It’s Time to Respond


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Isaiah 55:6–7

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”


A year ago today, around 2:00 in the afternoon, I received a text from a friend saying I should try and make it to Asbury University. Their regularly scheduled morning chapel service had not ended, and it seemed as if God might be up to something. I hurried over to Hughes Auditorium, about a five-minute walk from my house, and spent almost every waking moment of the next sixteen days at what is now known as the Asbury Outpouring.

Asbury has been described as a sign—signifying to the world that God is on the move and not finished. Similar movements had been happening before Asbury, many have happened since, and many will happen. The sign points somewhere. As our friend Rich Wilson said about the outpouring, “This isn’t a destination. This is something to get drawn to and caught up in.”1

Our text today captures the heart and essence of what Asbury signaled. This is not a day to reminisce. It’s a day to respond. 

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

There was nothing particularly impressive about the beginning of the outpouring. A few university students responded to what God was doing and decided to hang back past the end of the chapel service. A small community sought after God and the world caught wind of it and joined in. This in and of itself holds an important lesson about the function of community in obeying the command to seek and call upon the Lord. The seeking and calling of a few stirred up the hunger of (literally) thousands. We need one another.

There are times when seeking God seems to come more naturally and is met with less resistance. Other times, we are invited to seek God not necessarily because we want to or because we’re particularly enthusiastic about it, but as an act of devotion. “Seek the Lord while he may be found” is an imperative, not a suggestion. 

Ruth Haley Barton says: “It is your desire for God and your capacity to reach for more of God than you have right now that is the deepest essence of who you are.”2 When we seek God, especially when we don’t feel like it, we break free from a distracted state in which we have grown complacent under the illusion that we can do just fine without God, and into reality. 

We are told not just to seek God, but to call on him. While calling on the Lord can look like “come near,” it can also look like saying “help.” 

There are times when I call for my husband simply because I enjoy his presence, and want to be near to him. There are other times when I call on my husband because I need his help with something or because I’m upset. It would be odd if one of these went away. If I never called him just to be with him, our relationship would be utilitarian. In the same way, if I didn’t call on him when I was upset or needed help, he would be confused why I didn’t—he wants to do those things.

This is great encouragement if you find yourself in a season where seeking God is not exactly what’s naturally flowing out of you. What do you need God to do? In you? In your community? In someone you love? Do you have any hurt, disappointment, or worry you need to express? Call on him. Seek him with whatever you’ve got in you. Whether you’re feeling it or not feeling it, go for it. See what happens.

Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Repentance is the most natural thing you can do in response to God’s presence. 

It’s the cry of Isaiah after seeing the Lord seated on the throne: “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isa. 6:5). 

It’s the shout of Zaccheus after Jesus calls him by name and invites himself over “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8).

Repentance is a response to seeing the beauty, goodness, and holiness of God. We don’t initiate it. It makes sense that the command to repent follows the command to seek and call upon God. As he is found, we find that we have to change.

I love this bit of testimony from the outpouring about what repentance was like in the room: “This is the most majestic wonderful presence that I’ve ever experienced, and I want to remain in it. But to remain in these sin patterns or this thought life or this compromise of faith, it felt like it would exclude me. Like either I had to leave the room or these things had to leave me.”3

The outpouring was essentially people seeing God clearly, and responding accordingly. (That’s why the vast majority of the time was spent in worship and repentance.)

I said it earlier and I want to say it again: Today is not a day to reminisce—it’s a day to respond and to respond accordingly.


Lord, increase my appetite for you. Increase my responsiveness toward you. I want to seek you and find you. I want to call on you and know your nearness. Help me to see you more clearly for who you are. May your holiness reveal any wicked ways or unrighteous thoughts in me, and would your kindness lead me to repentance. I receive your mercy and love toward me. Amen.


Inviting the Holy Spirit to guide me, I ask myself these questions:

  1. What would it look like for me to cultivate a commitment to seek the Lord as a spiritual virtue?
  2. How might the Spirit be leading me to respond to our text and the testimony of the Asbury Outpouring today?

For the Awakening,
Anna Grace Legband


  1. Rich Wilson (movement leader, Fusion), in an interview for Asbury Outpouring video series, April 2023. 
  2. Sacred Rhythms: Arranging our Lives for Spiritual Transformation, Ruth Haley Barton.
  3. Austin Wofford (lead pastor and church planter, Arise Church), in an interview for Asbury Outpouring video series, March 2023. 

These interviews will be featured in a video series that is part of the Seedbed Awakening Library, releasing on February 29. Sign up to be notified when the library launches here:


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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

5 Responses

  1. Personally, the more awakened I become to God’s working through me, the more I realize how helpless I am in my own strength. “Come Lord Jesus and make your presence be made manifest within me, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.”

  2. Repentance, forgiveness, and love remove condemnation.
    We walk in God’s presence with an overcoat made of blame, shame, guilt, hate, and fear.
    We leave wearing a new garment of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faith…Jesus.

    Galatians 3:27
    For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

    Never take Him off.

    Staying 💪’n Christ.
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

  3. If you say you believe in God, but ignore Him in your daily life, your belief may be superficial. (That is the thought that came to me as I woke up this morning.) It’s too easy to settle for and be satisfied with superficial Christianity.

    It’s easy to say you believe in God, but seeking the Lord is costly. It requires that we set aside our personal desires to follow His will — that we replace our ways and our thoughts with His ways and His thoughts.

    Our identity isn’t found in own thoughts, feelings, and desires. It’s found in God. When our desire for God distracts us from our personal desires, we begin to seek God and we discover His forgiveness, restoration, mercy, grace, and redeeming embrace through the sacrifice of the risen Jesus Christ. Then by God’s Spirit working within us (and within His Spirit-led community of fellow Christ-seekers), He begins to empower us and align us day-by-day with who He created us to be.

    To be unaware that God is calling you closer to Him is to be spiritually blind. Open our spiritual eyes Lord so we can see You, surrender to You, and respond to You day and night.

    Truly, deeply, humbly, completely, continually: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

  4. I now understand that without anointing, without the presence of God, I am no one. His presence is what fills us, what motivates us. I feel so helpless, without his company, so blind without his voice speaking to me all the time. Now I pray that God will do the same in my community. I want to see the fire of the Holy Spirit in our hearts to the point of initiating a revival.

  5. Thank you for this good devotion. I intend to tell others about it.

    The conduct at the Asbury Outpouring was significantly different from popular conceptions of revival. From what I’ve heard, it was marked by confession of and repentance for *personal* sin, as opposed to *national* sin, and by peace, as opposed to tumult.

    Regarding “Similar movements had been happening before Asbury, many have happened since”: Where have they happened since?

    I myself think that at Asbury, God has shown us that what He offers to us Christians in America in revival now is not the same as what many of us want Him to give, and that we can choose either what He offers , and get it, or choose what we want, and not get it.

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