The walk from MIT to Park Street Church, a beautiful old Boston church, requires the crossing of the Charles River. Beneath your footsteps on the bridge is engraved a poem by Henry Longfellow that begins: “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” I’ve read it many a walk.
I admit, history never intrigued me in the least, until recently I’ve begun to recognize the spiritual ancestry of my city. From Paul Revere, the “freedom rider” to Jonathan Edwards, father of the First Great Awakening, to DL Moody and the Student Volunteer Missions Movement, I can safely say I am beginning to love the history of Boston. And I’m beginning to have faith that the wells of revival that once were in this city are bubbling up again.
Charles Spurgeon began a sermon on the “Preparation for Revival” with Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” He points to 3 steps towards revival:
A confession of our own weakness and inability walk rightly with God without His presence
A man had a dream about the Ivy League schools in which he was told “the ivy with which was supposed to bring healing to a nation has instead become poison ivy to a generation”. Individualism runs hand-in-hand with intellectualism to work directly against our dependence on Jesus. In 1905 the philosophy building of Harvard was erected, and the head of the department intended engrave above the entrance “Man is the measure of all things”. Instead, on the day of its unveiling, the curtain dropped and the building read “Who is man that Thou art mindful of him?”
There is a spiritual battle raging on this land. But even in 1905, Christ has had the victory. At MIT with the recent slew of suicides, there is a new hunger in students’ hearts. I came into this year with one prayer: God, do anything to make MIT students pray. And He has answered. The week of the Collegiate Day of Prayer, MIT house of prayer restarted, students decided to fast time for lent and open up their rooms for daily and nightly prayer, staff declared a day of prayer and fasting, and students are hungry to pray.
Their prayers are changing from a laundry list of needs to a genuine humility and supplication for God’s presence to be manifested here. “Come Lord Jesus, come” is the cry of our hearts.
If we should have the presence of God it is necessary that we should agree with Him
In a prayer meeting one year ago, nine students from Boston schools prayed to know God’s heart for the schools in the city. Each one of us looked up and said “family”. If we all agree with God, it would follow that to a degree we would all agree with each other. And this requires humility and time spent in the secret place, both of which are challenges for the typical Boston student.
But something incredible is starting to take place. School after school is committing to love, sacrifice, even give up dreams to have time for another’s agenda. Harvard, MIT, Berklee, Northeastern, and BU visit each other at least once per semester to support the dreams and burdens of the others. We are praying for more this spring, but already I see it happening as prayer meetings for MIT have been ignited in the wake of the death here. Our prayer from the mouth of our Lord is “Let them be one as You and I are one.”
Let us put away those things that offend our God
Holiness. Righteousness. To me, a recovering perfectionist, I would tent to dive head on into this pursuit, and shake my head at sermons that emphasize our purity as children hidden in Christ. In fact I do scratch my head at this apparent dichotomy. But my natural tendencies inevitably result in weariness and striving. Which leads me to believe I might be slightly off the mark.
But maybe step 3 was never intended to come before 1 or 2. This would mean that first I need to recognize that I can’t get right with God on my own power. Second, I need to hear the revelation of God’s love and forgiveness, and agree with it. Only then I am prepared to live life on my knees, bowed before a Holy God, but with my eyes to Heaven asking “Search me God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” I dream for holiness to be the prayer on all our hearts as we desire for God to come, and pour Himself out without measure.
Kelsey is a second year intern with Cru campus ministry in Boston, working mainly at MIT. This year she will be trailblazing a new internship in the northeast called Freedom58, a partnership between Cru and International Justice Mission, to bring Biblical Justice into Christian conversation at universities.