“A wonderful revival is sweeping over Wales. The whole country,
from the city to [the mines] underground, is aflame with gospel
The leader of this great spiritual awakening in 1904 was a young
Welsh miner with coal dust in his hair and grime beneath his fingernails.
He possessed no skills as an orator, nor was he widely read. The
only book he knew was the Bible, and his heart burned with a passion
for God and His holy Word.
Just as God had shown him, Roberts saw the revival leap to England.
There, an estimated two million people received Christ. Then the
Holy Spirit coursed out into Western and Northern Europe. When He
“fell” upon Norway, so many packed the churches that
the clergy had to ordain lay persons in order to serve communion
to the masses. Then the Spirit of revival swept across the world
to Africa, India, China and Korea.
In America, ministers tracked the move of God as best they could
from sketchy reports from overseas. The excited Americans called
clergy meetings in the large cities to decide how to react when
the move of God reached their nation. For them, it was not a matter
of “if” but “when.” And God rewarded their
anticipation: The Spirit came, and His holy fire burned from city
What Is Revival?
First, revival is a sovereign act of God. The Holy Spirit
is the one who orchestrates and enables even our love for Christ.
We cannot understand God's Word apart from the Holy Spirit who inspired
the writing. We cannot pray unless He intercedes for us. We cannot
witness for Christ without His power. So revival is the product
of the Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.
Second, revival is a divine visitation. In the end, you
discover that spiritual renewal was God's idea in the first place.
Believers find they were only responding to Him. Sometimes God comes
in power and you have no idea what you said or did to prompt it-and,
indeed, it probably had nothing to do with your piety at all.
Third, revival is a time of personal humiliation, forgiveness,
and restoration in the Holy Spirit. It is a time when the Spirit
calls on a person to repent of obvious sins, and reveals those which
are not so obvious-coldness of heart, loss of first love, letting
the world go by, refusing to step beyond our personal "comfort
zones," living quietly as God's "secret agents" in
the midst of a society which desperately needs the salt and light
of the world.
Fourth, during revival, preaching is fearless under the anointing
of the Holy Spirit-as in Acts 4:31 when "they spoke the word
of God with all boldness."
Fifth, the presence of the Holy Spirit is powerful. Fearless,
Christ-centered preaching with people literally "falling on
their faces" before God often is a hallmark of revival. In
the John Wesley and George Whitefield revivals in England the awesome
presence of the Holy Spirit was common and it had a powerful effect
on the people. Some American revivals were marked with miracles
and controversial experiences such as trembling, jerking, screaming,
groaning, fainting, prostration, or dancing for joy.
Sixth, revival changes communities and nations. History
shows that a true awakening leaps far beyond the walls of any church
and radically reforms society. During the Welsh revival, for example,
the social impact was astounding. For a time, crime disappeared:
no rapes, no robberies, no murders, no burglaries, no embezzlements-the
judges had no cases to try.
In America today, we need not wait for a sovereign act of God to
bring revival. We do not have to wait for a general out-pouring
of the Holy Spirit on the church and the nation. Our task is to
surrender to the lordship of Christ and the control of the Holy
Spirit, fast and pray, and obey God's Word. Meeting these conditions,
we can expect the Holy Spirit to transform our lives.
God’s Word promises us that if we humble ourselves, reverence
and worship God, He will bless us. But for the slothful person,
the disobedient person, there is no blessing-only discipline, or
The Holy Spirit of God is sovereign. He works when and where He
chooses. But we should always pray and plan for His sovereign work
in the affairs of people and nations. But personal revival begins
with an inner call to the heart by the Holy Spirit (Philippians
2:13). The conscience finds itself stirred by that call. The will
makes the decision to obey or ignore it.
Today, our decision is crucial as individuals, as a church and as
a nation. God is asking us to seek Him with all of our being. The
revival which He promises begins when we humble ourselves, repent,
fast, pray, and seek His face and turn from our evil ways. God has
promised to respond with revival fire for any person who will hear,
love, trust and obey Him.
1. Winkie Pratney, Revival (Springdale, PA: Whitaker House, 1984),
[Excerpt from Chapter 5, The Coming Revival by Bill Bright]
Continue to “Causing the Fire to Fall”
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