Revival at Home

1991 is a year that will provide grist for the mills for commentators and historians for a long time. The most incredible event was the fall of the Soviet Union. There sat Gorbachev inside the Kremlin walls while his country slipped out from under him. He had 30,000 missiles in his back pocket, millions of soldiers in uniform, yet he was helpless to keep the empire from crumbling. How did it happen? The collapse of Communism was once deemed utterly impossible. I remember when I worked in the White House in the late 1960s, early 70s. The consensus from the intelligence reports was that the Soviets were growing ever more powerful, that their economy was robust, that they were on their way to being the most formidable military power on the earth. Right through the late 1980s, government officials believed the evil empire was invincible. And then, in a matter of months, the Soviet Union collapsed from within. The impossible had become possible. Today, the Soviet army is in disarray. The Leninist ideology that once ruled with an iron fist is now an object of mockery. People are eagerly searching for an alternative to the official atheism they were force-fed so long. Throughout the Soviet republics and Eastern Europe, Christians are being invited to lead public gatherings in prayer. Schools are asking believers to come in and teach about Christianity. Universities are setting up departments of Christian Studies. Here at Prison Fellowship, we're getting invitations by the dozens to work in the Soviet prisons. Who would have anticipated it all? Who would have thought the Iron Curtain would melt down practically overnight? The answer is, absolutely no one. No one foresaw the events of the past year. Everyone thought it was impossible. The whole episode defies human explanation. And that suggests a different explanation. Let me explain. Recently I was talking with an old friend, who told me that his mother--who's now in her nineties--had been praying for the conversion of the Soviet Union ever since she was a small child. She spent a lifetime battling in prayer for that country. And she's not the only one. Ever since the 1930s, and the atrocities committed by Stalin, millions of Christians have prayed to God to overthrow Communist tyranny. I believe what we're seeing today is God's answer to the faithful prayers of His people. With God, the impossible becomes possible. I wonder what would happen if Christians started praying that way for this country. Think over the events here in the past year. America isn't suffering under political tyranny but we sure are suffering moral decay. The Clarence Thomas hearings, spilling out the most explicit sexual language into our American rooms. Magic Johnson revealing that he'd contracted AIDS from sleeping with a different girl in every town. William Kennedy Smith picking up women at bars for one-night stands. Schools ditching any form of prayer, even at graduation ceremonies. You know, it seems all the good news this year happened on the other side of the globe. I think maybe I'll call my friend, whose mother prayed for the Soviet Union all those years. And I'm going to ask him to pass on a message. "Thanks for praying for revival in the Soviet Union," I'm going to say. "Now won't you pray for the same thing here in America?"


Chuck Colson



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