What is Revival?

Churches often advertise they are having a “revival”. But such announcing of revival is characterized by three things– it is sad, presumptuous, and weak.

First, it is sad. Revival means to bring to life again and thus churches are unwittingly advertising they are dying, in need of life, backslidden, lukewarm, and in a bad way. To be in a dying condition is a shame. It does not seem like something to advertise. But maybe credit should be given at least for honesty.

Then, It is also presumptuous. The Spirit of Go d is unpredictable–like the wind (John 3.8); how does a church know that they will be revived as a result of some special meetings with some visiting preacher? If God does not arise and visit them, the special meetings will be of no effect and business will go on as usual.

Finally, it is weak. Historic revival is not some evangelistic campaign, but it is God coming to a church, to churches or to a community in a supernatural way with unusual power. It is divine fire and you don’t have to advertise a fire. Examples?

In the Hebrides Revival of 1949 in Scotland, for example, God came in such a powerful way that communities were swept into the Kingdom of God almost overnight.

The Canadian Revival of 1970 began in Saskatoon, and in a matter of days the biggest building in the city could not handle the crowds. It spontaneously spread until finally in Winnipeg there were so many stolen items returned to stores that one department store had to designate a special building to store them all. Families were healed. Lives were changed.

After much prayer, the South African Revival of 1966 began when God came as at Pentecost with a “sound from heaven.” (Acts 2.2) Dozens each day came uninvited to the meeting place under conviction of sin and asking for spiritual help.

This is revival; this is new life. May God do it again, even in our city.

Habakkuk 3:2 says, “O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years.”

Psalm 85:6– “Will You not Yourself revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”

– Bob Jennings

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