This is a wonderful term referring to renewal, restoration, and refreshing, but also a reawakening of religious fervor, especially by means of a series of evangelistic meetings. In this religious context a visible aspect is often evangelical gatherings. Revival has happened through history all across the world. In America they have come near times of war: the Revolutionary war, the Civil war, WWI, and Vietnam, but also at other times. Does God give a final eternal call and fervor to soldiers who face pending death?
Revival is not the product of Evangelistic meetings as a secular view may suggest. Revival happens in spite of meetings, some of which are the product of church leaders trying to do something in response to God’s Sovereign supernatural release within human hearts of a critical overwhelming unction for repentance, salvation, and the presence of God in Spirit. Revivals are often considered a renewal of Believers piety and religious practice, but in fact, they are evidence of Unbelievers coming to faith – sinners repenting and turning to God. Nashville, Tennessee was one of the first towns in America to legalize prostitution and together with alcohol abuse, crime was rampant. In 1892, Riverboat captain Tom Ryman went to a revival meeting and was saved, repented, and built the Union Gospel Tabernacle which became the Ryman auditorium and birthplace of the Grand Ole Opry. The revival continued and many of Nashville’s citizens were dramatically changed becoming followers of Jesus.
Humans come to faith through God’s grace exerted upon their heart. This event multiplied many times in a short period of time, results in a revival. Revival is the outpouring of grace for salvation, apart from the work of any man. It may be that the works of man resists revival. When revival comes it is a messy, uncomfortable, offensive, confusing, illogical, and at times disorderly event. It involves people who are sinners, worldly, numerous, desperate, overcome with Holy Spirit penitence and filled with Holy Spirit joy, becoming new persons. A crowded birthing room can not be quiet, orderly, sophisticated, and comfortable as many church-goers expect and demand. Is it any wonder that some would resist revival unless it was on their terms?
Yeshua expressed the Father’s heart, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37) He said this to the leaders, those who trusted in themselves, and who refused God’s leading, but trusted in their own reason and ability. Revival comes when leaders get out of God’s way and allow the Holy Spirit to pour His grace and lovingkindness out on the hurting, tired, sin-sick, lost souls that wander in search of rest, found in God alone, apart from the appurtenance of religious society. So, we pray on for revival, God’s way, in His time, in the almighty name of Yeshua, Messiah. (Jesus’ Hebrew name)