Such a Time as This: Revival, Prayer, & Open Doors

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Calvary Chapel pastors reflected on the opportunities afforded to all believers during this global pandemic to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to pray for revival in a world that is grasping for hope.

Story by Christmas Beeler

praying for revival

Pastor John Randall, CC San Juan Capistrano, CA, prays before he teaches the Word. John has been leading a 30-day prayer for revival. Photo by Tom Price

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Praying for Revival

Pastor Johnny ZacchioPastor Johnny Zacchio of Calvary Chapel Grace and Truth in Yonkers, NY, ministers 6 miles from New Rochelle, which was the epicenter of the pandemic in New York. “Fear is more contagious than anything. Fear causes panic, pandemonium, and chaos. However, we are keeping in touch with our flock virtually—and I’m so thankful that we have those platforms. I see the church trusting the Lord.” But when you look at the numbers—even though we don’t want to see any deaths or illness—they are not as bad as they could be.” In early April, he pointed out, there had been roughly 5,400 deaths in a state with nearly 20 million people.

Many Calvary Chapels are praying for revival. “Overall, I think the non-believing world is seeing that there is something wrong—in light of current events. The earthquakes, the fires, the pandemic. A lot of people are searching for answers, and we have them!” Johnny said. “We have been joining with Pastor John Randall (of CC San Juan Capistrano, CA) in a 30-day prayer for revival this month.” (Visit www.calvarysjc.com for more information.)

worshipping the Lord

The CC Newport News congregation joyfully celebrates with worship the completion of their new sanctuary and children's church facility. Photo by Tom Price

Johnny expounded, “We are praying that not only will God use this time to draw the lost to salvation, but also to serve as a wake-up call for the body of Christ. God’s message to the world is still to repent of your sins and turn to Jesus for salvation. But I believe His message to his Church today is to wake up, turn from your idols, and worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” Many things that have become idols—such as sports, shopping, and other distractions—have been taken away for a season, he reflected. “It’s time to seek the Lord.”

“Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7

Genuine repentance is the key for salvation, Johnny said: “Don’t cry out to God just to deliver you from your circumstances, but cry out to Him for salvation because He is the only Savior of the world. We need to share the Gospel now more than ever—that Jesus Christ is the only hope for humanity.” Only time will tell if a revival is taking place once the pandemic has passed, he noted. “We are praying for real conversions, not just a cry for relief from pain. We saw that after 9/11, when churches were packed for several months; but when things began to go back to normal, people forgot about God again,” he recalled. "I’m praying that people will ‘bear fruits worthy of repentance’ (Matthew 3:8), marked by changed lives.”

worshipping the Lord

Pastors and wives enjoy singing praises unto God at the Senior Pastors Conference at CC Golden Springs in 2019. Photo by Tom Price

Open Doors to Share

Pastor Bill GoodrichPastor Bill Goodrich of Horizon Indy, located in Indianapolis, IN, said that his church has been praying for revival for three years: “A revival of prayer, of praise, of purity, of standing on the Word of God, and for a radical heart to reach out to people.” Now, because of the pandemic, “People have been getting in contact with us who haven’t been involved for years; other pastors are seeing this too. We see a hunger now—nationally and internationally, Christians and non-Christians. People are aware that this is no small thing. This [pandemic] has turned the world upside-down. In all my life, I’ve never seen anything that has had this global impact.”

As a result, many people are now open to the Good News of Jesus. “I would encourage all believers not to miss the opportunities that are before us. This crisis has opened a wide door for us to share the hope of Christ. Recently I was helping to direct traffic with the police; just talking to people, I could see their hunger,” reported Pastor Bill. “Also, our first responders—the firemen, the police—they have a strong awareness and understanding of their limitations and mortality right now.”

Praising the Lord

The new sanctuary and children's ministry area gave a reason to give glory to the Lord at CC Newport News. Photo by Tom Price

Recently, a local fireman asked one of the Horizon Indianapolis chaplains to serve him communion. Knowing that he was from a traditional religion, the chaplain explained that he did communion differently. Still, the fireman felt an urgency to take communion. “So the chaplain was able to sit down with him and explain the Gospel to this fireman and the purpose of communion according to the Word,” Pastor Bill recounted. “Something like that would not have happened before. And then it multiplied, because the fireman shared this experience with two other firehouses. So now we are serving communion and sharing the hope of Christ at three different firehouses.”

Serving One Another

Pastor Scott GallatinBelievers who have been taught the Word of God are well prepared for this time, observed Pastor Scott Gallatin of CC Finger Lakes, NY. “As I surveyed how our church was doing, and other Calvary Chapels around us, the body of Christ is doing remarkably well. Overall, they are not fearful, overly anxious, or falling apart. And I believe that is because of expositional Bible teaching—that their heavenly Father will supply all of their needs as they seek Him first (Matthew 6:33); that they don’t need to be anxious but to pray about everything, and His peace will guard their hearts (Philippians 4:6-7); that they can find joy in trials as God strengthens their faith (James 1:2-4). Also, they have been learning to rely more on Jesus than on their pastors.”

As social media has grown more prevalent over recent years, Scott remarked, people have already learned to stay connected with their loved ones virtually; now many are using those platforms to share their faith. “People are looking out for each other, caring for each other. The body of Christ is out in their neighborhoods, being a light to their neighbors. We are hearing that they are having opportunities like never before. They are emailing links to their friends to listen to our church services online; more people are tuning in to the radio ministry to hear the Word.”

men worship

The Lord was the center of people's worship at the Senior Pastors Conference in July 2019. Photo by Tom Price

Many people are stressed right now, dealing with frustration or anger, and lack of sleep. “The body of Christ can handle it because they trust in the sovereignty of God. They can smile, encourage, and reach out to people; ask to pray for them, ask if they have needs. That’s how the church body is supposed to work,” declared Scott. CC Finger Lakes collects food from among their members to share with the community. “Everyone has been so generous, even giving out of their lack, like the [biblical] church in Macedonia.”

Be Ready

“I believe we have a short window of time, though no one knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return,” said Pastor Johnny. “But there is not much left that needs to take place in prophecy; we are waiting for the Rapture of the Church.”

“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:44

How can a believer be ready? Johnny shared, “It’s time for us to examine our lives and hearts: What are our priorities? It’s time to cry out to Him and see what He wants to do. He is still working, and He wants more people to come into His kingdom.”

Pastor Scott added, “I do believe we are getting close to the end of the Church Age. And I believe the Lord is trying to purify His bride, purify the Church, and get her ready for the groom—Jesus Christ—to come.”

Pastor Joe FochtPastor Joe Focht of CC Philadelphia, PA, shared on a recent Sunday morning: “We pray this is going to be the beginning of a revival. We are praying that the church would be shaken—I would be shaken—from our complacency and ambivalence, and that there would be fresh fire in our hearts as we expect the return of Christ. We pray for the culture that it would wake up; we are hearing so many arenas talking about God—is this the end of the world? There is a remarkable openness among people right now; we need to pray.”

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.