Sunday, October 21, 2012

Return to Red River

In the archives of the first year of this blog there is a post on "Monuments" in which I mention the Red River Meeting House, the site where the Second Great Awakening began in what was then the American West in 1800.  We had quit attending their annual commemorative event, in part for the reasons mentioned in that post, in part because we had moved farther away, and in part because of time pressures.

But this year my wife and I went back down, taking a weekend vacation after a year in which we've mostly been on the fast track.  It was restful (The grounds still seem a peaceful place; I've heard it is like that at Cane Ridge, where an even larger revival meeting took place the following year, but I've never been there).

The grounds looked much the same:  the gravestones in the cemetery are maybe in a little worse shape, the log replica "meeting house" still stands but needs work.  But the people who came had largely changed.  Two couples among the locals who put the event on were still there, but of the historical re-enactors who used to attend, only two of our old friends were there with us.  The historical camp was still about the same size, but with a whole new crew of people.  On the other hand, the modern camp was larger, and there were a lot of small children.

But the bigger change was in the attitude of those who were there.  I came away with the impression that these folks are no longer content with polishing the monument:  They have moved beyond that and are praying for the fire to fall again, not just in Logan County, Kentucky, but on the country as a whole.  And I am glad to see it.  The group included people from Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, and maybe some from farther away at times.  And a number of Christian groups were represented as well.

The culmination came on Saturday evening, at the end of the night's service.  The message was from one of the campers, not a professional preacher.  At the end there was an invitation to pray for the needs of some of the attendees.  This went on for a while (some in the area have been hard hit by the economic conditions the last few years).  Then it shifted into prayer for our country and for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit--not just in this place, but all over our land.

There had been some recounting of the history of this place earlier in the evening.  People in the area back then had seen the need in their locality, and had made a covenant to pray at sunrise and sunset for a year for their neighborhood.  As it turned out, they prayed for three years.  And then, at a scheduled communion service, with no special emphasis and no big-name outside speaker brought in, the fire of revival fell.  And lives, and the region, were changed.  As the Book says, "This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes."

And historically, this is how revival happens.  Major outpourings are not led by popes, archbishops, and denominational executives.  They are sparked by little people that nobody had heard of before.  The "Big Men in the Brotherhood" are always so busy doing BMITB-type things that they don't respond when God wants to do something, so He uses nobodies who are available.  And when empowered by Him, they change the world, not because of who they are, but because of Who is with them.

There was some talk that Saturday night of "organizing" the feelings present, of making lists and signing papers, of "accountability" and so on, but it did not go far.  And I'm glad it didn't.  The important thing is not creating some kind of organization to pray for revival, but to just pray for revival!  It is good to know that there are others out there who also care and are praying; but trying to organize it will just turn into a substitute for praying.  We need real prayer and real revival, not some organizational substitute (remember, a substitute is something they try to give you in place of the real thing!).

So, I'm praying, and I know there are others doing so as well.  All who want to join in are welcome.  If anyone wants to tell us they're joining us in this, that's okay; if you pray without telling us, that's okay too; because the real point is the praying, not telling other people what we're doing.

1 comment:

ded said...

Glad you two got to take this time off. Sounds like a great trip. I especially enjoyed the line, "The "Big Men in the Brotherhood" are always so busy doing BMITB type things."

Thanks for the reminder of the humble context for effective prayer.