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General Bible Courses > Living by the Book > Revival by the Book

Chapter 7: Features and Conditions of Revival


IN THIS CHAPTER, you will discover:       

·   How revival’s characteristics reflect God’s nature and purposes.       

·   The conditions necessary for revival.    

AS A RESULT, you will be able to:       

·     Identify the elements of true revival.       

·     Prepare for personal and corporate revival.  

Principle Features of Revival

Key Scripture: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth. Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered” (Ps. 108:5-6).

We have just concluded an overview of revivals through history, beginning with those in the Bible and progressing through church history to the present day. As we learned in Chapter 1 and have seen through the historical examples, it is impossible to define revival as planned evangelistic meetings. A revival cannot be “scheduled” at all, because it is the work of God which He manifests in His own ways, in His own time, and to His own glory. Our working definition of revival highlights this truth: revival is “God’s periodic spiritual intervention in the normal course of human affairs and the ongoing renewal of the church by the Holy Spirit.” Only God can change people’s hearts; only God can bring about revival. In this chapter we will begin to draw some conclusions about the nature and purposes of revival for the church and the world. While no formula for revival exists because God may work in new ways in subsequent awakenings, there are distinguishable characteristics of revival that can be identified, and which are present in a genuine work of God. Since revivals occur for God, by God, and through God, the features of revival will naturally reflect His character, His ways, and His priorities. What are some of the attributes and purposes of God which are manifest in revival? The Lord is holy, righteous, and powerful. He is full of love, mercy, peace, joy, and grace. It is His will that people love and reverence Him; that multitudes come to know and believe in Him; and that individuals, churches, and cultures be renewed through the power of the resurrected Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. As we explore the features of revival, these attributes and purposes of God will be evident. It will be clear that revival is a total work of God: that His holiness, power, love, and mercy are manifest; that he chooses “leaders” who will reflect His own glory; and that revival makes a profound and lasting impact on individuals, churches, and society. These features of revival have been clearly demonstrated in the historical examples we have just studied.

To God Be the Glory

Martyn Lloyd-Jones has written, “A revival is a miracle. It is a miraculous, exceptional phenomenon” (Revival, copyright © 1987, Crossway Books, p. 111). A primary characteristic of revival is that it is a demonstration of the power and grace of God. It occurs when Christians come to the point where they recognize there is absolutely no solution to the personal and cultural crises confronting them except God’s intervention alone. When people come to Christ, they come through faith and grace. The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” In the same way revival is a gift of God, and no person can boast of having initiated it or carried it out. All the glory goes to God. As the Lord declared through His prophet, “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Isa. 42:8). Pre-revival conditions often include a weak, ineffective church, societal decay, and a lack of love and reverence for God not only by unbelievers, but by believers as well. Too often, those who confess the name of Christ rob Him of His deserved glory by doing His work in their own strength, or by growing cold in their love for Him. Unbelievers essentially ignore the Lord or are in rebellion against Him. Such striving, ungratefulness, apathy, or rebellion against God is an affront to His holiness, love, and mercy. To remind us of His omnipotence and to show us His grace, the Lord sends revival — “to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6). When Jesus went to Jerusalem just before His crucifixion, the people went before Him, saying, “Hosanna in the highest!” The religious authorities were appalled, and told Jesus to tell them to stop. Jesus replied, “I tell you...if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). In a sense, spiritual awakenings are the “stones crying out” because we have failed to give Him glory, and to honor and serve Him. The primary feature of true revival is that God alone is glorified!

Divine Power

As a result of God’s miraculous epiphany, or appearing, through revival, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit are experienced to such a degree that many people are overwhelmed by it. Men and women are filled with awe and even fear, and know unquestionably that God Himself is present, and is orchestrating everything that is occurring. There are often supernatural manifestations, such as miraculous healings of the sick, grief and public remorse by repentant sinners, and the Holy Spirit’s fullness overflowing in people’s lives. Revival is astonishing, overpowering, sweeping. It is the power of God, moving and accomplishing all He purposes and wills. Lloyd-Jones has also written, “[Revival] can happen anywhere. Thank God! That is what makes life so romantic and so hopeful at the same time. There is no limit. And why is this? To show again that it is the sovereign work of God. You cannot explain it” (Revival, p. 115). A second feature of revival then is that it is the sovereign work of God. This restores to the hearts and minds of the people a reverence and honor for God and His glory.

Characteristics of Revival Leaders

There are no real “leaders” of revival because the Holy Spirit orchestrates when, where, and how revival occurs. Yet God uses individuals and groups to bring revival as instruments of His power and grace. The men and women God has used in revival have not been of one particular personality type, nor have they all been among the clergy. They have varied from the unlearned and unknown to the scholarly and prominent. They have all differed in age, temperament, and natural ability. However, there does seem to be one particular constant in the types of persons God uses. Often the Lord raises up students to pray for and “lead” revival. Dr. David McKenna in The Coming Great Awakening chronicles the unique role students have played in American revivals. Students are open, zealous, and dynamic. They want to change the world and believe they can. From the students at Yale during the First and Second Great Awakenings to the students at Asbury in the 1970s, God has used students to pave the way for revival. Yet whomever God uses, it is evident that He has chosen them to reveal His own glory and power. It is characteristic of spiritual awakenings that the work of the Holy Spirit is infinitely more powerful and far-reaching than anything those involved in revival had ever thought or imagined. Scholar and philosopher Jonathan Edwards knew with the same certainty as shoe salesman turned evangelist D. L. Moody that God was at work in an unprecedented way. Moreover, those instrumental in spiritual awakening recognize that their own personalities are transformed as God works through them. The Holy Spirit comes in a unique way with power, anointing, and discernment for a period of time. They may become dynamic preachers with new boldness. Or they may preach as they always have, yet with phenomenal results, or they may not preach at all. But the Holy Spirit’s presence is so strong where they are that people are compelled to come to God. Revival leaders may also be almost literally “crushed” with prayer and groaning intercession.

While revival often changed these leaders forever because of what they had experienced, in the aftermath they generally returned to their former personality and style, although their ministries were usually more effective. This again shows that revival is simply the power of God working in a remarkable way. No person can or should receive the glory. God’s chosen instruments, who are supernaturally used to initiate revival, have consistently been characterized by unusual consecration and faith. They have been called to “get serious with God,” to pray earnestly and intercede, and to have great faith for what God can accomplish. Revival comes from heaven, but it doesn’t just “drop out of the sky.” It is always preceded by deep repentance and preparation. John Gillies, in his Historical Accounts of Revivals (1795), highlighted the qualities of revivalists. They were:

  • Earnest about the great ministry work which they had entered
  • Bent upon success
  • People of faith
  • People of labor
  • People of patience
  • People of boldness and determination
  • People of prayer
  • People of most decided doctrine
  • Characterized by breadth and power in their preaching
  • People of solemn character and deep spirituality

A third feature of revival, therefore, is that men and women are used by God in extraordinary ways and with extraordinary power for a specific season of time. And they are dedicated to God and His purposes, reflecting the character of Christ in their lives.

Characteristics of Revival

In the next few sections we will examine the characteristic ways revivals have impacted individuals, the church, and society. These effects are interrelated and cannot really be separated. As we examine each aspect, we will notice that, even though individuals are confronted by God in a very personal and pointed way, they do not experience revival in isolation. True revival is a corporate experience — involving not only individuals, but the church and community. Moreover, revivals often spring up in different geographic locations simultaneously. No one can rationalize, analyze, or explain the phenomenon, and no one could control it if they dared to try.

Characteristic Effects of Revival on Individuals

As God intervenes in human affairs and the Holy Spirit comes powerfully and gloriously in revival, the characteristic effects on individuals are striking. There is often sudden, intense conviction of sin, confession and repentance, restitution for wrongs, and testimony to the work of God in people’s lives. Meetings often go on for days. The gatherings may be quiet and somber, or they may be characterized with exuberance, supernatural healings, and deliverance. But God’s irresistible power is evident in either case. Revival affects people of all ages, backgrounds, and personalities. Often people are supernaturally drawn to the places where revival is taking place. People many times are literally bowed down in agony over personal sins, whether their sins are great or small; and they repent and confess their sins without an altar call or any human persuasion. Jesus said in John 16:8 that the Holy Spirit “will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” Peter did not persuade the people to believe at Pentecost: the Holy Spirit did. And while this is true in any conversion, the Holy Spirit convicts in an extraordinarily personal way in revival. During an awakening, people are overwhelmed with a sense of God’s immanent presence. After they have repented and confessed their sin, they are filled with a zeal for God and His holiness. And they experience love, joy, and peace. It is truly a demonstration of the kingdom of God on earth, characterized by the “righteousness, peace and joy” Paul said accompanies the kingdom (Rom. 14:17). When believers are filled with the Holy Spirit, they receive the Spirit’s power and strength for ministry, and then exhibit genuine Christ-like character that affects their whole lives. A fourth feature of revival then is that individuals are radically convicted, converted, and transformed.

Characteristic Effects of Revival on the Church

When individuals are cleansed from sin and filled with the Spirit’s power and love, it inevitably affects their personal relationships, especially within the church. Since we are all members of one body, Christians can no longer remain “lone rangers” in their faith. In true revival, they regain the awareness that they are joined one to another. During an awakening the body of Christ is renewed and restored ethically and morally. People begin to live holy, God-fearing lives. Individual sin is overcome; broken relationships are restored. Since many converts join the churches, church membership and participation soar. These believers are committed to God and the church; their faith is not superficial or complacent. As a result of revival, many people are called to pastoral work. New churches are started; new ministries are developed. The word of God is preached with authority, and there is a return to sound doctrine and the basics of Christian faith and life. People live in the pattern of the New Testament church in teaching, fellowship, and prayer. During periods of revival, there is a tremendous harvest of people coming into the kingdom of God. Christians are motivated and energized to share their faith, and people are ripe for the gospel; indeed, they are often irresistibly drawn to God by the Holy Spirit. A fifth feature of revival is renewal of the church.

Characteristic Effects of Revival on Society

As individuals and churches are energized with the love of God and zeal for others, and as the power of God draws and convicts unbelievers, society is transformed in dramatic ways. In society, as in the church, the moral level is raised. Crime goes down, jails are emptied, liquor stores close. The “atmosphere” of society and the behavior of the general public become more godly, even if people have not made a commitment to Christ. Individuals and churches become profoundly concerned for the poor, the needy, and the oppressed. Societal reforms inevitably occur. Revival has resulted in the formation of hospitals and orphanages, the abolition of slavery, and many more reforms. Therefore, a sixth feature of revival is sweeping social and cultural reform.

Characteristic Effects of Revival on the World in General

Revivals are not always isolated to a single country, location, or people. Awakening has occurred in various parts of the world simultaneously. This is a testimony to the work of God in worldwide moves of the Spirit at particular times in history. And so, revival can have an impact that spans the globe and moves forward the ever-unfolding purposes and plans of God. Revival also results in renewed zeal by individuals, churches, and other groups to carry out the Great Commission. Interest in missions increases; an influx of people enter the mission field, and new avenues and strategies for missions emerge. Our seventh feature of revival then is that it can influence the world at large. Conclusion Revival lasts for a designated period of time. God alone knows the time frame and His full purposes and plans for each awakening. As Lloyd-Jones has written, revival “comes, lasts for a while, and then passes” (Revival, p. 105). This is to reaffirm (a characteristic which cannot be overstated) that it is God who brings revival. He is sovereign: the Alpha and the Omega, the first and last. Revival is a work of God alone. That revival is completely a work of God is evident in its features: it brings glory to God and reverence for His name and power; it uses believers as divine instruments of awakening far beyond anything resembling their own ability; and it radically alters individuals, the church, and society. Revival often comes when people can no longer cope with the crushing personal and societal problems confronting them. It is at this time, when people come before God in utter humility, that He intervenes and brings revival for His own glory. Richard Owen Roberts wrote, “When can revival be expected? If revival is the extraordinary movement of the Holy Spirit, it can be expected when the sovereign God of the universe sends it. And when is God likely to send an extraordinary work? At a time of extraordinary need when His people are in the grip of extraordinary desire and when nothing short of an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit will satisfy” (Revival, copyright © 1982, Tyndale House, p. 57).

Life Application: In his interview Pastor E. V. Hill states that “God has a way of shaking us up.” He goes on to say, “When the church is shaken and it turns to God, God is pleased, and then many results follow.” In what ways do you think God is shaking the church today? Are you experiencing this shaking in your personal life as well?

Conditions of Revival

Key Scripture: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts” (Jer. 4:3-4).

When we are gripped with a deep desire for revival because of the overwhelming need and spiritual decline around us, what should our response be? Since spiritual awakening is the sole work of God, does He require anything of us to bring it about? Charles Finney used the metaphor of “sowing seed” in his answer to this question. We must meet certain conditions of revival, and then, in utter dependence on God, expect Him to cause that seed to mature and bear fruit. This metaphor of sowing seed is found in Jeremiah 4, where the Lord tells the people of Israel they need to “break up the unplowed ground” of their lives, to “sow seeds” in soil which is not infested with thorns, and to “circumcise their hearts” to the Lord. He wanted them to return to Him so they could become cleansed, holy servants, ready and able to do His will and to reflect His glory. They proved unwilling. How will this generation respond? Our response should be to prepare for revival by sowing seeds of righteousness, obedience, and accountability. God wants to bring widespread personal and corporate renewal. Yet to lay the groundwork for this harvest, we are called to be microcosms of revival in our own hearts and lives: to repent, be cleansed, pray and intercede, and walk in the power of His Spirit. And we must be committed to personal holiness. By doing so, we will not bring revival; only God can do that. However, if we fail to do so, revival will not come. Our own desire for personal revival is one of the ways God tells us He is getting ready to revive us.

Breaking Up Unplowed Ground

When we begin to contemplate the conditions of revival, we need to start with the “unplowed ground” in our own hearts. This is anything that blocks our relationship with God, and keeps us from maturing — any obstacles to loving God, hearing His word, and obeying Him. Some of these include: unconfessed sin, pride, rebellion, hardened hearts, apathy toward unbelievers, lost love for Christ, and superficiality (shallow faith reflected in prayerlessness and lack of Bible study). We may not feel that our hearts are hardened. We may attend church, worship God, and minister in the choir or Sunday school. Yet our commitment may be outward only. To live as a faithful disciple, continually responsive to the Spirit and instantly available for service, we need to ask God to show us our hearts, to repent continually of known sin, and to seek His face. The Lord asks, “Who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?” (Jer. 30:21). As David said, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Ps. 51:10, 12). Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. And as we humble ourselves before God, He will cleanse us, restore us, and transform us into the image of Christ. Cleansing from sin lays the groundwork for revival.

Rooting Out the Thorns

Besides breaking up our unplowed ground, we need to keep from “sowing among thorns.” In Jesus’ parable of the sower, the seeds sown among thorns grew a little, but then were choked by the thorns, so that they were not fruitful. Jesus described the “thorns” that can choke out our own fruitfulness, hindering the life of Christ in us and the good works He has foreordained for us to do. These thorns are “the worries of this life,” “the deceitfulness of wealth,” and “the desires for other things.” When the Lord told the Israelites in Jeremiah 4 not to sow among thorns, He was lovingly warning them not to let anything choke out His word from their lives. They needed to pay close attention to what He said, take it to heart, and obey it. Yet, as was mentioned earlier, they ignored this warning. In preparation for revival, we must examine our own lives to see if anything has become more important than the Lord. If so, we are in real danger of being choked by the thorns that distract us from God. This is serious and not to be taken lightly.

We need to ask ourselves such questions as:

  • Do we have an undue preoccupation with the worries of this life?
  • Do we keep putting off our time with God until we can fit it into our schedule?
  • Do we fret about material needs instead of trusting God?

God knows we have needs. Yet they must not hinder us from trusting Him, from keeping in constant communion with Him, and being responsive to His Spirit. We also need to ask ourselves questions about our attitude toward money and material things. Are we pursuing money with the wrong motivations? Are we storing up wealth with no consideration for the poor? Do we consider money and possessions to be our security, rather than the Lord? There is nothing wrong with money, in and of itself. Yet God does not want a desire for wealth or security to come before our trust in Him. Jesus said that without God it is impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. He said this directly after the rich young ruler refused to follow Him because he would have to give up his riches. This incident recorded in Mark 10:17-31 is instructive. Jesus had just invited the young man to follow Him and become one of His disciples. He might have been another Peter or John. He had the potential to be dedicated uniquely to God. Indeed, Jesus “loved him” (v. 21). Therefore, we must not miss Jesus’ call to follow Him by having a distorted view of money and possessions, and what they can provide for us. Finally, are we setting our hearts on “other” things — things that are not of the Lord, or which do not have eternal value? What are our priorities and goals? We live in the “real” world, and must go about our daily lives and tasks. We have jobs, spouses, and children who require our care. There is nothing wrong with these things; they are a normal part of God’s created order. Yet Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33, emphasis added). Are we seeking first the kingdom of God? Do we love Christ and obey His commandments? Is Jesus Christ really the Lord of our life? The apostle Peter wrote, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord” (1 Peter 3:15). Such a Spirit-led examination of our hearts and motivations is essential. And it is a regular part of Christian discipleship and growth. But in preparation for revival we are to seek God and examine ourselves with special dedication and intensity. This does not mean brooding introspection or self-condemnation. Rather, it means an honest look at the way we are ordering our lives. Other interests in life should pale in comparison to seeking God, praying for renewal, and obeying Him. This is not a license to neglect our families and responsibilities. But it does mean scheduling our time and sacrificing lesser priorities to seek God wholeheartedly, and with humility.

Righteousness and Truth as Seeds of Revival

After we have removed the thorns from our lives (an ongoing process), we need to “sow seeds of righteousness” in preparation for revival. Two of these seeds are integrity and truth. We need to renew our own commitment to biblical truth, accountability in church fellowship, and the authority of spiritual leadership. In our churches we need to preach the whole gospel, not a “watered down” version which neglects ongoing discipleship and faithfulness. When sharing with unbelievers on a one-to-one basis, we must also emphasize the full gospel in our conversations. And above all, we need to be living testimonies to the truth of Jesus Christ. Our lives, our words, our actions need to be honest, faithful, and sincere. As St. Francis said, “Preach the gospel all the time; if necessary use words.”

Accountability as a Seed of Revival

As just mentioned, we need to renew our commitment to church fellowship and accountability. Historically, we’ve seen how small bands of people, such as Wesley’s “Holy Club,” gathered for mutual growth and responsible Christian living. Such small groups are essential for personal holiness before God. On our own, we are likely to become spiritually lazy, to ignore or bury sins rather than repent of them, and to pursue selfish gain and desires instead of godly purposes. We do not belong to Christ in isolation. We are always part of the church — the body of Christ — and need each other, if our spiritual lives are to be sustained. Healthy groups that practice accountability do not degenerate into social clubs. And they do not allow the leader or others to control people’s lives and subject them to humiliation for confessed sins. An accountability group should be characterized by a commitment to biblical truth, unconditional love, humility, prayer for one another and for the lost, bearing one another’s burdens, testimonies to God’s work in members’ lives, worship in Spirit and truth, and concern for the community and world.

Prayer as a Seed of Revival

After cleansing from sin, there is no greater or more essential foundation for revival than prayer — not casual prayer, but intercession that involves time and commitment. This is serious business because when we enter into prayer for revival, we are immediately thrust into the middle of a spiritual battle: a battle for the eternal destiny of the souls of men, women, and children. Our adversary does not take this struggle lightly, so we should not either. We must seek the filling and empowering of the Holy Spirit for effective spiritual warfare, and keep a continually cleansed heart before the Lord. Our prayers need to reflect a divine love and concern for those who do not know Christ. Jesus “came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). As we are drawn closer to Him in devotion and service, we will share His priorities and concerns. Jesus wept over the stubbornness of those in Jerusalem who refused to come to Him. He told the parable of the shepherd who celebrated finding one lost sheep and bringing him safely home. He said, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7). Jesus also told the parable of the prodigal son: the father rejoiced at the return of his son who had rebelled but had now returned home. And 2 Peter 3:9 states that God is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Scripture is replete with God’s calls to the lost and rebellious. Although these scriptures are familiar, often they make little impact on us. But as we seek the heart of Jesus Christ in prayer, we will begin to comprehend the reality of eternity. We will share our Lord’s grief and pain over those eternally lost if they do not repent and believe. And we will also share in the unconditional love He has for them. This understanding will not come unless we align our desires and motivations with God’s. Likewise, we will not be motivated to pray unless we have this oneness with the purposes of God. Dedicated intercession, so essential for revival, requires us to identify with those lost in their sins and to take personal responsibility for the sins of the nations.

Faith as a Seed of Revival

Since faith is essential to spiritual effectiveness, it is likewise crucial as we prepare for revival. Society’s myriad problems cannot be solved through human strength and wisdom; rather we must rely on God’s promise to heal our land when we humble ourselves and seek His face (2 Chron. 7:14). Regarding the possibility of revival, Jesus Himself told us to “open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). The Lord challenges us to see the potential for revival at home and abroad and then exercise our faith, believing that the nations will be a spiritual inheritance for Christ’s kingdom. As we begin to share the Lord’s desire to bring spiritual awakening, He will help and strengthen us. Once we realize this and put our complete confidence in Him, we are on the right track toward revival.

Consecrate Ourselves to the Lord by Circumcising Our Hearts

After breaking up our unplowed ground, guarding against the thorns of spiritual distraction, and sowing seeds of righteousness, we need to “circumcise” our hearts before the Lord. In the Old Testament circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants. Later, the law was given to Moses as a covenant between God and Israel. The Israelites failed continuously to love God and remain true to the covenant, so that God referred to their faithlessness and rejection as “adultery,” with all its painful implications. With the coming of Jesus Christ came a new “circumcision” representing the new covenant God makes with believers. The problem of faithlessness has been solved by God in the new covenant, because He puts His law in our minds and writes it on our hearts (cf. Jer. 31:33). The apostle Paul wrote that “circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code” (Rom. 2:29, emphasis added). It is clear from Scripture that circumcision of the heart is the work of God. How then are we to circumcise our hearts to the Lord? This act corresponds with what Jesus told us is the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). We should settle for nothing but total dedication of our hearts and lives to God. On the basis of the new covenant, we belong to him and are to give ourselves completely to Him in love and obedience. This dedication and obedience is to be marked by joy, not fear, because Christ lives in us and enables us to love and obey Him. He said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). An illustration of our obligation to total dedication can be drawn from Matthew 22. In this incident, the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking Him whether or not they should pay taxes to the pagan Caesar. After having them admit that Caesar’s portrait and inscription were on their coins, Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (v. 21). One of the implications of Jesus’ answer is that every person is made in the image of God, and therefore has the Lord’s portrait and inscription upon them. We need to give to God what is God’s — ourselves. We are to live in the new covenant God has made with us, not just consider it part of our theology. Revival will come when Christians dedicate all that they are and all that they have to Jesus; when they say, “Whatever the cost, I give myself completely to you; work your will in me.”


Revival is a work of God. Yet He calls each of us to participate in this process, for God does not work alone, apart from His people. Because the church is the body of Christ, He wants us to share in His life and His purposes. In fact, our oneness with Him makes our participation with Him inherent and inevitable. It is our proper role and position as His children. We are to identify with the will and intentions of God. He calls us to participate in His glorious yet necessary work of revival — the marvelous spiritual awakening of those dead in their sins, and of those whose love for Christ has grown cold. It is impossible for us to bring about revival. But our desire for revival is proof of His desire to send revival. We can prepare the way for it as we fully dedicate ourselves to God in repentance, holiness, and love. As we pray earnestly and persistently, we share in the very mission of Christ Himself: “to seek and save what was lost.”

Life Application: Dr. James Draper mentions several characteristics of revival that are often overlooked: (1) God wrung from the people the acknowledgement that they had violated God’s laws; (2) intercessors like Ezra identified with the sins of the nation; and (3) a sense of repentance and grief pervaded God’s people. In what areas has God called you to repent personally? What sins of the nation do you grieve over? Your intercession is vital in bringing personal and corporate revival.

Take the quiz

Quiz Instructions

Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz which covers what you just read. Select the correct response based on the lessons and concepts of this chapter.

1. Suddenness and __________ working are vital features of revival.



2. Revival features conversions that are manifestly __________ .



3. Revival always seems to bring a return to __________ Christianity.



4. What the striving of humanity cannot achieve is but the work of a moment to the out-poured Spirit.



5. Apostolic preaching may be divided into four categories: spontaneous, anointed, __________ , and Christ-centered.



6. As faith and spirituality decline, the power of the Spirit is gradually __________ .



7. A vital characteristic of a revival leader is __________ .



8. Christian students today are travelling with __________ conviction and confidence concerning their spiritual path.



9. College students who are open to the Spirit are also open to His __________ .




10. Great Awakenings have __________ beginnings.



11. The importance of small groups in this chain is that they provide personal __________ .



12. Student cell groups also met for the purpose of spiritual discipline and mutual __________ .



13. Social __________ also characterized student cell groups.



14. The vision of student cell groups included __________ evangelism.



15. History teaches us that cell groups should be kept __________ .



16. Membership in small groups should be __________ .



17. The authority of the __________ of God should be relied upon as a checkpoint for the cell’s purposes.



18. A personal journal __________ an aid to spiritual growth.


Is not

19. The small group __________ maintain the link with the church.


Should not

20. With the gift of youth comes a readiness to die for the gospel.



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