When I was a senior in high school, I had a class on the book of Revelation. It was a fascinating study of church history and prophetical events. God used the class to help me focus on others rather than myself. I am ashamed to admit that as a high school senior, my thoughts were on my own personal success. But a good hard look at God’s Word, along with the encouragement of other godly people and God-appointed circumstances, changed my perspective.
One of my favorite parts of the course was when we focused on church history. I was especially drawn to the times of regional and national revivals. I can only imagine what those days were like! When men and women, boys and girls, saw God for Who He really is. When Christians cared more about others than themselves and sought to win every soul to Christ. When laws were dictated by the mandates of Scriptures rather than the desires of society. Oh, what a time!
I remember during my sophomore year at Bible college, our vice-president, Evangelist John Goetsch conducted a revival workshop. The course was a study in revival history and whether revival was possible today (that was back in 1996).
After much study in the Scriptures, the class concluded, revival is possible! The instruction then turned toward how we ought to prepare personally for revival. We were also taught how to lead our ministries to prepare for revival. One thing is certain, revival is more than just a series of meetings. It is a meeting; a meeting between a holy, righteous God and a Christian who is wholly willing to love God with all his heart and follow God all the way!
When you study revival history, it is obvious that revival didn’t “just happen.” It wasn’t a calendar date and when the day came around, God just opened the windows of Heaven and showered His people with blessings. Revival wasn’t contained within a family or even the church – it affected the community! A church can boast about experiencing revival but if their surroundings remain unchanged and continue to perish and head to Hell, there is no revival. Revival is personal but it is not private.
Whether it’s Daniel Nash going before God’s throne for the ministry of Charles Finney or the businessmen of Fulton Street, New York City igniting the Great Awakening Revivals in 1857 (which started with a few men praying together during their lunch break), there is a common act that precedes revival and it is the act of preparation. How can we prepare for revival both spiritually and practically?
Spiritually- Fast & Pray
It would seem so obvious and yet Christians think that a token prayer meeting at church or someone’s home is the unlocking key to revival. An hour or two of prayer each week isn’t sufficient; it certainly isn’t enough for our daily lives so why would it be enough as we seek revival?
Study revival history and you will find that every great work of God can be traced back to a kneeling figure. Daniel Nash went to a city to pray for weeks before preaching even began. When Nash passed away, Finney realized that his ministry was never going to be the same and returned to pastoring. Revival happens when we pray fervently and for a sustained period of time.
Jesus also tells His disciples that there are certain things that cannot be accomplished without both prayer and fasting. When individuals and countries experienced revival in the Bible, fasting is always mentioned.
Lay out and press the family’s clothes for the week ahead of time. Gas up the car. Use paper or plastic products during meals so that a full sink doesn’t become an excuse. Both husbands and children ought to help around the house so that mom isn’t exhausted as she comes to the meeting. Inform your boss that you have to be home by a certain time. If he/she needs you because of extra work, ask to come in early so that you can still do your work and come to the meeting. Anticipating what’s ahead and doing things ahead of time will eliminate the “frazzled” state so many homes have. It has been said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Obviously, we have never seen revival like we’ve studied in our Christian history. Some would say that it’s impossible because of the darkened state of our society. But may I remind you that with God all things are possible? The question is, are we willing to prepare to receive it?