John 11:40–44 (NIV)
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
“The Spirit of Jesus in me greets the Spirit of Jesus in you and brings us together in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.”
Welcome to Lexington, Kentucky, and the site of the Awakening Project. Back in May, a couple hundred college students converged on the city for a week of sowing for a great awakening. Led by Jessica Avery and David Thomas and a band of others, the Awakening Project is all about calling forth a generation of emerging adults to rise up into their calling to become awakening leaders through the many and varied vocations their lives will fulfill—beginning now. It was a week of visiting historic sites of awakening, like Cane Ridge and Asbury University, lots of storytelling, teaching, mentoring, and banding together, tons of prayer, and absolutely exuberant singing to Jesus.
On the last night of the gathering, the band was leading one of Maverick City’s most rousing songs entitled, I Thank God when it broke into a spontaneous season of powerful, intercessory, awakening prayer—a graveside service of sorts. At about the halfway point, the song makes a turn: (4:57 mark in the linked artist video) The worship leader begins leading a kind of chant, Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! over and over. So as this group of college students got caught up in this chant, a young woman got carried away, came to the front, grabbed a microphone and said,
“I want to call out to my sister, Michelle, to GET UP OUT OF THAT GRAVE!” The place erupted. People were already moderately dancing, but this prophetic declaration of faith moving in straight line prayer set the whole room to jumping as they sang, Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave!
About a minute later, a young man stepped up and grabbed the mic and shouted, “I want to call out to my roommate at school, Paul, to GET UP OUT OF THAT GRAVE!” The song got louder, Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Then one of the table leaders, a middle aged woman, stepped up, took the mic and shouted through tears, “I want to call out to my father, who is not a believer, to GET UP OUT OF THAT GRAVE!”
Caught up in the gravity of Heaven, the whole place seemed to levitate, and a line began to build toward the microphone. Person after person after person brought someone they loved (who was not present) before the throne of grace—in prayer—and yet calling out directly to them, to GET UP OUT OF THAT GRAVE! It must have gone on for an hour! It was the most joyful graveside service I have ever witnessed. This was prayer in the Spirit-filled form of Jesus, “I’m calling out to you Lazarus to GET UP OUT OF THAT GRAVE!”
When grounded love gains the altitude of faith the wind of the Holy Spirit takes on gale force and impossible things begin to happen. When Jesus hands the keys to the kingdom to a group of college students, this is what breaks forth. I hope you will call out in straight-line prayer to the Awakening Project and their leaders today to be strong and courageous as they prepare for what is next.** (see note below)
Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave!
Still day one.
God our Father, who with your son Jesus Messiah, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for the miracle and the mystery of the day of Pentecost. And thank you for today, and that it is only the day after. We want to call out to an entire generation of emerging adults, so many of whom are like sheep without a shepherd, to GET UP OUT OF THAT GRAVE! Holy Spirit, would you breathe new life into these young men and women and put them in our path and us in theirs. And we call out to you, Awakening Project, to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power today. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen.
If present trends hold– 40,000,000 Gen Z (emerging adults) raised in Christian homes will leave the church by 2050. We need great awakening. The Holy Spirit stands ready. Are we? This fall we are preparing for a sowing initiative into Gen Z (particularly high school seniors and college students) in partnership with any local church who wants to jump in. Let me know if you are interested.
AND THIS JUST IN. . . For all you Instagrammers out there, today at 11:30am (CST) our very own Lo Alaman will be on an Instagram Live hosting our dear friend, Pete Grieg, from the U.K. Pete will be a featured presenter again at the New Room Conference this fall and has been such an influence in my life for many years. You will be so encouraged if you can see this. It would even be worth starting an instagram account just to see it. You can find it there @newroomconf AND IF YOU ARE still wondering who Pete is– get a load of this.
For the Awakening,
**If you know a college student, you’ve got to get them to the Awakening Project next spring. Encourage them to check it out on instagram @awakeningprojectministry or to grab their podcast here. Or if you want to email them directly: firstname.lastname@example.org