Devotion for the Week of April 8, 2013 - AMERICA’S SECOND GREAT AWAKENING


Psalm 85:5-6, “Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? [6] Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

One of the greatest ways to see God’s hand in our nation’s history, is to study the great revivals that He has allowed America to experience over the last several hundred years.  The second Great Awakening was a great example of God reaching down and bringing America back to Himself.

This revival took place between the years 1795 and 1830.  The revival broke out in many different facets of American life.  Camp meetings, circuit riders, college revivals, missions, and great evangelists led the way back to God.

The most famous of these camp meetings took place in Cane Ridge, Kentucky.  People would come from miles away to spend weeks listening to the preaching of God’s word, and praying.  Thousands of people came to Christ through these special times dedicated to spiritual growth.

The circuit riders like Francis Asbury, rode from small church to smaller church to help each small group develop their new found faith.  Many of the circuit riders would minister to over 15 to 20 Churches at one time.  The reason there were so many Churches, was due to the thousands of people saved during this Great Revival.  It took a while to train enough pastors to fill all of the pulpits of these new churches.

Another aspect of the Second Great Awakening was the revival led by Timothy Dwight.  When Timothy Dwight became the President of Yale University, he estimated that only about one out of one hundred students professed to be Christians.  He began inviting preachers to come and speak to the students, as well as preaching to the students himself.  To one senior class he said, "Christ is the only, the true, the living way of access to God.  Give up yourselves therefore to Him in cordial confidence, and the great work is done.” Within a few years almost every student in Yale had come to Christ. 

In the early 1800s several college students ended up seeking shelter under a haystack when a storm came up unexpectedly.  As the students began to talk, they realized they all had a great burden for the mission field.  One of these students was a young man named Adoniram Judson, who would become America’s first missionary.  This meeting became known as the “Haystack Prayer Meeting,” because it was the beginning of America’s modern missionary movement.  The 1800s became known as the great century of missions. 

The last part of the Second Great Awakening was the preaching of Charles Finney.   Finney used a mixture of emotion and powerful preaching to bring hundreds of thousands of men and woman to Christ.  When you put all of these things together, it is easy to see God bringing our nation back to Himself through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The key to every part of the revival was prayer.  When God’s people commit themselves to praying for the lost, God will answer that prayer mightily.

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