For years, we’ve heard prophecies of a soon-coming Revival. What do you expect it to look like? Love, joy, power, healing, deliverance, unity, evangelism? It will be all of these and much more, but there is something you should know. Throughout Church history, genuine Revival always began with repentance.
For years, we’ve heard prophecies of a soon-coming Revival. What do you expect it to look like? Love, joy, power, healing, deliverance, unity, evangelism? It will be all of these and much more, but there is something you should know. Throughout Church history, genuine Revival always began with repentance. Perhaps you’ve heard of Whitfield, Wesley, Edwards, Finney and Roberts. These great men of God preached repentance. Please understand, the word “revival” means to bring back to life something that is dying. Revival is for the Church!
In their meetings, strong conviction of sin would fall on the people, they would moan, and weep uncontrollably, and sometimes fall to the ground. True conviction of sin is the brilliant light of TRUTH shining into your soul. It exposes every hidden thing. These are not just the BIG sins, but things that you have blown off as “not that bad.” It can be very painful. Then comes the gift of repentance, great relief, with the assurance that your sins are forgiven, then great joy as you are filled afresh with the Holy Spirit.
Evangelism freely flows from a Church that is now on fire for Jesus. But there is more. The Word of God is magnified as absolute truth; it is restored as the standard of truth and righteousness. False doctrines and heresies are also exposed. Then reformation occurs with deep revelation, and new and better ways of “doing” church begin to emerge. Services are powerful and filled with new songs flowing from the heart, not entertainment. Also, genuine brotherly love and unity is felt as the Holy Spirit fills the houses of worship. Prophecy, miracles of healing, and deliverance are common. Even children, filled with the Holy Spirit, will preach powerful messages and do great miracles. I must also tell you that the coming Revival will be accompanied by persecution, even martyrdom. God’s glory will be poured out in the midst of gross darkness. (Isaiah 60:1-2). Here are some accounts of previous Revivals from my book, “Returning to Normal.”
The First Great Awakening 1735
The following historical accounts of past Revivals as documented by Mary Relfe in her book “Cure Of All Ills.” Note the deplorable conditions, the seasons of extraordinary prayer and the abundant fruit produced. Our God is faithful! He stirs us to pray, prays through us by His Holy Spirit and then answers. He is truly all in all! This should cause you to pray. Pray for revival!
Jonathan Edwards, while stirring the colonies to pray for a spiritual revival, lamented the deterioration of society. “Children were given to night walking and tavern haunting.” In England and western Europe, the “gin craze” found every third to sixth house a tavern. The slogan was “get drunk for a penny.” The drunkenness caused an increase in gambling and prostitution. “The masses were neglected, lived in poverty, were uneducated, and calloused from youth.” Hangings were a daily gala event. The hangman was applauded by men, women and children.
Meanwhile, a faithful band of persecuted Christians known as the Moravians sought the Lord with fervent, effectual prayer. The Holy Spirit descended upon them in 1727, a glorious outpouring that changed the world. Many renowned men of God could trace their roots to this movement, among them George Whitefield and John and Charles Wesley. In fact, the rebirth of western Christian culture can be traced back to the Moravian prayers. These faithful saints agreed to pray for one hour each, round the clock… 24/7. This meeting went on, non-stop, for over 100 years!
“The Revival of 1735 brought about a transformation which reversed the social, moral and political declines. The brilliant historian Elie Halevy attributed to this great revival: 1) the stability of 18th century England, 2) the absence of riots and bloodshed which characterized the continent and 3) her avoidance of a French style revolution.
Multitudes of new Christians addressed social sins with such compassion and mercy that enemies of the state were unable to incite unrest among the poor. The Christian conscience permeated society after this great revival as yeast does dough. Lord let it be so in our day!
The Second Great Awakening 1800
The revival fires that ignited the First Great Awakening and transformed western society had subsided. The Revival had lasted about 40 years. “Again, the salt of the earth lost its savor. Problems of unbelievable proportions began to plague America once more.” The revival historian Edwin Orr wrote, “There was an unprecedented moral slump following the American Revolution. Drunkenness was epidemic. Out of a population of 5 million, 300,000 were confirmed drunkards.
For the first time in American history, women were afraid to go out at night. Bank robberies were a daily occurrence.” The famous atheist, Voltaire was adamantly declaring: “Christianity will be forgotten in 30 years.” Tom Paine was echoing these sentiments all across America. In 1794, Isaac Backus, known for his praying and his exhorting had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. As a result, he initiated concerts of prayer among several denominations. Soon, America was interlaced with a network of organized prayer meetings. “As the people humbled themselves and began to cry unto the Lord, God poured upon them a Spirit of Supplication. This is a prerequisite for burning, believing, prevailing, persuading, persevering Revival praying!”
In 1798, Revival fires began to burn in New England. Churches couldn’t accommodate those enquiring about salvation. Multitudes were won to the Lord! Then the revival spread westward. Consider this eye witness account of a meeting in Cane Ridge, Kentucky where 25,000 attended: “I counted seven ministers preaching at one time, some on stumps, others on wagons. Some of the people were singing, others praying, some crying for mercy. The noise was like the roar of the Niagara. At one time, I saw 500 swept down in a moment as if a battery of a thousand guns had opened upon them, and then immediately followed shrieks and shouts that rent the very heavens.” Thousands were mightily converted at Cane Ridge. Some received visions of Jesus; others received a call to the ministry!
“Out of this second great awakening, came a sustained missionary movement, the roots of the abolition of slavery and the initiation of popular education. Over 600 colleges were founded by these revivalists! The Church began to influence the world once again! Chastity was in vogue; honesty and integrity were the rule rather than the exception. Decreased crime, drunkenness and gambling provided the backdrop for a period of genuine national prosperity.”
The Prayer Revival of 1857
“Revival is always born in prevailing prayer. This is the one, the basic unalterable central principle of awakenings” -Drummond
By the late 1840’s the Church had seriously declined again. The full churches had grown lukewarm, even dead, and some churches began to empty. The population of the United States at that time was about 30 million. Yes, there were many Catholics and Protestants but in their emaciated spiritual condition, they surely weren’t influencing society.
Dr. Lewis Drummond describes that era: “Absolute authority of the Bible was questioned; dullness and lethargy pervaded God’s people. Many fell into open sin as compromise set in. Worldliness took over; the Church sank into a Laodicean syndrome. The programs went on, often with greater fervor, but spiritual power was missing.” Sure sounds like our generation doesn’t it?
In 1857, a businessman named Jeremiah Lamphier heard the Lord tell him, “Take your lunch hour and start praying for Revival.” Although his first meeting drew only six men, soon there were thousands throughout New York City meeting for prayer at lunchtime, and then every hour of the day and night. According to Dr. Edwin Orr, this revival went up the Hudson and down the Mohawk Rivers. They had to cut holes in the ice to baptize the many new converts.
The Revival quickly spread across America; every community was touched. There were one million new converts from outside the Church, and at least another million who already occupied the pews were converted.
A typical church of that day had a few hundred members. Some were now bulging with over 1,000. “The Revival of 1857 restored integrity to government and business in America once again. There was renewed obedience to the social commandments. An intense sympathy was created for the poor and needy; a compassionate society was re-birthed. The reins of America were returned to the godly. Yet another time, Revival became the solution to the problems, the remedy for the evils.”
This glorious work of God spread to England where one million new converts were added to church roles and to Ireland in 1859. Multitudes of Irish Catholics and Protestants stood together in the fields as the Holy Spirit moved them, under strong conviction, to heart-felt repentance with sighs and groans and crying out to God.
The Rev. Magill writes, “The multitude heaves to and fro like a ship in a storm; and like drunken men in the streets, the men stagger and fall with a deep sigh or a shout. Tears are shed and groans are heard. Prayer and praise, tears and smiles, mingle together. Husbands and wives are locked in each other’s arms weeping and praying together; while those who came to scoff, stand still, and in fear and trembling contemplate this strange thing that is going on before their eyes.”
The Revival of 1904
The period between 1902 and 1912 was perhaps one of the most exciting in Church history since the days of Pentecost. This Revival truly had a global impact, and all of this is well documented. Mary Relfe states, “Spiritual decadence pervaded society in the late 1890’s. Corruption, immorality, drunkenness, cults, gambling and agnosticism rose in proportion to the Churches ineptness. By the turn of the 20th century, the glory had departed, the saints had defected, the salt had lost its savor, the world had lost its light and deep moral darkness prevailed.”
It seems that during the early days of the 20th century, a Spirit of Supplication was poured out simultaneously around the world. Missionaries in remote regions, having no contact with the happenings of the hour, reported the Holy Spirit was stirring them to pray for a world-wide Revival. Others in Australia, Britain and the United States were hearing the same thing. When R.A. Torrey traveled to Melbourne in 1902, he found 1,700 neighborhood prayer meetings being held every week. Revival swept Melbourne, then all of Australia , then flowing to England and Whales.
In 1904, a young Welshman, Evan Roberts, had an encounter with God and He was given a word for his generation. At first, he addressed only seventeen people… and his message was concise:
1) You must confess every know sin to God and make every wrong done to man right.
2) You must remove every doubtful habit from your life
3) You must obey the Spirit promptly.
4) You must go public with your witness of Christ. Christ said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me.”
“All seventeen responded, and the Holy Spirit descended with awesome power. Within weeks every church building was packed with hundreds standing outside unable to get in. The nation’s atmosphere was suddenly electrified by the presence of God. General conversation turned to the things which are eternal.” This four-point message was repeated time and time again.
George Davis of the New York Witness, a few weeks into the Revival, printed: “It is sweeping over hundreds of hamlets and cities emptying saloons, theaters and dance halls and filling the churches night after night with praying multitudes. The policeman are almost idle and in many cases, the magistrates have few trials on hand. Debts are being paid and the character of entire communities are being transformed almost in a day.”
By 1905 the Revival was spreading around the globe. Ministers in America were meeting to plan how they would accommodate this move of God when it hit our shores. And their anticipation was not unfounded… throughout the land the fear of God fell. A somber God-consciousness settled upon the United States. Atlantic City with a population of 60,000 was wonderfully overshadowed by the Most High. Only 50 people remained unconverted!
In Portland, Oregon 240 stores signed an agreement to close from 11A.M. to 2 P.M. daily to permit everyone to attend prayer meetings. The Mayor of Denver declared a day of prayer and by 10:30 A.M. the churches were filled and by 11:30 almost every store closed. Even the Colorado legislature shut down. More than 7 million were drawn to Christ during the 2-year period between 1905 and 1907! All praise and glory to our merciful Lord!
Azusa Street 1906
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31.
William J. Seymour and Frank Bartleman are the two names most often recognized as those who were used to start the Azusa Street Revival. They were different in many ways, but they were both young men who had an uncommon desire to know the Lord and see His power restored to the church.
Seymour was the unquestioned leader of the revival, and he had the authority on earth, but Bartleman was the intercessor who had authority with God. Seymour, who was ousted from his first ministry assignment because he continued to speak of a new Pentecost, recognized the hand of God in his rejection and was content to form a little home prayer group which met regularly for several months. While in the middle of a ten day fast, Seymour and the others in this little group were dramatically baptized in the Holy Spirit, receiving the gift of tongues as well as other charismatic gifts.
Word spread “like fire in a dry wood” about what had happened at Seymour’s little prayer group. This was probably caused by the remarkable ministry of Frank Bartleman, who had written a stream of articles and tracts, and constantly moved about the city exhorting churches and prayer groups to seek the Lord for a Revival. He longed to see the Lord do in Los Angeles what He had recently done in Wales. After a time, Bartleman began to sense that what was to come to Lost Angeles would be different from what was happening in Wales, and began to boldly prophesy the coming of “another Pentecost.” Bartleman’s zeal for the Lord at this time was so great that his wife and friends began to fear for his life. He missed so much sleep and so many meals in order to pray that they did not think that he could last much longer. His response to their pleas for moderation was that he would rather die than not see Revival.
As soon as word got out about the experience that came upon Seymour’s little prayer group, large crowds (black and white) descended on them. To accommodate the large numbers of people, they were forced to rent a rundown old barn-like building in the middle of a ghetto.
One of the most remarkable characteristics of this revival from the very beginning was the diversity of the people who were drawn to it. Some considered it unprecedented in church history. Within a week even a prominent Jewish rabbi announced his full support. Soon astounding healings and dramatic conversions were taking place almost daily.
Within weeks a steady stream of missionaries were coming from every continent. Those who were on the front lines of the battle against the forces of darkness were the most acutely aware that they needed more power. Just as the Lord’s own disciples were told that they would receive power to be His witnesses when the Holy Spirit came upon them, this had become the only hope for effective ministry that many of the missionaries had. They left Azusa with the power they needed, and soon gospel fires were burning brightly all over the world. In just two years the movement had taken root in over 50 nations, and was thought to have penetrated every U.S. town with a population of more than 3,000. Millions came to Christ!
There is another aspect to Seymour’s remarkable leadership at Azusa… it was his ability to discern and trust the Holy Spirit’s leadership, and give Him the freedom that He requires. In spite of almost constant pressure from world-renowned church leaders, who came from around the globe to impose what they perceived to be needed order and direction on the Revival, for over two years Seymour held the course and allowed the Holy Spirit to move in His own, often mysterious, ways.
Like Evan Roberts, who was at the same time leading the great Welsh Revival, Seymour’s greatest leadership quality was his ability to follow the Holy Spirit. Seymour and Roberts both believed that the Holy Spirit required the freedom to move through whomever He chose. They both resolved to allow anyone to be used by the Lord, even the most humble believers. This sometimes brought embarrassment, but more often it allowed the Holy Spirit to do marvelous things among them. (Excerpts from Azusa Street, “The Fire that could not Die” by Rick Joyner).
I love these accounts! I hope you can see that it all began with fervent prayer. Pray for strong conviction of sin to fall on the Church! Our sins are so great; much of the Church is about to die. How we need to be revived! You should also ask God to reveal your hidden sins, so you can truly repent now.
There is more to consider: Do you really want Revival? You need to know it could cost you everything. We are moving far beyond mere words and the ethereal concept of self-sacrifice; there are difficult days ahead.
John G. Lake, while ministering in Africa, received very little financial support for himself and his workers. At one point, he called his team together and released them to go home, knowing that some may starve to death. But no one would go! As a result, several team members died from disease secondary to inadequate nutrition, including some wives and children. But then it came, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that saved over 100,000 souls and launched John into a healing ministry that is well documented!
I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but why should we be asked to pay less of a price than John Lake or the many saints around the world who are now suffering for their faith? I hope you will continue to pray, persevere and endure during persecution, letting your light shine brightly in the darkness.
I have been earnestly praying for Revival for about 40 years – lots of fasting and prayer retreats, prayer walks, etc. We even opened a 24/7 prayer room. There were times when I was certain that Revival was at the door, but it didn’t come. I have been very disappointed. Nevertheless, the Lord has taught me many things over the years, and by His grace, we press on. I have seen awesome visions of a glorious outpouring – it will come! Please be assured that God’s timing is perfect. The Church is not yet ready to carry this amazing mantel. I think you know; God has been at work in your life.
Also, the world is not yet broken enough to need the Savior. There is a greater shaking yet to come, for the Church and the world. It will be in the midst of this gross darkness that the Church will arise and shine. I recently received this prophetic confirmation in an email from Jonathan Cahn’s ministry:
“The Lord shared with me not just the wave of salvations, but also the geophysical signs of earthquakes, tsunamis, fire, pestilence, plagues, floods…many of which have appeared since then. He showed me the manmade disasters of the time such as EMPs, the terrorist reigns like ISIS and others, rioting, and other violence of the times. In other words, a great revival and great harvest are coming in the middle of great times of travail as well. Those that are anchored in with the Lord, and specifically in touch with the Holy Spirit will be sustained, fortified, and strong. I encourage you all to spend more time with our Lord and Savior Yeshua. Abide in Him, and He will abide in you.”—Kevin Jessip
Hear the word of the Lord: The darkness will get much darker; sin and violence will increase. Things are not going back to “normal.” However, the Lord will pour out His glory during this darkness, and “…the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32). You must stay close to the Lord and understand what is happening. Understand the signs of the times – the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:8).
In my lifetime, the Holy Spirit has been poured out in very powerful ways, but most of the denominations rejected this amazing move of God. The revivalists (Edwards, Whitfield, Wesley, Finney) brought the message of repentance, but they were thought to be fanatics who brought division and incited emotionalism. When, in fact, it was the Holy Spirit bringing strong conviction of sin and genuine repentance that caused people to weep, and wail in sorrow for their sins and then fall to the ground, shake or shout for joy as they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Beware; when God moves, emotions are stirred and it will look different than you expect. Don’t be a critic – the Church has enough of those. Throughout Church history there have been plenty of critics. From the 1960s through the early 2000s (about 40 years), God was pouring out His Spirit around the world during the Charismatic Renewal and then in Toronto, Canada and Pensacola, Florida. Millions were baptized in the Holy Spirit and began operating in the spiritual gifts. (1 Corinthians 12).
During this time, multitudes were saved, healed, and delivered. Thousands upon thousands of churches were planted. Nevertheless, the denominations rejected these great moves of God. Some gave minor concession, but never fully embraced it. Sadly, almost all of these denominations have now become apostate. They rejected the Holy Spirit, and now embrace the things that God says are evil. This could have been prevented if they had only humbled themselves and believed the truth of Scripture. Deception will occur when you reject the Spirit of Truth.
Ask the Lord now to open the eyes of your understanding. When the next move of God occurs, you don’t want to be found opposing Him, do you? Make no mistake, the Lord will correct and warn His Church, but He does not want you to criticize and malign the bride that He suffered and died for. Please repent if you have done this. Love, and pray for the Church. You don’t want to miss what the Lord is doing, and you certainly don’t want to be opposing God. There are grave consequences for rejecting and quenching the Holy Spirit.
Here is something else that is important to know: Pastors are gifted to love, encourage, and build up their people; they are shepherds protecting the sheep. They know their member’s strengths, weaknesses, and struggles with sin; they give godly counsel and so much more. Pastors are a precious and necessary gift to the Body of Christ.
Having said that, please accept this caution expressed in love: God is now convicting His children of sin and calling them to repentance. He has been preparing, and is now releasing, preachers of righteousness (revivalists) to bring the message of repentance to the churches. To the heart of a pastor, this message may seem too strong. Be careful. You don’t want to be “protecting” the people from God. If you find it difficult to preach repentance, I encourage you to invite a preacher of righteousness to be your speaker.
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:2-3).
For sure, this scripture refers to the coming of Jesus. He certainly did shake things up when He appeared on the scene. Nevertheless, even after 2,000 years, He continues to do this very thing through His Holy Spirit. His refining and purifying work continues in the hearts of believers. Many Christians are expecting revival. Praise God! But let me remind you that it will not be all glory and goosebumps. The Holy Spirit will come with an intense conviction of sin. Things that you brushed off as insignificant will cause you to weep with sorrow. Allow the Lord to purify you now, my friends. For who can endure the day of His coming?
And be sure to remember that the evangelistic message that is preached after the Church repents and is revived must also include repentance. How tragic it would be to come out of a pandemic and years of shaking and continue to preach a candy-coated gospel. When inviting others to accept Christ as Savior and Lord please don’t say, “Would you like to receive Jesus as your Savior? Then, just say this little prayer with me.” Tell the people they must turn away from sins and surrender their life to Jesus, and walk in a manner that pleases Him.
We have recently begun to hear about a lot of salvations occurring; this is wonderful, but I’m concerned. Are they genuine? Please remember that preaching a gospel that does not include genuine repentance will produce false conversions. They may raise their hand or come forward, but are they really saved?
I hope you understand. God will not endorse a church that is polluted with sin. If you begin to see lots of signs and wonders without the call to repentance, you should be suspicious. I believe in miracles! I have seen many miracles around the world and have also experienced a few myself. God’s Word is true, and those who believe in Jesus continue to heal the sick and cast out demons. (Mark 16:17-18). Having said this, beware! Lying signs and wonders are about to happen. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24).
How are we to distinguish between the false and the true? By observing the one who is doing them, and listening to what they are teaching. I’m NOT saying that someone has to be perfect and have perfect doctrine before they can do genuine miracles. God has used even me, keep reading.
I believe the time is coming when those who teach “progressive Christianity” will do “miracles,” even those who practice sexual perversion. How is this possible? Satan transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14); he is the master of deception. Demons will make someone sick, or torment them with pain, then the demons will leave and the sickness or pain is gone. The one who was “praying” will appear to have performed a miracle, and yet God had nothing to do with it. Sadly, this apparent miracle would confirm their “progressive” doctrines and sinful lifestyle to many.
We may also see an increase in lying signs and wonders from false religions, witches, and Native American shamans. I see all of this happening about the same time God begins to pour out His Spirit. The enemy will try to cause confusion and minimize the impact. Be careful; don’t be deceived. Genuine miracles, signs and wonders follow the proclamation of the true gospel, preached from the truth of Scripture.
The coming awakening / revival will be all about TRUTH. The Church will be awakened to see the lies we have believed. Conviction of sin will fall heavily and there will be much weeping and repentance. Then we will be revived by the Spirit and filled with His love and power. Let it be so, Lord.
As you pray for Revival, please remember that God is also calling us to pray for the Jewish people. He is about to reveal Messiah to them and needs our prayers.