The First Great Awakening. The Second Great Awakening. The Haystack Revival. The Azusa Street Revivals. The 1970s Revival. The Asbury Revivals.Â
From Pentecost to the present, there have been many seasons where God moves in power and droves of people are born again, baptized, and mentored in the faith. Such vast, widespread movements of God strengthen our faith, make us rejoice, and cause our eyes to stare in awe and wonder.
Our heartâ€™s cry is, â€œLord, do it again in our day.â€
You may have had a â€œrevival momentâ€ in your past where your faith was renewed precisely and God drew you into a deeper relationship with himself. There are also times when God draws large groups of people under conviction of their sin and people begin to get serious about the Christian faith again.
While there are many â€œunknownsâ€ about these incredible moves of God, one thing is clear: itâ€™s not something that we can create and itâ€™s something that God brings.
I grew up attending â€œrevival servicesâ€ at my church, and sometimes, they were as dead as a doornail. Other times, they were full of life and renewal.
WhenI started studying the great revivals of our past, I started asking the question: â€œWhy do we plan â€˜revival servicesâ€™ at our churches if revival is something only God can bring?â€™â€
I was against trying to â€œplanâ€ these services for a while. We should be transparent about where revival comes from: it comes from God.
Yet this doesnâ€™t leave us entirely out of the equation. If you study those great moments of history, some components of revival are common in every story. It includes repentance, prayer, a great desire and hunger for God, and evangelism. Humanly speaking, we play a role in every one of those.
Doesnâ€™t that sound familiar? â€œ…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.â€ (2 Chronicles 7:14).
So yes, revival comes from God. But humans certainly have a responsibility, and it concerns our position.
If we position ourselves in such a way where we repent of our sin, pray and seek Godâ€™s face, and humble ourselves, we will be much more ready to experience renewal in our personal lives and our relationship with Godâ€¦and if a large group of people are actively doing that, God can certainly move powerfully.
Habakkuk 3:2 says, â€œLord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.â€ What Habakkuk prayed is our desire; God, we have seen you do extraordinary things! Please, oh God, repeat them in our day! We need you, Lord!
Adrian Rogers once said, â€œGod normally brings revival in our darkest days.â€
We are indeed living in dark daysâ€¦days in which we desperately need God to move in our community, our nation, and around our world. If we desire God to heal our land, we must get right with him first.
Caleb Duncan is the Director for the West Florida Baptist Association in Chipley and holds an M.A. in Ethics, Theology, and Culture from Southeastern Seminary. Email him at WfbaDom@outlook.com or follow his Twitter @calebtduncan.