Revive Us Again

4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
    and put away your indignation toward us!
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
    Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
    that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
    and grant us your salvation.

Psalm 85:4-7

“Lord, will you not revive us again?” The question posed by the Sons of Korah in Psalm 85:6 has been on the hearts of God’s people throughout the centuries. During times of spiritual darkness in the world and spiritual apathy in the Church, it is easy to question if God will once again bring revival. This, no doubt, is a question on the minds and hearts of many of you in our church family at Whitefield.

It is no secret that in recent years, we have witnessed a rapid spiritual and moral decline in our country and in our community. This decline has resulted in greater spiritual darkness in the world and spiritual apathy within the Church. Additionally, we have experienced a significant cultural shift. Our culture, which was once seemingly friendly (or at least neutral) towards the Christian faith is now pointedly anti-Christian. These are difficult times in which we find ourselves.

You and I might be tempted to lose heart at times like these. But we must remind ourselves of the words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Our God has overcome the world and is fully able to once again bring revival to His Church. Oh how we long for God to do this here and now!

My goal in this brief article is to shine the spotlight bright on God and His glorious work of revival. I will attempt to do this by first reminding us of what revival is. The reality is that there is a lot of confusion among God’s people regarding revival and I hope this article will help bring clarity. I will then make a couple of observations from revivals in the past, which I believe will help bring hope to those who do not think that revival is possible in our current day and age. It is precisely at times like the one in which we find ourselves that God has brought revival and He is more than able to do it again.

What is Revival?

Revival, at its most basic meaning, is God’s work of breathing new spiritual life into His Church. This breath of new spiritual life “causes the normal ministry of the gospel to surge forward with extraordinary spiritual power.”(1) As Church Historian Iain Murray writes “revival is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, brought about by the intercession of Christ, resulting in a new degree of life in the churches and a widespread movement of grace among the unconverted.”(2) Essentially, revival is a season in the life of a local church (or a group of local churches) in which God causes rapid spiritual and numerical growth.

It is what we see take place in Acts 2, when we read that the early church in Jerusalem, “devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).” God caused incredible spiritual growth among His people. He also caused rapid numerical growth: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2:46-47).” This was the first revival in the history of the Church.

With this basic understanding in mind of what revival is, I hope we can clarify a couple common areas of misunderstanding. First, revival is not a meeting or an event. It is an extraordinary move of God in and through His People. To call a Bible conference or an evangelistic crusade a “revival” is technically a misuse of the term. God can certainly cause a revival to break out at these events, but the events are not revivals in and of themselves.

Second, we, the people of God, cannot manufacture a revival. There is no secret formula that always leads to revival. Only God can cause a revival. Revivals only work according to His timetable, not ours. However, as we are about to see, there are certain conditions, both inside and outside of the Church, that have always preceded revivals in the past.

The Time is Ripe for Revival

A basic survey of Church History reveals that all revivals are preceded by a similar pattern of events. First, there’s a period of spiritual decline, both inside and outside of the Church. During this period of spiritual decline, either an individual or a small group of people recover a passion for Scripture, which leads them to repent of sin and to have a greater hunger for God. They then devote themselves to prayer, praying for revival in their churches and in their communities. Then God answers their prayers, bringing about sudden revival.(3)

An example of this pattern is the great Welsh Revival of 1904-1905. At the turn of the 20th Century, the small country of Wales had experienced a period of tremendous spiritual decline. Most of the churches in Wales were declining. However, God had amazing things in store for this country. He appointed a teenage boy named Evan Roberts to bring revival to the nation of Wales. At the age of 12, Roberts began to  regularly pray for revival. Not long after, several independent prayer groups began to spring up throughout Wales, crying out to God for revival. God answered their prayers with a resounding “Yes!”. Soon, “hundreds of meetings filled Wales with sounds of prayer, exhortation, and confession.”(4) Historians estimate that nearly 100,000 professed Jesus as their Savior and Lord during this revival, which was nearly 5 percent of the country’s population. This is incredible! To put this in perspective, imagine with me that a similar revival breaks out over the next couple of years in the United States; if this happened, we would see nearly 16 million Americans come to faith in Jesus!
I know this is difficult to imagine, but what you and I need to know is that our God is fully able to do this, right here and right now. The time is ripe for revival in our country and in our local churches. We have been in a period of serious spiritual decline for years. Remember, revivals are always preceded by a period of time like this. But revivals are also preceded by a movement of prayer among God’s people, who are totally desperate for Him and His work of revival.

There is an urgent need for God’s people to pray for revival. If we are going to see revival break out, we must once again become desperate for Him. Apathy should not even be named among us. We must remember the words of Jesus in John 15:5: “for apart from me you can do nothing.” Will you join me in crying out to God that He would revive us again?


  1. Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., When God Comes to Church: A Biblical Model for Revival Today, 9.
  2. Quoted in Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge, A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir, 37.
  3. Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge, A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir, 23-25.
  4. Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge, A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir, 103.

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