Beginning in 1872 and continuing for almost 100 years, every summer, people would thrill to the sight of the Yosemite Firefall. Each night, someone would build a fire at the top of Glacier Point and then push all the embers over the cliff as people below shouted, “Let the fire fall!”
But even after that ritual ended, Firefall continued! Because when the sun shines just right at just the right time, God creates His own firefall on the cliff of Yosemite. This article shows what it looks like, and celebrates that it is happening right now!
Having known this story for years and used it many times in sermons, seeing this story brought me mixed emotions. How we need the firefall of revival right now in the American church!
But in many ways, we seem to be so far away from anything resembling historic revival in this country. In light of the horrific revelations about Christian leaders, the divisions of the American church, the loss of our credibility, and the steep decline of our churches, it would be an easy case to make that we have never been further away from revival than right now.
But one of my mentors, Dr. Roy Fish, long-time legendary Professor of Evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, often said, “Historically, revival has been like the tide. It is when it is furthest out that it comes rushing in.”
Could this be that moment and time in history?
Perhaps that depends on the response of God’s people right now. In Daniel’s great prayer of personal and national repentance, he said:
“As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth” (Daniel 9:13 ESV).
We don’t often think of repentance as good news, but in reality the opportunity of repentance is the greatest encouragement we can have in these days. Because of the amazing and undeserved grace of God, even at our worst we are only one small step away from God stepping in with forgiveness … with renewal … with revival.
Will we take that opportunity in these days, or will we have to look in amazement with Daniel and say that even with all the calamity we have seen, we still will not repent?
I have been writing and speaking a lot about Acts 4:31-33 in these days. To me this passage gives us the clearest picture of what the church is at its best and what we can be again if the fire falls:
When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
In an earlier article, I shared this acrostic to help simplify what a revived church looks like:
Yielding to the Mission of Jesus
What if, while realizing that only God can send revival and make His church look like this again, at least a remnant of us chose to repent of NOT being this, and pursued it together step by step?
In the days ahead I’ll be writing about each of these four opportunities before us. And the place to start is:
This is where I begin to find encouragement. Never in all of my ministry have I seen the kind of networks of prayer that are happening in our day.
Over the last year there have been some weeks where I was a part of as many as four or five different prayer calls. There is a growing desperation for God among many—not for COVID-19 to go away, or an election to go our way, or our churches to return to “normal,” but a desperation for God Himself! This is good news, and you can join it.
Join one of the growing prayer networks. Our sister ministry OneCry could be a good place to start.
Next week, there is an amazing opportunity to join people all over the world to pray together and dive into God’s Word together as we seek revival. Join me as a part of the online Heart-Cry for Revival conference February 24–26, 2021. You can register here.
This seems to be a season of great hopelessness, but it is not a time for the people of God to lose hope. In fact, it is NEVER a time for the people of God to lose hope!
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14 NIV).
Stand with me now at the base of the mountain of God. Join me as we look up with repentant, tear-stained, expectant eyes. And let our cry to God be once again,
“Let the fire fall!”
And by faith believe with me that we will see it again with our own eyes in our day.