By Ryan Shaw
Ryan is the International Lead Faciliator of SVM2.
We are living in critical times indeed! Never before has the possibility of seeing the literal fulfillment of the Great Commission realized been greater. As a result, never before has the spiritual warfare around such a possibility also been more intense.
Jesus calls us to live in a perpetual state of being awake, alert, and watching (Luke 12:37) as we anticipate His return. Part of this is understanding the nature spiritually of the times we live in and responding accordingly with vibrant faith, uncompromising righteousness, and a wholehearted commitment to act and partner with God to bring forth His Kingdom purposes among the unreached.
The Bible and church history display the incredible power of the emerging generation of believers in helping to usher in God’s purposes in every era. It is inspiring to read the accounts of campus awakenings over the past 200 years.
Around the world today it is no different. God is on the move among the emerging generation of believers, aligning hearts with His own, strengthening spirits to trust Him, crushing the obstacles and clearing the way, renewing vision and purpose, and saturating His people with an ever-growing love for Jesus.
The enemy, however, is deeply disturbed by this fact and is using every counterfeit attempt to confuse, disrupt, sidetrack, lie to and deceive, accuse, discredit, and rip-off this generation.
It is crucial that we wage spiritual war against the kingdom of darkness now over and among the emerging generation and recognize what God recognizes in and through them – the increased potential to bring about the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the return of the King for the reward of His glorious sacrifice.
This is not a pipe dream, but an absolutely plausible outcome if we will but seek God with wholeheartedness for it.
Zechariah 4:6 is a helpful parallel to consider. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord!”
The context of this well-known exhortation is the children of Israel having returned from the Babylonian exile and residing in Jerusalem. With them they carried the authoritative decree from King Cyrus for the rebuilding of the temple.
The work was progressing with great enthusiasm when organized opposition grounded it to a stunning halt. Discouraged by the turn of events, the people of God spiritlessly gave up their task.
J. Oswald Sanders comments, “It would be easy to condemn their lack of spirit and lack of confidence in God, were we unfamiliar with the intricacy and treachery of our own hearts. Under less testing circumstances we have doubtless made no better showing.” (Sanders, p.150)
During these circumstances God unveils a prophetic vision to Zechariah for the purpose of building hope into His people once again. The vision centers around His promise to complete the work started through the hands of His servant Zerubbabel and bring the temple construction to completion.
The achieving of such a feat, however, would be “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit.” Sanders goes on, “Despite the virulence of the opposition, despite their lack of resources, despite the incompetence of their leaders, victory was assured so long as they followed the Divine strategy.
Success depended on neither Zerubbabel nor Joshua; on neither human force nor human power, but on the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Sanders, p. 151)
The task of the church will never be accomplished through human endeavor. The idea behind the phrase “not by might” relates to a focus on collective power, force of men, and their means. The Lord is highlighting the concept of human resources.
The phrase, “nor by power” is used in connection with an individual and their proficiency and enthusiasm. These two together communicate that those who put their hope and trust on the “combined strength of men organized to assist one another, or on the prowess and drive of any single individual” are laying foundations on faulty ground.
Instead our task depends wholly and thoroughly on the Holy Spirit as it is completely a superhuman task we have been called to. Sanders again states, “the great danger faced by the church is lest, in the midst of careful planning and seeking improved methods, she forget the superhuman factor without which her task will never be encompassed.” (Sanders, 153)
Just as success for the children of Israel depended on the power of the Holy Spirit and not on the absence of opposition or human power and resources, thus we also find ourselves before an increasingly dark world.
God is building a prayer movement for the nations among the emerging generation! Its focus is on seeking His face for more abandoned devotion to Jesus and wholehearted commitment to global proclamation in our lifetime.
To help propel this focus across the student mission world Student Volunteer Movement 2 (SVM2) is calling for a corporate 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting. The great need in this hour is for the people of God to see themselves as His message bearers and light bearers and through the Spirit be aflame with that light.
That light only remains bright and vibrant to the degree that it is consistently consuming the oil of the wick as it bears no light in and of itself. This is a great focus of this call to prayer. God is waiting for a generation who will be so heart sick with love after Him that they will be motivated to do whatever it takes to see the gospel planted in today’s most unreached areas by long-term message bearers.
A generation who throws off all that so easily entangles and runs the race with perseverance and sacrifice. Those who wait upon Him and are ravished with affections for Him and who dwell in the secret place. Those who are ready to pay the price in ongoing and committed intercession to see entire people groups prepared to receive the gospel.
College campuses and college ministries are uniquely positioned for developing deep and mature devotion to Jesus Christ, resulting in cultivating the characteristics necessary for fruitfulness among the forgotten. These have historically and can be today powerful places of preparation for the missionary movement and must be seen as such.
It is time to pray corporately for campuses, asking God to pour out His Spirit and bring spiritual revival and transformation for the purpose of preparing and fashioning His message bearers for labor in the hardest places around the world.
Revival is not an end in itself but for the purpose of preparing and shaping those who will be used to take His power and message to the nations and to all ethne. Together, we are seeking revival among the emerging generation that will thrust the supremacy of Christ to the forefront of every college ministry and cause multitudes to respond to His supremacy by giving themselves in full surrender to His role for their lives among the forgotten.
This season of prayer and fasting can be undertaken by individuals, campus ministry fellowships, local churches, and whole Christian campuses. Articles on fasting and the 21 Days daily prayer guide are available at 21daysofprayer.net. Here you can download a poster to promote the 21 Days as well as register with the network of likeminded people participating in the 21 Days…..
* Sanders, Oswald J. Spiritual Maturity. Moody Publishers, Chicago. 1994.