I cannot speak from experience. The only revival that I’ve been a part of is the three times that I went to Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida. I’m writing this in May of 1997. The revival there has been going on for almost two years. Other than that, I’ve never seen a revival. I’ve only read about them, and have heard the testimonies from those who have seen them.
The only question that I can answer is: What do I think revival is? The best definition that I’ve heard is "God stepping down from heaven" (read Isaiah 64:1-3). It is God coming to earth in all of His power, glory, holiness and love to cleanse and empower His Church, and to save the lost. Jonathan Edwards, speaking of the revival in 1740 in Northampton, said that you could feel the presence of God in the town. Charles Finney tells of towns which were experiencing revival had people cross into the border of the town, and feel the presence of God. Dr. Kingsley Priddy, a staff member of the Bible College of Wales, said in the book Rees Howells, Intercessor, that during the visitation that came to the college in the 1930’s people would walk in the garden talking in whispers because the presence of the Holy Spirit was so near.
Some revivals are nice and calm; such as, Asbury in 1970 and the Hebrides in 1949. Others are wild; such as, Azusa in 1906 and the campmeeting revivals in Kentucky in 1800. Revival, I guess, really can’t be defined by what happens. It is more easily defined by its source—God.
In some revivals, people sit quietly, experiencing the peace and love of God. In others, people sing and rejoice, dance and shout. There are at times manifestations which seem unusual. They are called various things, but they have happened frequently enough in true revivals that we shouldn’t worry about it when they happen. Revivals often have themes: prayer, holiness, repentance, joy, empowerment. They are usually all present in one way or another in each revival, but normally one theme is predominant.
What are the results of revivals? First and foremost, the church is cleansed. Christians that have been bound with sin for years find themselves set free to serve God with all of their heart. Second, souls are saved—in large numbers. Brownsville has seen 80,000 people either saved or restored from backsliding in not quite a two-year period. Usually, in these revivals, the converts remain strong Christians throughout their life.
Other frequent results are: a positive moral change in the local community; healings; homes restored; a positive change in the local economy; people are sent out to the mission field or called into ministry; plus, many other results.
My question is: If revivals have such a positive effect for the Kingdom of God, then why don’t we make revivals a matter of prayer? Revivals bring glory to God. Do we not care about that? Do we care that people are dishonoring God by not obeying Him….by not repenting? Do we care that His law is neglected? Do we care that the Church is no different than the world in far too many cases? Do we care that people are going to hell...an eternity in the lake of fire? I don’t think we do. If we did, we would be on our faces day and night until God poured out His Spirit.
Where are our tears?
Where is our shame?
Do we care that the power of the early Church is missing from our local churches today?
"God! Send us revival! Glorify Your name throughout the earth."