For two years I have been obsessed with the history of revivals; moves of God that cause societal shifts that affect the world. Times of revival are often preceded by societal strife and global tension. We don’t have the time to go through the history of revivals in this blog. However, I do believe we will see a great revival, a move of God like we haven’t seen before. As we are all quarantined in our homes, there is a greater emphasis on the frailty of life, and the essential need for family to survive. These conditions are characteristics found in the history of revivals.
Today, I believe we are going to see revival in our homes. When I witnessed the miracle of my wife being revived from cardiac arrest on stage at a church, I knew in my heart it was a prophetic sign of what God wants to do to his church. He wants to revive the places that are dead. What is dead you ask? There are many issues that plague us, but one that stands out to me is the family and the home. We need a revival in the home and in the family.
The Fragmentation of Families
Elijah Rising’s core verse has always been Isaiah 1:17: “Do good, seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the orphan, plead the case of the widow.” We gravitate to that verse because a majority of the women, men, and children in sexual exploitation come from fragmented and broken families. Familial trafficking, situations where parents traffic their own children, is common amongst survivors of human trafficking. Those from fragmented families are disproportionately affected by exploitation.
David Brooks writes on the current status of the American family in his Atlantic article, “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake” 1
“This is the story of our times, nuclear families fragmented into single-parent families, single-parent families into chaotic families or no families. If you want to summarize the changes in family structure over the past century, the truest thing to say is this: We’ve made life freer for individuals and more unstable for families.”
A major contribution to the fragmentation of family was the sexual revolution at the end of the 20th century and the continued emphasis on individualism in the West. Research done by Mary Eberstadt shows the effects of the sexual revolution resulting in skyrocketing rates of abortion, fatherless homes, family shrinkage, family breakup, and other phenomena that have become commonplace in the world since the 1960s.2 The proliferation of pornography continues to wreak havoc on marriages and families. One study shows porn contributing to the doubling of divorce rates.3 So, how do we protect and equip our families and the next generation to stay strong in the midst of a world that has devalued the family?
The Revival of Family
The fragmentation of family is also apparent in our churches. Services are catered to individuals, children go to the classroom, youth go to a separate building, young adults start going to other churches that fit their preference of worship, and adults go to another service. Rarely does the collective family participate in worship, communion, or pray over each other in the home. While this may not be everyone’s experience, it is more common than you think.
Revivals are not only moves of God, but they are also a restoration of something we’ve lost. I believe during this time God wants to bring restoration to families. In our line of work, demonstrating what healthy family/relationships look like while creating an environment of dignity and respect, are some of the greatest things we can do for those who have been exploited. It also helps them in their healing journey. Here are five simple ways we can begin to demonstrate the Kingdom of God at home in our families:
1. Gather As Family At The Lord’s Table
Your dinner table at home becomes the Lord’s Table. Your dining room table becomes an altar in your home where you gather for worship, prayer, and communion with God as His family. We need to regain the idea of “Sabbath.” Sabbath doesn’t mean watching sports on TV or binge-watching your favorite Netflix series as a way to escape your family or the stress you feel. Sabbath means entering into rest and peace with God. Sabbath is God’s appointed time to meet with His family and infuse you with peace and cultivate wholeness in your family.
“The Sabbath was a time to remember that God had desired—and what He still wants—to be at home together with Him and at peace (shalom) with our brothers and sisters. We want to remember the Sabbath, not be its servant. At Shabbat Dinner we have an opportunity to open our homes to Jesus and the Holy Spirit in a special way and receive the kind of peace that only He can bring.” – Pastor Stovall Weems
We are so accustomed to creating systems and methods to solve our problems. However, God has already provided instructions for living in His Word. Coming to the Lord’s table is a demonstration of faith—the rest is on God. When you invite the presence of God into your home. It naturally creates the right conditions for growth and healthy relationships as a family and as individuals.
2. Welcome God’s Presence In Your Home
You don’t need to convince God to show up in your home, He is in it. Before dinner, invite the Holy Spirit to come and recognize God’s presence at your table. A simple way my wife and I communicate this to our two-year-old daughter is by lighting a candle. (She loves this part) The candle represents Jesus as the light of the world—God gracing us with His presence. This simple demonstration communicates to children what may be difficult to communicate with words. When we light the candle and pray, our whole family knows that God’s presence is with us and you can tangibly feel the peace in the room.
3. Take The Lord’s Supper (Communion)
Depending on your faith background you may be accustomed to taking communion weekly, annually, or during special times. This is a special time in your home to take the Lord’s Supper as a family. Before taking communion there is an important realization that we must discern the body. What does that mean? Is there anyone you need to forgive? Have you gotten into an argument lately? Have you done something that is causing you to feel guilt or shame? Now is the time to make that right!
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:15-16
Several revivals had a connection to the Lord’s Supper. We should recognize this time as sacred. We are remembering our Lord’s death and future coming. Picture yourself, reliving this moment with the disciples in the room. Think about when you take the body and blood, you are agreeing that Jesus needed to die so that your condemnation would be placed on Him. When we take communion we proclaim our loyalty to Jesus and remember His covenant with us.
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26
4. Prayers of Blessing And Laying On Of Hands
When was the last time you laid hands and prayed a blessing over your spouse? When was the last time you laid hands and prayed over your children? When have you been prayed for? The answer is probably not often. You might be thinking “that’s a good idea, but it might feel awkward.” You’re right it will feel awkward, but I would encourage you to take that step of faith and make it normative in your home. It’s “awkward” because it’s counter to our world’s culture.
You are the priest of your home. That means you have the power to bless and affirm your family and intercede on their behalf. Is anyone sick? Lay hands and pray for their healing and see them recover. Pray to bless and affirm the gifts of God in your children, bless their personalities and their uniqueness, and pray for their future. This is a special time to pray for each other.
After communion, go around your table and lay hands on each individual blessing them and pray for them. Then let your spouse or others at the table lay their hands on you and pray for you. Bring your needs before God and trust Him in faith to provide. This is a sacred space where God fellowships with your family
5. Enjoy A Meal Together
This time with the Lord should be full of life and celebration. After you pray over one another, enjoy a really good meal together and enjoy this time of being together. Make it festive—the ultimate goal is to celebrate Jesus! Do this on Friday night with your family and then tune into your church’s live stream on Sunday, or do whatever you do to connect to your larger community of believers.
These simple demonstrations can bring revival to your family. My prayer is that during this time you will grow close to God. As a family may you gather around the table and bless one another. Then may your family continue to bless communities by being a shining example of God’s power to heal and bring wholeness. Here are some resources that have been useful to our family.
Sabbath Resource Kit by Celebration Church
1. David Brooks, “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake,” The Atlantic, March 2020 Issue, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/03/the-nuclear-family-was-a-mistake/605536/
2. Eberstadt, Mary. Primal Screams. Templeton Press. Kindle Edition.
3. David Shultz, “Divorce Rates Double When People Start Watching Porn,” Science, August 26, 2016,https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/divorce-rates-double-when-people-start-watching-porn.