I’ve been watching a series about revivals on https://commissionthecity.thinkific.com/ [I would highly recommend it]. But what has struck me is that when revival comes certain things happen
- people stop going to pubs
- people stop going to sporting events
- people only want to go to church and pray
What I have noticed about this pandemic is the order things have reopened and the things everyone, including Christians, have seen as important.
- Our economy – which meant certain things had to reopen even before it was probably safe to do so and those things are:
- Firstly large sporting events that bring in lots of advertising revenue which are being watch at home on TV
- Second pubs, restaurants and cafes
- shops, hairdressers, etc, etc
- And then lastly our churches.
It seemed to me in reading about revival that no one cared about the economy. Does this mean there was a huge economic crash at this time? In Wales in the early 20th century people really were only going to work, which at the time was mainly agricultural and industry, and then going straight to church. But also at that time there was no major hospitality industry, tourist industry, no consumeristic society.
My daughter works in hospitality. If she stops work to go and pray all the time, or has to stop because no one goes to the pub because they are all praying, how will she pay her rent? And she’s not the only one.
It made me wonder if this is why we are often reluctant to pray for revival, even if that reluctance might be only on a subconscious level. The pictures we are given is of the things we know and love – hospitality industry and sporting industry – grinding to a halt. Do we really want that? As we have seen with things being lockdown for a few months the country has tumbled into recession. Do we want that?
Much as these stories of revival are totally awesome I think we need to be praying for a new picture to talk to us about revival. Someone did say to me that this pandemic and the lockdown have shown some key things – man’s fear of dying, the fragility of the economy but also our need for it, and also our individuality. Maybe our new picture for revival needs to be about tackling those issues rather than bringing down the economy and the industries that our country now survives on.
So don’t just pray “Revival” but ask God how it would look and how our families and friends would survive through it.