In 1790 our nation was on the verge of social and moral collapse. The church was in rapid decline. One pastor called his church an old folk’s home of dying people. In a nation of 5 million people, 300,000 were confirmed alcoholics and 15,000 people were dying of alcohol related disease each year. Women were afraid to walk the streets at night. Bank robbery was a daily occurrence. Profanity, rape, promiscuous sex was common. One Christian bishop left his ministry because he had not confirmed anyone in 16 years and had little to do. Young people saw religion as passé. Harvard literally had no Christians attending. Princeton, a more evangelical university did a census and found that it had three Christians. At this time on the frontiers of the American west roving gangs of outlaws literally were unopposed (sound familiar?).
Long story short: God began to call Christians to unite in prayer for the renewal of our young nation. In 1794, Isaac Backus, a Baptist pastor wrote a kind of petition and circulated it to all the denominations asking for regular concerted prayer. They agreed on setting time aside for united prayers. Soon prayer together for the healing and renewal of our nation was spreading all over the church. By 1798 we had a general revival over all the states. A movement of God spread in Connecticut and southward, then moved west eventually setting off what became known as the “Camptown” revival of the frontiers. The Churches of America were full and spreading.
This renewal spread over all the US and England and led to the reformation of our society. This movement of God had direct impact on the ending of the slave trade, think William Wilberforce, and the radical change of our country. The forming of over 600 of our universities and hospitals began during this time of renewal. Why it can be argued that the very form of common education was instigated by this revival. We have had several cycles of revival since then. It is time again!
Humble, united, concerted, prayer is the need of our day! God have mercy on us, heal your church, forgive and unite your people and heal our land. In Jesus Name! Thank you!