With the coronavirus causing an almost global lockdown and government officials urging everyone to stay at home, it is fair to say that most have a little bit more time on their hands than normal. Christians are no exception! What would happen, then, if followers of Jesus utilised this extraordinary break of daily routine and - instead of binge-watching Netlfix - sought to pray for our nation, and to seek God for revival?
Well, that's the question posed by Terry Virgo, the founder of global church network Newfrontiers, who believes that a great spiritual awakening could be birthed out of this surreal time of social isolation and societal dislocation.
"My daily prayer is that God will light the flame of revival again, and awaken our indifferent culture to our vulnerability and frailty," he wrote on the Premier Christianity blog. "Suddenly matters of life and death, possible financial disaster and loss cannot be ignored; attention is being arrested."
At this time of national emergency, Virgo encouraged Christians to "pray for nothing less than an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will awaken the nations," so that God might do something of "extraordinary proportions."
He continued: "Many of us were delighted to see our NHS applauded and praised across the nation. As I watched the video of people at their windows and doorways and heard the praise, clapping and shouting, I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful if a revival of such proportions led to crowds praising Jesus in similar fashion. During Billy Graham’s first visit to the UK, crowds of Christians filled the London Underground with their hymns."
Church attendance has seen a tremendous uptick in recent weeks, as thousands of home-bound citizens tune in to worship service live streams and multi-person zoom calls. Most churches, according to Virgo, are seeing "more than double" their regular attendance figures fill up the virtual pews through these newfangled digital mediums. This alone presents a tremendous opportunity for the people of God and signals a deep spiritual yearning in the hearts of so many.
"Groups are gathering via Zoom to pray together. Television news is expressing interest in the phenomenon," Virgo wrote. "An Indian friend of mine who usually gathers 3,000 in his church in Bangalore, but is now restricted, reported to me that his most recent online service drew 19,000 views."
"Maybe we’re beginning to see early signs of spiritual hunger surfacing."