual awakening by which hearts were warmed to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

These events were not only filled churches, society was transformed, social justice happened. For example, one such spiritual awakening,
released the energy of Newton and Wilberforce to attack and subdue the trade in slaves. (The Book of Alternative Services, Introduction, p. 9)
At St Barnabas we have begun gathering for prayer on the second Sunday of each month at 6pm, for at least an hour (Mk 14:37), in the church. We have decided to step that up to every Sunday during Lent. There is also a small group of Lutheran pastors associated with the ELCiC renewal fellowship praying on second Sundays. Although it would be good if at least some of the praying is simultaneous, time zones and schedules make that impossible. The time and day don’t matter so much as that systemic, concerted, united, sustained prayer happens.


SOME RESOURCES
From Scripture
Psalm 85:6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 
Isa 57:15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. 
Hos 6:2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 3 Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth." 
1 Chr 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
From The Book of Common Prayer
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin:  Grant that we, being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end.  Amen. (The Collect for Christmas Day, p104)
From The Book of Alternative Services
Let us ask the Lord to renew the Church through the power of his life-giving Spirit. (from the Morning Litany, p118)
Eternal Giver of life and light…Renew your Church with the Spirit given to us in baptism, that we may worship you in sincerity and truth, and shine as a light in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. (The Collect for the Easter Vigil, p329)
Living God, in Christ you make all things new. Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. (The Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, p352)
Almighty God, your Son revealed in signs and miracles the wonder of your saving love. Renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. (The Collect for the Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, p356) 
Almighty God, in our baptism you adopted us for your own. Quicken, we pray, your Spirit within us, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. (The Collect for the Sunday between 9 and 15 October, p385) 
Almighty God, grant that we who have been buried with Christ in baptism may be raised with him to newness of life. Renew us by the power of your Holy Spirit that we may live in righteousness and true holiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (The Collect for Confirmation, p 624)
PRAYERS FOR THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA'S GENERAL SYNOD VISION 2019


Vision Statement
Will you not revive us again (Psalm 85:6) so that, as we rejoice in you, we will clearly and truly become a people who know, love, and follow Jesus in serving God’s mission.


LORD, HEAR AND HAVE MERCY.

Marks of Mission 
Will you not revive us again (Psalm 85:6) so that, as we rejoice in you, in Jesus' Name, the Marks of Mission will be made manifest in our lives as we

  • proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God
  • teach, baptize and nurture new believers; 
  • respond to human need by loving service; 
  • transform the unjust structures of society; 
  • advance reconciliation and peace among all people; 
  • strive to safeguard the integrity of God's creation.
LORD, HEAR AND HAVE MERCY.


Priorities
Will you not revive us again that (Psalm 85:6) so that, as we rejoice in you, in Jesus' Name, our national church will be faithful and skillful in enabling and encouraging our church’s mission by

  • creating structures that work;
  • improving and enlivening communications; 
  • wisely responding to statistical trends;
  • gathering and generously providing financial resources to equip ministry across Canada; 
  • building bridges across the Church and beyond.

LORD, HEAR AND HAVE MERCY.

Practices
Will you not revive us again (Psalm 85:6) so that, as we rejoice in you, in Jesus' Name, our national church will be faithful and skillful in

  • developing leadership education for mission, evangelism and ministry;
  • supporting ministry through the Council of the North;
  • walking with Indigenous Peoples on a journey of healing and wholeness;
  • working toward peace and justice;
  • engaging young people in mutual growth for mission;
  • enlivening our worship;
  • being leaders in the Anglican Communion and in ecumenical actions.

LORD, HEAR AND HAVE MERCY.


SOME ANGLICAN CONNECTIONS WITH HISTORIC REVIVALS
The “morning star” of the eighteenth century Revival in Britain was Griffith Jones, an Anglican rector, who taught 150,000 Welsh people to read besides preaching the gospel. (J Edwin Orr, The Restudy of Revival and Revivalism, (1981), p. 1)
THE AWAKENING OF 1792 ONWARD
The spiritual preparation for a worldwide awakening thus began in Great Britain…believers in one denomination after the other, including the evangelical minorities of the Church of England…devoted the first…Monday evening of each month to pray for a revival of religion and extension of Christ’s kingdom overseas. (Ibid., p. 10) 
Anglicans successfully promoted abolition of the slave trade. Significant reform was achieved in the prisons…the Sunday School movement…humane service to animals began…benevolence in the missionary movement…Many of the social advances of the times were derived from the awakening. (Ibid., p. 12)
In September 1857, a man of prayer, Jeremiah Lanphier, started a businessmen's prayer meeting in the upper room of the Dutch Reformed Church Consistory Building in Manhattan. In response to his advertisement, only six people out of a population of a million showed up. But the following week there were fourteen, and then twenty-three when it was decided to meet everyday for prayer. By late winter they were filling the Dutch Reformed Church, then the Methodist Church on John Street, then Trinity Episcopal Church on Broadway at Wall Street. In February and March of 1858, every church and public hall in down town New York was filled. ("Prayer and Revival" - J. Edwin Orr)
In 1859, phenomenal awakening was reported in the city and environs of Newcastle-on-Tyne; out of Gateshead came evangelists William and Catherine Booth. (J Edwin Orr, The Restudy of Revival and Revivalism, (1981), p. 29)
One outcome of the movement was to fill the theatres of London with twenty thousand auditors to hear the gospel preached on Sunday evenings. These were attended by the masses, whereas St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey were packed by upper-class and middle-class. The seasonal attendance in special meetings exceeded a million. The Protestant churches of London added 200,000 seats to their accommodations, 60% increase in the revival period, outstripping population gains. (Ibid, p. 30)
THE AWAKENING OF 1904 ONWARD
The Archbishop of Canterbury called for a nation-wide day of prayer. Thirty English bishops declared for the Revival after one of their number, deeply moved, told of confirming 950 new converts in a country parish church. (Ibid, p. 44)
In 1921, a prayer movement began in East Anglia, which led to a remarkable revival…which packed out churches both Free Church and Anglican. (Ibid, p. 50)