by Linzy Slayden
Revival is a season in the life of the church when God causes the normal ministry of the gospel to surge forward with extraordinary spiritual power. Revival is seasonal, not perennial. God causes it; we do not. It is the normal ministry of the gospel, not something eccentric or even different from what the church is always charged to do. What sets revival apart is simply that our usual efforts greatly accelerate in their spiritual effects. God hits the fast-forward button. Christians are empowered and refreshed and this blessing spills out from the church to wash over the nations with the result being a gathering of many new converts to Christ.
“Wilt thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee?” is what the psalmist pleads in Psalm 85:6.
But the teachings of the Bible go beyond its words. The Bible’s ideas are full of revival theology. The Scripture is clear. God is able to rend the heavens and come down with unexpected demonstrations of His saving power and more. When we see that God is the great life-giver and that we sinners are by nature the living dead, the whole biblical story stands as a thrilling account of reviving mercies!
However, it seems that we are living in the shadows of the great moving of revival. I, for one, want to see the power of God upon the church I pastor, I want to see it in your church, I want our missionaries to experience it and every endeavor we are involved in for the Lord’s work. We live in strange but exciting times. We see the church today awash in experience-seeking ministries. And as doctrinal and moral standards are eroding, people connect the dots and know something is missing. We live in an entertainment culture and our churches seem to want to be event churches every Sunday. And the quietness of communion with God, the dedication and heroism of Christian obedience, the delights of Christian thought and service and balance in ministry are privileges not encouraged by the mood of our times.
The modern world needs to see authentic, biblical Christianity that is exciting and fulfilling under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit of God.
Often we can feel like there is no hope. But time and again we are reminded to defy despair and pray for renewed enjoyment of God’s love and power.
Francis Schaeffer once prayed in public, “O God, we thank you that you exist.” Our hope is that God is there. He may withdraw from us the enjoyment of His nearness but He is still there. And as long as He is there, He can renew our experience of Him here.
We are grateful for God’s reviving mercies in the past. But I am not content with past blessings. My prayer is for the Lord to rend the heavens and come down again in these last days! Let’s have courage to pray boldly for a revival sent from God.