I was eighteen years old on February 7, 1964, when the Beatles first landed on American soil. Although I had seen a small photo of them in my husband’s copy of Newsweek and had been stunned by their “long” hair, I knew almost nothing about them. I do clearly remember the horror and embarrassment I felt when I saw the photo, however. Although their hair would not be considered long by any fashion standards from that day forward, in 1964 they appeared to me to look like cave men.
However, the “British Invasion” into this country brought much more than long hair. It brought with it a drug culture from which we as a nation have never recovered. I am not really blaming the Beatles; if they had not introduced America’s youth to drugs someone else would have, but when recreational drugs became part of our culture, everything changed.
Unfortunately, both medical doctors and psychiatrists extolled the virtues of marijuana, LSD, and various other mind-altering drugs. Fortunately for me, I always believed that drugs were horribly dangerous and that they would destroy anyone who sampled them even once. Thus, I was spared the consequences of taking drugs that millions of other people my age experienced.
It is interesting to note, however, that in the 1960s drugs were promoted as the way to “find God.” Many respected individuals, including Timothy Leary, constantly told young people that if they would take LSD, they would experience God. Psychiatrists regularly gave it to their patients—it is public knowledge that Cary Grant was regularly given LSD by his psychiatrist. And it is said that two of the Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison, were introduced to LSD when their dentist gave it to them while they were having dinner with him. In fact, there were no warnings that drug use could be anything other than a mind-expanding experience that would help the user understand himself and his world while experiencing God on a level that a sober person could never know; anyone who refused to even try LSD was considered “square.”
After a few years America’s youth realized that they would not find God in drugs, and they stopped looking for Him there. Many began dabbling in the occult, and quite a number found Satan, but it became common knowledge that God would not reveal Himself to someone who was smoking a joint or tripping on LSD. Unfortunately, that knowledge did not diminish drug usage; it simply altered the users’ goals.
But, something happened to those young people who had been sincerely looking for God; that something was the “Jesus Movement”. Those who had been honestly seeking Him continued to search. They did not want the formality and dry services offered by the denominational churches. They wanted to cry out to God from their innermost beings, and they wanted Him to answer. Their hair was long (really long) and the girls dressed in sandals and long flowing dresses; the boys dressed in sandals and loose fitting shirts with long flowing sleeves. Their appearances made their parents cringe, but under all that hair and flowing fabric were hearts that cried out to know God. And God answered that cry.
In the late sixties and early seventies the Jesus Movement exploded. Services were held in which hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of young people gathered to pray and sing and worship. There were some abuses, of course, but the Holy Spirit began to fall, and people who had never known God began to find Him.
Today those people are known as the Baby Boomers. We are the Evangelical Christians who pray for our children and our neighbors and our country, but we are getting old. We must soon pass the torch, but this generation is not prepared to take it. There are, of course, many young people who are genuine Christians, but the fire that came with the Jesus Movement has been all but extinguished. If we are to survive as a Christian nation, we must experience a resurgence of faith that only comes when the Holy Spirit falls.
For the past seventeen years—since 1995—I have been praying for a revival in this nation that will spread across the world. I now pray daily for a revival that will spread like “a raging fire” across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica, and to every island nation. I pray that there will not be one centimeter of earth where the Holy Spirit will not fall and call people to turn to Jesus and be saved. I pray for the Christians who live in countries where they are persecuted for their faith that they will be free to worship Jesus and preach the gospel. I pray that those who are not even seeking Him will find Him. I pray that those who sit in darkness will see a great light and that the name of Jesus will be praised and honored across the globe. I pray that God will send the greatest revival that the world has known to this date. I pray all of these things because I know that no matter what happens politically or economically, unless we turn to Jesus Christ as The Answer to our problems, we are doomed.
Today I ask you to join me in praying for a world-wide revival. Please set aside a time each day when you pray with all your heart. There is no greater purpose that you can have, there is no greater gift that you can give, there is no higher calling that you can receive than to pray that the world will turn to Jesus Christ and be healed of the sin that is destroying billions of lives. For it is only through finding a relationship with Jesus that this generation of young people will be prepared to carry the work forward to the next generation.
Joyce Swann is a nationally-known author and speaker. Her own story of teaching her ten children from the first grade through master’s degrees before their seventeenth birthdays is retold in her book, Looking Backward: My Twenty-Five Years as a Homeschooling Mother. Her novel, The Warrior, about how one woman's prayers change the lives of those around her, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information visit her website at Frontier 2000 or like her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/frontier2000mediagroup.