"Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?" Psalm 85:6
What is Revival?
Revivals are a sovereign move of God initiated by the Holy Spirit working through consecrated men and women. “Revivals are not churches filled with people, but people filled with God.”
In the book of Acts, it was said that these Christians who have turned the world upside down have come here also (Acts 17:6). In fact, Revivals turn things right side up: Restored relationships. Transformed communities. Drunkards made sober. Thieves returning stolen goods. Blasphemers sanctified. Marriages healed. Estranged children and parents reconciled. The selfish becoming sacrificial. Conversions. Miracles. Healings. Revived churches. Revitalised prayer meetings. Dynamic worship. Decisive action to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).
Revivals in the Bible
What Hinders Revival?
When one reads of the bold Christianity of the Book of Acts and of Revival in the times of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield and Andrew Murray, the question arises: What is hindering Revival in our time?
Prayerlessness. Neglect of the Word of God. Worldliness. Selfishness. Pride. Gossip. Slander. Gluttony. Lust. Passivity. Neutrality. Inactivity. Sitting on the fence. Lukewarmness. Half-heartedness. Indecisiveness. Cowardice. Compromise. These and so many other evidences of the lack of the fear of God quench the Holy Spirit, grieve the Holy Spirit and resist the Holy Spirit. There are so many distractions, deviations and delusions which are ensnaring and enslaving the people of God. God resists the proud but He gives grace to the humble.
What Can We Do to Work for Revival?
1. Full Surrender
You cannot expect maximum blessing from minimum commitment. Wholehearted surrender to God is essential. What you surrender to God He accepts, what He accepts He cleanses, what He cleanses He fills, and what He fills, He uses. We must determine not to settle for less than God’s best. Good can be the enemy of the best. We have to relinquish those second rate things that fill our head, hands and heart, so that we can receive God’s best.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
We need to hunger for reality, rejecting cheap grace and easy believism. If we want Spiritual Revival then we need to reject sensational, superficial emotionalism as fake. Do not settle for anything less than God’s very best.
“Restore us, O God of Hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!” Psalm 80:7
2. Destroy Idols
A study of Revivals in the Bible, and in history, reveals that all Revivals begin with a deeper appreciation for the Holiness of God and a realisation of how offensive our sin must be in the sight of our Holy God. Are there any CDs or DVDs that you need to break or throw away? Are there publications that you need to tear up and burn? Are there subscriptions and channels that you need to cancel? Are there websites that you need to block? Are there relationships that you need to end? Are there people that you need to make right with? Take decisive action to revitalise your devotional life. Reform your family. Restore the prayer meeting. Reform your local church.
“If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
3. Fear God
When the Books of the Law were read to King Josiah of Judah, he tore his robes in anguish, and exclaimed:
“Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us …” 2 Kings 22:13.
He called all the elders together to hear the Law of God and to repent together for the wickedness that they had allowed to flourish in the land. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
4. The Law of God
Like Josiah, we need to take a careful look at the Law of God. The Ten Commandments reflect the unchanging character of God. It shows us our responsibilities to God, to our parents and to our neighbours.
“… The Law was our tutor, to bring us to Christ, that we may be justified by Faith.” Galatians 3:24.
“The king stood by the pillar and renewed the Covenant in the presence of the Lord – to follow the Lord and keep His commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and with all his soul … Then all the people pledged themselves to the Covenant.” 2 Kings 23:3
Conviction of sin is the first step towards Biblical Reformation. This includes focusing on the Law of God, mourning over our sin, confessing that sin and undertaking whatever steps of restitution or obedience is necessary. God sent a prophet to declare to Josiah:
“Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I had spoken … I have heard you, declares the Lord.” 2 Kings 22:19
6. Decisive Action
This repentance was then followed by vigorous action to remove, or destroy, anything contrary to the Law of God - including the pornographic Asherah poles, the Baal altars where babies were sacrificed and the prostitutes and false prophets who had corrupted the people (2 Kings 23:4-10). The Bible records that Josiah:
“… turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” 2 Kings 23:25.
Wholehearted repentance and thorough restitution is foundational in preparing for Spiritual Revival. Return any stolen items. Pay back what you owe. Restore broken relationships. Repair what you have damaged. Have the courage to confront sin and thoroughly deal with it. Carefully study the Word of God and seek the Lord earnestly in prayer for guidance as to the decisive action that you need to take to seek first God’s Kingdom. Can you not do something more for God?
“If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord by deceiving his… or if he cheats him, or if he finds lost property and lies about it, or if he swears falsely, or if he commits any such sin … he must make restitution in full…" Leviticus 6:2-5.
Those who claim to want Revival, but are unwilling to thoroughly repent of every known sin and make full restitution, cannot be serious.
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline, so be earnest and repent.” Revelation 3:19
8. Back to the Bible
Revival is the work of God, but Reformation is our responsibility. Frequently, in the Bible, we see that God responds to consecrated and dedicated believers’ sincere attempts to work for Biblical Reformation by sending a Spiritual Revival.
"The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul …" Psalm 19:7.
Our duty is to go back to the Bible for Reformation and Revival.
9. Praying the Psalms
To revive our devotional lives we should start in the Psalms. The Psalms are the biggest Book of the Bible, the middle Book of the Bible, the prayer Book and hymnbook of the Bible. It is the most quoted part of the Bible. In the Gospels our Lord Jesus Christ quoted more from the Psalms than from any other section of the Old Testament. If you want to revive your devotional life, begin praying through the Psalms.
“Create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation…" Psalm 51:10-13
10. Seek God Wholeheartedly
Deeper Spiritual Life
Joseph Jenkins, a minister in, Cardiganshire had been seeking a deeper devotional life with the Lord and had experienced an intense love of God in his life. On 1 January 1904, he had a Deeper Spiritual Life Convention, encouraging others to seek the fire of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
I Love the Lord With All My Heart!
On the 14th February 1904, at a Sunday church service, a 16-year-old girl, Florie Evans stood to her feet and publicly confessed: “I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart.” As she spoke these words, the Holy Spirit seemed to fill the meeting.
Seeking the Lord
Many saw this as the beginning of the Revival. After church meetings were held to seek the Lord’s presence and empowerment and many young people, particularly girls and women in their teens and early twenties began spending extended time in intense prayer, seeking the Lord’s face.
O Lord Bend Us!
On 29th September 1904, evangelist Seth Joshua was addressing a convention near Cardigan. Seth had been praying for years that God would raise up a young man from the Coal mines to be used to inspire Revival in Wales. That night he saw his prayer answered. When 26 year old student, Evan Roberts made a heart rendering: “Oh, Lord, bend us!” the congregation was so gripped with this prayer that Wales made this the prayer of their heart.
Evan Roberts began to speak of an extraordinary work of God in spiritual Revival. He began testifying at his church in Moriah, Lougor, that those who were seeking a deeper spiritual life with the Lord should join him in extended prayer.
Souls Saved and Lives Transformed
At the extraordinary church services, after meetings, prayer meetings, churches were packed and souls were saved and individual lives were transformed. The societies themselves were changed as countless numbers of people came to Christ. It was estimated that over 150, 000 people came to Christ in Wales in the first 6 months of this move of God. Pubs and bars became empty. Brothels closed down. Men and women who used to waste their money getting drunk then began buying clothes and food for their families, and supporting their churches and neighbours with what they used to squander in drunkenness and gambling.
Theft and other crimes became less frequent, and often a magistrate came to court and found that there were no cases for him to try. Men who had previously used foul language began to sing God’s praises. The pit ponies became confused with the men that had previously cursed and abused them were now so kind and clean spoken that they did not understand the orders that were being given! The ponies then had to literally be retrained as they only had been used to cursing and beatings.
The dark tunnels underground in the mines, echoed with songs of praises, hymns and prayers, instead of crude speech, course jokes and gossip.
People who were in debt and careless about paying their bills came and made free restitution, paying back all that they had owed. Marriages, which had split up and people who had fallen out, were reconciled. Wales became a God fearing nation.
Not only were the churches filled to overflowing, but the prayer meetings were packed, vibrant and intense as people sought the Lord and poured out their hearts in prayer.
Keys to Revival
Pastors involved in the Welsh Revival regularly spoke of four keys to Revival:
“Create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, uphold me by Your genuine spirit, then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.” Psalm 51:10-13
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74
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Reformation & Revival