Powerful preaching is a hallmark of true revival. Revival preachers demonstrate their commitment to the authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures, with bold, urgent, and uncompromising preaching, as they set before God’s people the way of life and death. Powerful, Spirit-filled sermons concerning sin, Christ and the cross penetrate the hearts of the saved and lost alike with the realities of eternity.
When God is about to bestow some great blessing on His church, it is often His manner, in the first place, so to order things in His providence as to show His church their great need of it, and to bring them into distress for want of it, and so put them upon crying earnestly to Him for it.
The nature of the operations and affections are to be inquired into and examined by the rule of God’s Word and not by the actions of mere sensual spirits.
Personal revival begins when the believer faces his sin honestly. Though painful, only honesty with God and others will enable the Christian to walk in purity and power. The following resolves are not a formula but are required of every believer.
1. Repent of every known sin (Rev. 3:19).
2. Forsake all questionable habits and activities (Rom. 14:23).
3. Make right any wrongs between yourself and others (Mt. 5:23-24).
4. Commune with God in prayer and be personally instructed through His Word (1 Thes. 5:17).
5. Trust God to use you as His specially designed tool for revival in others (Jas. 5:19-20).
Our wills must be broken to His will. To be broken is the beginning of revival. It is painful, it is humiliating, it is the only way. It is being ‘Not I, but Christ,’ and a ‘C’ is a bent ‘I.’ The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through us until the proud self within us is broken. This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights, and seeks its own glory, at last bows its head to God’s will, admits it’s wrong, gives up its own way to Jesus, surrenders its rights and discards its own glory – that the Lord Jesus might have all and be all. In other words, it is dying to self and self-attitudes.
We are not to think that we can organize prayer as if we are in control. The very ability to pray with unction and faith is given by the Holy Spirit, and although that activity largely precedes revival, prayer also is an integral part of revival.
Prayer the genesis of revival. The beginning of a time of revival invariably has been marked by quickening of the ordinary prayer meetings, resulting in new vitality, more participation, more sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit, and more unction in intercession.
Revival is a reality about which we must give ourselves no rest, and the Lord no rest, until He comes and makes His church the praise of all the earth (Isa. 62:6-7).
When the vision of Christ’s glory, demonstrated in the salvation of souls, becomes an intense desire in our hearts, that is especially the time when we must pray with fervor for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in revival.
True revival lives in prayer. Prayer draws power from revival. We need only to follow the way-marks of their remarkable history to be satisfied of their inseparable unity.
The coming revival must begin with a great revival of prayer. It is in the closet, with the door shut, that the sound of abundance of rain will first be heard. An increase of secret prayer with ministers will be the sure harbinger of blessing.
No great spiritual awakening has begun anywhere in the world apart from united prayer – Christians persistently praying for revival.
If we would do much for God, we must ask much of God… I cannot insist on this too much. Prayer is the first thing, the second thing, and the third thing necessary for a minister, especially in seasons of revival… Pray, then, my dear brother, pray, pray, pray.
From the day of Pentecost, there has been not one great spiritual awakening in any land which has not begun in a union of prayer, though only among two or three. And no such outward, upward movement has continued after such prayer meetings have declined. It is in exact proportion to the maintenance of such joint and believing supplication and intercession that the Word of the Lord in any land or locality has had free course and been glorified.
There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.
It’s true that [many] are praying for a worldwide revival. But it would be more timely, and more scriptural, for prayer to be made to the Lord of the harvest, that He would raise up and thrust forth laborers who would fearlessly and faithfully preach those truths which are calculated to bring about a revival.
When I pray for revival I pray first for the most radical thing: The utter devotion and allegiance of your hearts to Christ. That you would love Him so deeply and long for Him so passionately that His coming would be your great hope, and death would be gain, and life would be for Christ and His kingdom.
While revival originates from God, the Holy Spirit has appointed certain means to be used for the advancement of His kingdom. The foremost of these is the preaching of the Word of God accompanied by earnest prayer. Yet, no amount of human endeavor can assure results. The same is true of revival: no measured amount of our activity will guarantee an equivalent blessing, for God’s blessing is bestowed according to His good pleasure (Zech. 4:6).
Let Christians remember, that in a season of revival as well as in a season of coldness, the evidence of piety is to be sought in the fruits of the Spirit. And let sinners remember that no degree of attendance or means, no degree of fervor, can be substituted for repentance of sin and faith in the Savior
Oh! men and brethren, what would this heart feel if I could but believe that there were some among you who would go home and pray for a revival – men whose faith is large enough, and their love fiery enough to lead them from this moment to exercise unceasing intercessions that God would appear among us and do wondrous things here, as in the times of former generations.
Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late – and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.
It is an instructive and solemn fact, brought out in the history of more than one revival, that when a whole neighborhood had been well watered with the showers of grace, no drop of blessing has descended there where a spirit of controversy and strife had obtained a footing. The Spirit of God hovered around but fled from the scene of discord as from a doomed region where his dove-like temper could find no resting-place… Ever remember that “His work is sown in peace of them that make peace,” and no dwelling can be more distasteful, no vessel more unsuitable to Him, than a heart which delights itself with matters that provoke contention and strife… Labor with all diligence to keep your own minds in the peace of God, and in your intercourse and connection with others ever to strive for “the things which make for peace.”
Men are wondering why the Revival delays its coming. There is only one thing that can delay it, and that is lack of prayer. All Revivals have been the outcome of prayer. One sometimes longs for the voice of an archangel, but what would that avail if the voice of Christ Himself does not stir us up to pray?
There are no magic formulas for revival. We cannot command it. We may await it with longing, and we are bound to express our longing in prayer.