A spiritual awakening for Europe

A spiritual awakening for Europe

This year, God is mobilising prayer across Europe. William Porter will be walking every capital city in Europe carrying the cross. He believes a spiritual awakening is on the way to Europe.

spiritual awakening

I believe a great spiritual awakening is about to come to the continent of Europe. The precursor signs are all around:  thousands of young evangelists being trained for the streets of cities. Multiple large stadium worship and witness events bringing a dynamic presentation of the gospel to thousands. Groups of students in universities on their knees travailing for revival. Amongst the wasteland of dying churches, myriad fresh church plants and disciple-making initiatives springing up. Healing and miracle Holy Spirit services stirring faith and meeting the needs of hungry and needy people. A hardness of spiritual atmosphere shifting to a profound openness and questioning of life. Mercy ministries reaching out to refugees, who are greatly welcomed by those showing the hands and feet of Jesus. The soil of hearts in war torn countries receptive to the hope of the cross, and believers from nations in hatred to their neighbour finding keys of forgiveness to unlock the present from the past. 

There is something going on in Europe that is unlikely yet not wholly unexpected. The church is starting to arise and find her courage. Of course there are areas of division, decay, compromise and still much to repent from. Yet the body of Christ in many places is stirring to new life. And this in the middle of populations supposed to be post-or even anti-Christian, yet who are in reality weary and disillusioned of philosophies and worldviews wholly devoid of answers to the ultimate meaning of life. There are great cracks appearing in our secular age, wide open to the grace of God. 

Revivals have been part of our church’s great story over the years. Sometimes short lived and sporadic, they have been examples of the more dramatic episodes of the in-breaking of the kingdom of God through history. The spiritual trajectories of communities have been wholly altered through them, church streams born, revolutions avoided, the Christianising of nations sparked through them. Revivals – the mysterious and cathartic moving of the Spirit of God amongst groups of people. 

Yet there have been even deeper and more history shaping times called Great Awakenings. This is when the reviving work of the Spirit has been more widespread and longer term, bridging continents, spawning spiritual movements, stirring a new missionary  force, and sometimes creating spontaneous combustion in various hitherto unrelated places. The Great Awakening of the 18th century – with Wesley, Whitefield and Edwards, spanning the Americas and mainland Europe, for over sixty years – was one. The worldwide Pentecostal move of the early 20th century – with Seymour, Semple McPherson, Jeffries and Wigglesworth some early pioneering figures, sparked in the USA from Wales, and quickly touching South America, Africa, Europe and South Asia, with a growing spread over 80 years – was another. 

What made these awakenings great? Partly the scale, of sheer numbers of people converted and churches touched. Partly the depth, with the new birth and warmed heart of the early Evangelicals; and the baptism of the Spirit to empower evangelism in the early Pentecostals. Partly the reach, both becoming something trans local and supra-cultural. Partly the energy, more like a wildfire than a tended bonfire. In each the context was a bigger cultural moment, in the 18th century the Industrial Revolution, and in the 20th the emergence of globalization of trade and finance. 

I believe they are also termed great because of what came after. The 18th century awakening  fuelled the great Evangelical missionary force, taking the gospel to all corners of the world. The 20th century awakening unleashed waves of spiritual renewal amidst and around two world wars and the Cold War. 

A coming Great Awakening may well have an even larger scale, depth, reach, energy and effect than its precursors. Church decline has largely bottomed out and Christians have been discovering a fresh confidence in the gospel, lighting a torch again of hope in an hopeless world. Stratas of society all across Europe, regardless of age, are spiritually tinder dry and potentially very combustible for good or ill. Regional conflicts and a shifting of global alliances out of pandemic times, amidst crumbling social values and an always on digital news age, is creating widespread anxiety termed the age of panic. The energy waves from the vibrancy of the Majority World church, and the surprising upsurgence of gospel movements amongst hitherto  resistant Muslim and Asian countries, are starting to lap onto the shores of Europe, even as people migration increases.

God is up to something and we have to wake up to it, even as Jesus’ return draws closer. We are on the cusp of something fresh of God. We don’t know exactly which way it will go. It could be dramatic, it could rock the institutioal church to her foundations and cause a great metanoia turning around. Yet, knowing the power of previous awakenings, sometime soon – the breath of the Spirit will come like a might force, God’s people will find inner renewal, atmospheres will shift, multitudes will be presented with the love of Jesus, gospel movements will start to go viral, and the Christian faith will be re-engaged with as public truth. I wonder at what point will we stand to our feet and realise we are in the midst of another, maybe the last Great Awakening?

William Porter became an ordained minister in the year 2000 and now pioneers a house of prayer in the Midlands of the UK. He is a dedicated follower of Jesus and counts photography, music and walking as hobbies.

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