Leeland are on a mission. Our topic of conversation is quickly drawn to one key area. Revival.
The band's latest album The Great Awakening is a phenomenal record with some of the best songs the four piece has ever recorded. And with a fresh passion to see their home nation turn back to God, the message behind the music is similarly stunning.
“Our heart is to see revival come,” lead singer Leeland Mooring says, sounding both matter-of-fact and very excited.
He may only be 23, but Leeland’s maturity in both songwriting and our shourt interview shines through. We’re only a few minutes in and he’s happily sharing insights into church history.
“One particular testimony in the Great Awakening was the city of Denver, the entire city at 12 o clock noon would stop what they were doing and spend an hour in prayer. Downtown bustling Denver would shut down. That’s amazing! That’s what revival is, when it starts in not just church but starts transforming the entire culture of a city. That’s what revival is and that’s the heart behind the record.”
Growing up in Texas
The band is very much a family affair. Leeland and Jack (keys) Mooring are brothers. Drummer Mike Smith reveals all of the band are Texas based Pastor’s kids. Leeland and Jack's sister Shelley is also in the band (bass) and the lead singer will later reveal his Mum has helped write some of the band’s songs.
“We all grew up in the Texas Bible belt,” Mike continues. “And a lot of people go to church so we all had those individual experiences of actually knowing Jesus and salvation isn’t just some sort of flippant belief but it’s a lifestyle of giving your life to God and believing in him.”
God stirred up a passion in us to see revival again all over the world
The band are honest about their struggles and Jack Mooring admits it’s easy to become complacent.
“We’ve done this for 6 years and it’s so easy to plateau and get into autopilot. There’s been quite a few of those seasons where God has to shake us out of that. Going into this record was one of them. God was really shaking us up because Leeland before the show would have this big book of Jonathan Edwards sermons, he was so excited he’d read this ridiculously long passage of a sermon right before he’s go on stage but it was just so powerful.”
“God was really speaking to us don’t get comfortable and don’t lose your edge. We started reading about a lot of these revivalists and in particular revivals that started here [in the UK] and moved to the colonies in the 1700s. God stirred up a passion in us to see revival again all over the world but particularly in America because large portions of the Church are dead.”
Prayer: The key to revival
(c) Mikey Oldfield
It’s clear that a passion has been stirred in the band as nearly every question asked returns a revival themed answer.
“One thing God has put in our heart is call our generation to prayer,” Leeland says. “I think it’s the most important thing we don’t hear preached about from the pulpit. A secret, hidden life of prayer.”
“I believe God is moving all around the world but I believe in a sudden move of God. There’s a difference between a sweet presence of God on a Sunday morning and something that happens when people come together corporately and individual and begin to have lifestyles of secret prayer for their family and a sovereign move of God when something impossible in our own power happens as an entire nation’s eyes are open to their need for God. That’s what happened in every great revival but every great revival that’s happened in church history was proceeded by prayer. Some of them years and years of prayer.”
“The Welsh Revival is a great example. Evan Roberts was 26 when the revival fell but not a lot of people know he was 13 when he was called to pray for revival. His parents thought he was crazy cause all he would do is fast and pray. God gave him a vision at 13 that he would see 100,000 souls saved in Wales and eventually he saw the fruit of that but for 13 years he spent time in prayer. I believe God is calling our generation to pray.”
Praying for a work of the Holy Spirit in their nation has started with the band. “There’s hardly a night when we stick exactly to the set,” Mike says. Leeland laughs about a time they played three songs in an hour long set. “It seriously was awesome,” he says.
I believe God is calling our generation to pray
Tears of the Saints
One of the bands most popular song is Tears of The Saints – a ballad with a prodigal son theme. I ask about the story behind it.
“When you’re pastor’s kids you’re setting up, tearing down and are an unpaid church employee by default! We had a really special Sunday morning and I felt that God wasn’t done with me. When I feel the presence of God strongly I just weep.”
“We were leaving the church and I asked Dad to drop me at the house. It was a really sweet time. I was just on the piano in the family music room. I started singing some old hymns and I started thinking about my friends who didn’t know Jesus. It was a reality of the heart of God for lost people.”
“God grieves over people who don’t have a relationship with him. The Bible says that God desires all men on the earth will be saved. That reality hit me and that song dropped into my heart except for the bridge so I sang the song to Jack and he immediately got this really cool bridge idea. It’s a special song to me.”
With four highly successful albums already under the belt, the music is sure to continue for quite some time. But unlike most bands, perhaps Leeland's legacy will not just be songs, but a reputation for stirring others to pray for the next Great Awakening.
August 6th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes