"Revival" literally means to live again. Do you pray for the revival of your city? Do you pray that your city would live again?
I recently finished a series on Jonah and through it I discovered I don’t pray for my city. I pray for my church, I pray for you fellow pastors, I pray for my neighbors who don’t know Jesus, but I don’t pray for my city. This realization sent me on a quest to find out some information about my city and the impact Christianity is having here.
Here’s what I found...
- In the last US Census 1.3 million people in my city claimed no religious affiliation and another 300,000 are religious but not Christian.
- 1.6 million people in my city claimed no Christian affiliation.
- The population of my city is 2.1 million. That means 76% of my city does not know the God who created them and loved them and died for them.
How is it in your city?
Do you feel called to your city? Do you feel like you have been sent there? Do you say, “I’m here because this is the most strategic place for me to be a Christian” or do you say, “I’m going to get what I can from this place and move on”?
If you aren’t running away from a call to Africa or China or Bora Bora (someone has to be called there), you are in the place that God wants you to live again. Bring life again. And revival.
76% of my city doesn’t know that the God I worship has a plan for a true City Beautiful. One where He will wipe every tear from our eyes. Where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. A city where He is making all things new.
Have you been praying this for your city? I haven’t been. But I am now.
One of my favorite things about living in my city is Disney World. Every year at Christmas, I love going to the Epcot Candlelight Processional where a d-list celebrity reads the story of the birth of Jesus. Heart-warming. And the story ends with the celebrity reading a poem written in 1926 by a pastor named James Allen Francis.
He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop,
Until he was thirty
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never traveled more than two hundred miles,
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself
He was only thirty three,
When the tide of public opinion turned against him
His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth
When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend
Centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind’s progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life
My city (our world) has been changed by one man. It’s happened. Even Disney knows that. The part that Disney leaves out and was in Francis’ original poem is He rose from the dead.
Jesus compared himself to Jonah. He said in Matthew 12:40 – “Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Just as the Lord sent a fish to swallow Jonah, so the Lord sent Jesus to die for our sin. Just as the Lord ordered the fish to release Jonah, so the grave had to release Jesus – it could not hold him. He has risen. Death has been defeated. As C.S. Lewis says of the resurrection now “death is working backwards.”
Because Jesus is alive, the kingdom has come and He is making all things new. And as Jesus called His first disciples, He is calling us saying, “The time has come. The kingdom of God is here. Repent and believe the good news…AND TELL EVERYONE”!