The purpose of this guide is to help you and your church prepare for revival. It is important to note from the outset that revival is not simply a series of evangelical meetings but is the work of the Holy Spirit, Whom God has sent to guide us into all truth. You can hold revival services without ever having true revival. A good revival meeting may draw a crowd but a revival movement concerns itself with crown and the Cross of Christ. It has been my experience that revival movements occur when God’s people seek His presence and His power, which builds anticipation and expectation. I really believe that any church, of any size, in any place can have true revival if they sincerely desire to meet with God. This guide spells out your part in that process.
King David was described by the Lord as, “A man after My heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). I believe David was such a man because he invited godly examination:
“Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, And I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart” (Psalm 26:1–2).
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23–24).
Spiritual examination is not simply a gloomy contemplation of regret or a casual justification of known sin. In order to move beyond reflection to action, we need to seek God where He directs us to find Him:
“For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15).
Personal examination begins by asking, “Am I willing to intentionally submit my will to the authority of God’s Word and to the conviction and correction of the Holy Spirit through confession and genuine repentance of sin revealed in my life?” The most aggressive opponent to personal revival is self. Until all rights, preferences, grudges, and gripes have been deliberately surrendered…self remains the ruler. I encourage you to use Colossians 3 as a guide for personal examination. It deals with the believer’s mind, motives, mouth, and marriage.
Scripture is very clear that we are not to grieve or quench the Holy Spirit. We do this, however, when we say “yes” to sin, self, and Satan by giving in to temptation; or when we say “no” to God’s leading regarding our sanctification or service.
Consider what grieves the Holy Spirit and why:
To knowingly and willfully permit anything to remain in ours lives which is contrary to the Holy Spirit means that we love that sin more than we love Him. I realize what a strong statement that is, but refusing to obey God’s revealed will constitutes a rejection of Him in favor of His enemy. Such unfaithfulness grieves the very heart of God and calls for personal revival.
Questions for Self-Examination
(From The Revival We Need by J. Oswald Smith)
Seeking God in prayer, on behalf of yourself and others, is vital for genuine revival. Again, effective intercession is the product of a humble heart in right fellowship with God. It also depends upon doing everything possible to be at peace with fellow believers. You are only accountable for your obedience – not the response of others.
The teachings of Scripture guide us regarding how to pray in preparation for revival. After preaching, Jesus often said, “He who has ears, let them hear.” He wasn’t questioning their attention to what He taught but wanted His listeners to apply what they heard in their daily lives. Isn’t that what followers of Christ still need today? Pray that those who already profess faith in Christ would have ears to hear during the revival services. We often think of revivals as purely an evangelistic tool for the lost, but the word “revival” literally means “to revitalize” and “to resume”. Christians need times of restoration and renewal to stimulate faith that has grown lukewarm or cold. Paul’s intercession for the church in Ephesus is a powerful and practical guide in praying for revival within the church (Ephesians 1:15-23).
We should also pray for those outside of Christ to have ears to hear. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). I strongly encourage you to make a list of nonbelievers and to pray over it daily, then look for an opportunity to personally invite them to attend. It’s more than okay if several people invite the same person!
In interceding for the lost:
A model prayer for the lost:
God, I know that You truly love __________ and gave Your only Son, Jesus, for ____________. I pray that ___________ would place their trust in You so that ___________ would not die and spend eternity in Hell forever. Thank You for hearing my prayer and for sending Your only Son to rescue ___________.
I am very grateful to have the opportunity to serve your church. My prayer is that you would prepare with a sense of expectation that God can and will do a mighty work in your church and in your community. Please know that I am praying specifically for your body of believers and for these services.