Dr. Billy Graham began holding crusades in 1947. Tom Skinner did so much later, but with either one, it was always thrilling to see people walk down the aisles to accept Christ. One of the characteristic statements Billy Graham and his team often made was that their crusades were not in themselves a revival, but they hoped God would send revival in our time. That’s because revival is more than walking down an aisle, and the effects of revival often have profound outcomes—transformed individuals, restored families, changed values that shun cheating, racism, injustice, and violence. God made that plain when He appeared to Solomon after the young king finished building his elaborate palace and temple. God said to him one night, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” God told Solomon that sometimes calamities—environmental or otherwise—are the results of His judgment on the land to get people’s attention, giving them the option of turning from their sins and injustice. But if God’s people will humble themselves, turn from self-centered living, and seek God, He will still forgive our sins and heal our land.
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