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Is a Spiritual Revolution the Missing Link in Our Quest for a Political Revolution?

What great things will God do with our generation if we admit our inability to fix this on our own?

Paula Bolyard


June 10, 2013 - 7:50 am
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“I think there’s another revolution coming. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like but I think it’s going to be very interesting and it’s going to unfold over the next ten years. And I think it needs to be a spiritual revolution because I think that our systems are broken. I don’t think our political system will ever work. No matter how great a man, if you cloned JFK and Abraham Lincoln and made them president it wouldn’t matter. Our system is just too corrupt and too broken.”  Rainn Wilson

Wilson goes on to say that he expects to see wild pendulum swings between Left and Right in the coming years. The only answer he sees is a spiritual revolution among the young — “like they did in the ’60s.”

Because the ’60s brand of teen revolution that jettisoned God and authority and traditional values worked out so well the first time around? By all means, let’s try that again! Oy.

Wilson concludes: “It’s gonna have to go to that or we’re all going to destroy each other.”

Are those our only two options?

Wilson is right that our systems are broken — or at least many of them are. Every day it seems we discover a new reason to be concerned about the government infringing on our liberties or we see a sign that our society is in a state of moral decay. Who ever imagined an America where a government agency would demand to know the contents of a group’s prayers? President Obama recently told grads at The Ohio State University to beware of the voices doing their best to “gum up the works.” The sad reality is that “the works” have been gummed up for decades and, despite the best efforts of a generation of good Americans, the gears refuse to budge. Many are frustrated with both parties and are beginning to understand, perhaps for the first time, that our nation’s problems are too immense to be solved with political — or even human — solutions alone.

Dan Lutz, right

Dan Lutz, right

Dan Lutz is one man who feels this way. He said in a recent interview on 95.9 FM:

I’ve tried to have an impact through politics. I’ve tried to have an impact through community service but I just got to the point after that phone call that “Lord, this is up to you now. We need to be on our faces asking for your help.”

Lutz is the chairman of the Wayne County Republican Party. The phone call came from a state legislator who informed him that he planned to introduce legislation that would trample on the religious liberties of many in the state. The official worked with a left-wing group and crafted the legislation without consulting party leaders in his district or his constituents. Lutz said,

The next morning in my devotional time I was reading the book of Judges and reading how God just continually would have mercy on the nation of Israel when they got on their faces and cried out to him and that’s the point I was at. I was thinking, “Lord, this is not something we can really impact anymore. This tsunami of moral decay is just overcoming us.”

Lutz has a long history of serving his country and his community. In addition to being chairman of the county GOP, he is the elected Wayne County prosecutor. Prior to that he was a partner in a successful private law practice and worked as a city law director. He spent four years active duty in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps and has been in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. Reserve since 1993. He is currently an appellate judge on the Navy Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.

But he realized it wasn’t enough.

At around the same time Lutz received that phone call, Pastor Jerry O’Brien of Faith Harvest Fellowship in Wooster was thinking about prayer. His church is well-known in the community for concerts in the park, where they distribute free dinners to the needy, and for taking a 45’ truck to the fairgrounds for food distribution events. But after the National Day of Prayer in May, O’Brien said that he felt that his church needed to focus more on prayer. He told 95.9 FM:

I don’t feel that God wants us to do this once a year. I am feeling that God wants us to do this every day. … I knew that that was going to take a huge commitment from myself and my leadership.

Which is when Lutz called.

Lutz had met O’Brien when he attended a pro-life event on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade at O’Brien’s church, which is in the former home of the Big Picture Theater in downtown Wooster. He asked O’Brien if he would be willing to open up his church Monday through Friday for prayer from noon to 1:00 so those working downtown could come to pray.

“I don’t need someone to drop a house on me to know that this is from God,” said O’Brien.

Occupy Wall Street 1857

Occupy Wall Street 1857

Lutz said he was inspired by the story of Jeremiah Lanphier, who is credited with starting the Third Great Awakening — also called the Businessman’s Revival — which began in New York City in 1857. After enjoying many years of economic prosperity, the United States had overextended itself with visions of Manifest Destiny, which suddenly collapsed with the Panic of 1857:

By mid-October unemployment was 40,000 in New York. The numbers were high in Philadelphia and Boston, too. On Oct 14th the nation’s banking system collapsed. The Bank of New York, the city’s oldest and strongest bank, failed with 17 other leading banks. The other banks in New York City closed for two months from mid-October to mid-December.

Economic stimulus and public works projects failed to fix the problems.

With winter approaching despair set in. Businessmen committed suicide. The middle-class began moving into tenement sections, and the hungry mobs marched on Wall Street to demand that they circulate the millions of dollars they were hoarding their vaults.

Who knew that the genesis of Occupy Wall Street was in 1857?

Even during the years of prosperity before the Panic, the picture was not so rosy for the older New York City neighborhoods. Church attendance had plummeted. Crime was rampant and thousands of vagrant children roamed the streets — many of them young girls who turned to prostitution to survive.

Jeremiah Lanphier, a middle-aged former businessman, worked as a lay missionary for the North Dutch Church in Manhattan. As he walked the streets of the city, Lanphier saw the looks of despair and worry on the faces of the business people during their lunch hour. He conceived the plan to hold prayer meetings and prepared a handbill with an invitation to attend:

This meeting is intended to give merchants, mechanics, clerks, strangers and businessmen generally an opportunity to stop and call on God amid the perplexities incident to their respective avocations. It will continue for one hour; but it is also designed for those who find it inconvenient to remain more than 5 or 10 minutes, as well as for those who can spare a whole hour.

At the first meeting in September of 1857, Lanphier prayed alone for the first half hour. After thirty minutes, one man joined him. By the end of the first meeting a total of six men had attended. The following week twenty attended to pray together; in week three, almost forty attended. They decided to pray daily instead of weekly. By spring, 10,000 (men and women) attended meetings that had spread across New York City in public meeting rooms, fire stations, music halls, and movie theaters. The city was closed for business between noon and 1:00 every day. And then it spread to other cities: Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland. One man observed,

“I am from Omaha, in Nebraska. On my journey East I have found a continuous Prayer meeting all the way. We call it two thousand miles from Omaha to Boston; and here was a prayer meeting about two thousand miles in extent.”

It is estimated that there were a million conversions to Christianity during that time period. Church attendance increased by 20% between 1855-1865 and the country saw the transformational effect of the conversions:

[T]he churches were bettering the condition of destitute and needy as well as giving them the Gospel message. Interdenominational societies as well as the local churches distributed food and clothing, found employment, resettled children, and provided medical aid for the poorer classes. From just a few before the Revival of 1857-58, the city missions increased to several hundreds by 1860.

The “Businessman’s Revival” fortified the nation for its darkest hour:

It prepared the nation for the blood bath it would soon experience in the war years of 1861-1865. It gave birth to the great revivals which swept the armies of the South during the days of the war. It softened the hardship of the period of reconstruction for the South.

Jeremiah Lanphier - Invitation to Pray

Jeremiah Lanphier – Invitation to Pray

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One man saw the worry and despair on the faces of his neighbors in Manhattan and arguably changed the course of history in the United States. Or, rather, God used Jeremiah Lanphier to change the course of history in the United States.

Dan Lutz and Pastor Jerry O’Brien are calling on others across the country to pray — to form lunchtime prayer groups across the country or to pause at noontime wherever they are.

O’Brien said, “Our intent is to draw the church together because there are some challenges that we are facing as the body of Christ in America, [and] if God does not help us with these it will surely go badly for the church.” He cited 2 Chronicles 7:14, saying the church needed to turn from its own sin and seek God:

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.

Lutz said that his goal is not a Christian theocracy: “I am very much opposed to a theocracy because I believe in freedom of religion.” He said that he believes our constitutional republic has divine origins, but warned that if we ignore or reinterpret our Constitution, we will lose the blessings of living under the rule of law.

He said that as he was reading through the book of Judges he realized that it took terrible suffering for Israel to finally seek God. He hopes it won’t take such dire circumstances for the eyes of the American church to be opened:

I’m hoping that this prayer will spread across the country…and that we can get there without having to get to the point that we’re at such a crisis that there’s nowhere else to turn but God, because that’s where He’ll bring us. That’s where He wants us to be, saying, “God, it’s out of our hands, we’re at a loss for what to do at this point. We need you.”

Will a spiritual revolution lead to a political revolution? In Jeremiah Lanphier’s day the spiritual revolution didn’t avert the horrors of the Civil War. We do know that Christian abolitionists on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line worked to end slavery. Would it have lasted another generation without the influence of the Third Great Awakening—the Businessman’s Revival? It’s an interesting question to ponder.

What will God do with our generation if we admit our inability to fix things and cry out to him for help?

The Wayne County prayer group just launched a Facebook page called New Great Awakening for those who want more information or would like to start groups in their own cities.

In addition to writing for PJ Tatler and PJ Lifestyle, Paula also writes for Ohio Conservative Review, and RedState. She is co-author of a new Ebook called, Homeschooling: Fighting for My Children’s Future. She is a member of the Wayne County Executive Committee. Paula describes herself as a Christian first, conservative second, and Republican third.

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Top Rated Comments   
We certainly need one, but it all depends on how it happens and what kind of spiritual revival we're talking about. A genuine revival of His Holy Spirit? Yes, please, but the one from the deceiver who will be able to deceive even the elect? No.

Generally speaking, I don't think conditions in this country have gotten near bad enough for most of its morally bankrupt people to realize how badly damaged and lost they are, yet. I am sorry for all the rest of us who know what's coming, but I think things are going to get much, much worse before people will start turning to God.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Many think revival is a controversial concept. Turning business people of the days faces from the world to HIS face, one at a time, gave freedom beyond all imagination. Humility, surrender, and obedience work in Divine ways.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Humbling ourselves before the Lord is always a good idea, regardless of whether He responds by bringing revival or by using the humbling to strengthen us for trials. I will try to remember to pray.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (28)
All Comments   (28)
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"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."

Nice to hear this passage being applied CORRECTLY for a change. I have been listening carefully to Christian media for a few decades now, and I can't recall a single time I have heard it used properly. It's always applied to America, along with a call for America to repent and turn to God.

American doesn't need to repent.

The CHURCH needs to repent. Judgement begins at the house of God.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The Spirit of Pentecost continues to inspire old and young and gives the church the prophetic power to speak new worlds into being.

This is the world we dream of.

Reformation first. God hid three gifts in the ark within the Most Holy Place – the tablets of the law, a jar of manna, and the budding rod of Aaron; God’s word, His food, and the staff of His shepherd. Jesus is our ark, our Most Holy Place. He is the Word tabernacled in flesh, true bread from heaven, our good Shepherd and great high Priest. By His advent, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus is the manifold gift that constitutes the church through the Spirit as the renewed people of God.
Excerpt from Peter Leithart's Blog from First Things
(Satan the Devil HATES Pentecost Holy spirit action upon human flesh as we can see what Satan the Devil did in the book of Acts in God's word the Bible . Christian must prepare for suffering by removing idols in ones life. This is not easy to do in our materialist culture)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is how I believe every idol is removed. Every thing one has is dedicated to God and it is only as good and useful as a tool for the mission God gives you. Although the times and places for removing every tool so the great revelation can sink in that you are the temple of God
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
this is how my faith is built each day: In my 5th heaven on the great Jesus mount overlooking the great city I visit yesterday, there was a fire burned around the Jesus Mount when the land was dried up but not one wood or leaf or ground was set on fire for the 7 angels in the anointed sanctuaries where my mission for God sent out on the 5th heaven dragon highway which seems like a war almost everyday to keep me in prayer while I drive.
The poor homeless who take away their sorry by getting drunk set the fire so now my mission on this Jesus Mount overlooking is to clean the granite from all their drunken times the broken glass, beer bottles and beer cans, whiskey bottles with my mind and heart on sweeping away Christian sins that prevent the holy spirit to make a home in their temples and how the Devil sneaks in to steal their faith hope and love by way of sin in the temple
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
2nd footnote
And I thankful how almost a foot of rain has fallen to wipe out the threat of fire
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I will pray.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You know, the progressive movement has done it's best to not only destroy the American spirit, but the human spirit also. But as they say, there are no athiest in fox holes. Once the American people become so uncomfortable, so scared, a new spritual awaking can accure. Until then, many will continue to believe government (corrupt politicians) is the answer.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We do need a spiritual revival - a movement of God similar to the Reformation. What happened in the 60's was not spiritual, unless the devil was the leader. It was decadence. I do believe we are heading to a new revolution or another civil war. The Scriptures tell us what is coming and it will not be pleasant for the earth and for those who know not Christ.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree with you about the 60's. I probably didn't make that as clear as I meant to with my poor attempt at sarcasm.

Will there be another Great Awakening in the U.S.? God is certainly able to do that! Our job is to pray and to obey the Great Commission. The rest is in His hands. We will be no worse off for the effort and we will be better prepared for trials that come.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you for writing such a great piece, as well as inspiring us with these noble examples of serious and deliberate calls to seek God. Who knows? Perhaps, God will bring about his renewal in this land. I, for one, will earnestly and unceasingly ask him for it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've done a lot of study of the Revival in the Confederate armies, especially the Army of Northern Virginia, in 1864. My gg/grandfather's CO, long a "rounder," became a much respected Methodist minister after The War as a result. No doubt the Confederates believed that sinfulness had caused the visitation of suffering on The South and that supplication to God would relieve that suffering and advance their cause. Didn't work!

Had I been Jefferson Davis, I would have hated those preachers - and he probably did. Moral reflection sent a LOT of Confederate soldiers home in that fateful winter of '64 - '65; they decided that fealty to church, home, and children was more important than loyalty to Jefferson Davis and even the sainted General Lee. It is lost to today's world how religious the Civil War armies were; only an absolute belief that your fate was in God's hands would allow a man to march shoulder to shoulder against wheel to wheel cannons.

The very judgemental and "prudish" religious Yankees considered the Southerners to be to a man and woman decadent, degenerate sinners. And The South did have a very easy view of virtue in the antebellum times. It boils down to whether you believe in the fallibility of man due to original sin or the perfectibility of man in which the Yankees belived; the salvation by works or salvation by faith argument that persists in a secular form even today. The Yankees have exchanged the Christian God for a diety of Marx, Lenin, and Foucault, but they still believe that anyone who doesn't believe as they is a sinner who should be writhing in the hands of an angry God.

It should be remembered that on the belt buckles of Hitler's Wehrmacht infantry was inscribed "Gott Mit Und," God is with us. The things going on in American today concern Caesar much more than God; render wisely.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Man can choose to be governed by 10 simple fair and comprehensible laws given by God....or.... a thousand obtuse confusing laws written by man, most of which are there to favor a chosen political sector. As is oft quoted: "The more corrupt the government, the more numerous the laws!"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A revolution would be easier if the language were cleaned up first.
-"The 2%" should always be countered with "Eat the rich, the sacred Socialist goal."
-Who caused the Crash & Depression of 1929? Of 1937? Break the myths.
-Bring back Tammany Hall and its doings as a measuring stick, as a festival of rent-seeking and crony capitalism.
-Increasing the RATE OF TAXABLE EVENTS is the problem, not the particular tax rate.
-"Rent-seeking" and "Moral Hazard" need to be used everywhere they are present, even though most everyone skips mention. Everyone needs to know their names.
-Military expenditure is not a capital investment unless one is going to expand like Hitler. Military expenditure is an insurance policy. If not enough, the gap is filled by your blood and bodies. If too large, it is impossible to tell.
-The assets of the rich are not a bag of gold or banknotes. They are like a soaker hose creating taxable events hither and yon. The assets of the rich should always be enticed into doing taxable events.
-There are no more than 2 reasons for having a country: Defense against foreign enemies, defense against domestic enemies. All other reasons are gravy.
-Economic activity is not a tableau like a giant oil painting where one can make changes. Economic activity is a movie.
--Most important, stress the difference between Inductive reasoning and Deductive reasoning. The industrial revolution and science rest on the simple process of Inductive reasoning challenging and replacing the Deductive reasoning elements of daily life. If Deductive reasoning elements were visible, Leftism would appear gravely inflicted by the Pox.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Will a spiritual revolution lead to a political revolution?"

Only enforcing existing law, upholding the strict and intelligent limits on federal power in the United States Constitution and holding cheaters' feet to the fire will influence a "political revolution".

I'm not holding my breath on any count.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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