WHAT is TRUE REVIVAL?
by Don Harkins
What is revival? We all supposedly long for and pray for revival. We constantly hear both preachers and even sometimes politicians make statements to the effect that what America needs is revival. A look at Webster reveals that revival is "restoration, religious awakening, meeting, being made alive or refreshed".
What is true revival? Is God interested in revival? Has America gone too far down the wrong track to witness another great revival? Thank God there is revival sweeping many of the third world countries but how desperate are we for revival in America? Remember this definition of revival as given by one of the early revivalists, "nothing more than God finding a dwelling place on earth, nothing more or less than the abiding presence of Jesus Christ".
Let´s let an early revivalist, named Owen Murphy answer the question as to what is true revival. The following are quotes from his article 'This is Revival': "When men in the streets are afraid to open their mouths and utter godless words lest the judgments of God should fall; when sinners, overawed by the Presence of God tremble in the streets and cry for mercy; when, without special meetings and sensational advertising, the Holy Ghost sweeps across cities and towns in Supernatural Power and holds men in the grip of terrifying Conviction; when every shop becomes a pulpit; every heart an altar; every home a sanctuary and people walk softly before God, this is Revival".
"Today the word Revival has largely lost its real meaning. Our present generation, never having witnessed the mighty movings of God in nationwide spiritual awakening such as has taken place in past generations, has little conception of the magnitude of such a "visitation". "Heaven-sent revival is not religious entertainment, where crowds gather to hear outstanding preachers and musical programs: neither is it the result of sensational advertising - in a God-sent revival you don´t spend money on advertising; people come because Revival is there. Revival is an "awareness of God" that grips the whole community, and the roadside. The tavern, as well as the church, become the places where men find Christ. Here is the vast difference between our modern evangelistic campaigns and true revival. In the former, hundreds may be brought to a knowledge of Christ and churches experience seasons of blessings, but as far as the community is concerned little impact is made... In revival, the Spirit of God, like a cleansing flame, sweeps through the community, divine conviction grips people everywhere; the strongholds of the devil tremble, and many close their doors, while multitudes turn to Christ."
This is true revival and the church must be first follow the mandates of 2 Chronicles 7:14. How disturbing are the words of some of our leaders who estimate that only 25% - 30% of church members will actually go up in the rapture and how alarming it is to see the news reports that the social ills of our society such as divorce, adultery, homosexuality, unforgiveness, strife, jealousy, disputes and factions are as prevalent inside the church as they are outside the church. The church must have revival. How do we get there? In 2 Chronicles 7:14, we are told very explicitly how to experience revival and we are all familiar with these words. In this verse there are four conditions that must take place in order for revival to become a reality in our world today. "My people" must...humble themselves, must pray, must turn from their wicked way and must "seek My face" - four conditions to meet for revival. The sins of pride, unrighteousness and prayerlessness and all of the carnality within the churches must be dealt with before we see revival.
However, the question at hand is this, "IF", are we willing to pay the price for revival or will we be content for business as usual and witness an occasional time of refreshing in our midst while our families, communities, churches and nation slide further into anarchy, apostasy and apathy. It´s up to you and me. God will uphold His end of the challenge if we meet the conditions as outlined in His Word.
"IF" my people will: (1) Humble themselves, (2) Pray, (3) Turn from their wicked ways, and (4) Seek my face.
Andrew Bonar explains, "revivals begin with God´s people, the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervor and compassion and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bones. Oh, what responsibility this lays on the Church of God! If you grieve Him away from yourselves, or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely!
We need revival so that we can once again touch this nation and world for Christ. We must have revival, one that touches every segment of our society.
If we want revival, we will cry out to God out of desperation. A place that we know that we can´t survive without His touch and His indwelling presence. Hannah was desperate, so were Ezra, Nehemiah and the other prophets of old.
Evan Roberts of Wales was desperate for revival. In fact, he prayed 11 years for revival. He was a very humble man, a man in his twenties when in 1904, he witnessed the Welsh revival that swept the world. Will you be the one that perhaps makes the difference? Prayers of desperation and an intense desire for revival will produce groanings, travail, anguish, agony coming from the prayer closet. Prayers of DESPERATION.
Repentance or a turning away from the former, according to our scripture, must take place before revival. It's repentance or judgment. All of the sins of the church - pride envy, jealousy and unforgiveness must be repented-of if we want revival. Repentance is Godly sorrow and a turning away from the past. Ezra and Nehemiah cried out in repentance on behalf of their people. We must not only repent of our sins and failures, but also for the sinfulness of our church, families, communities and nations. Prayers of REPENTANCE.
Only then will true Revival come.