“The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy to spread it.” – A. W. Tozer, Of God and Men.
The path for many individuals and churches to being spiritually worthy to spread the gospel will be through revival and spiritual awakening.
Revival is the restoration of the life of God to a failing and dying church; it is the gift of new life and strength to faltering and discouraged believers; it is the renewal of backsliding believers and churches.
"A ‘Revival of Religion’ presupposes a declension . . . It presupposes that the Church is sunk down in a backslidden state, and a revival consists of the return of the church from her backslidings" (C. G. Finney).
Spiritual awakening is the when the power of God reaches beyond a revived church to the surrounding unbelievers with extraordinary conviction of sin. Many extremely degraded unbelievers may then become remarkably transformed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Revival and spiritual awakening then are the work of God through the Holy Spirit, in response to prayer and his Word. It has been his way of reaching many people and communities and blessing many.
God promises the power and working of his Holy Spirit in response to the continued prayers of his people: ". . . how much more will your Father give from heaven the Holy Spirit to those who keep on seeking him?" (Luke 11:13). Prayer, along with the preaching of the Word, has been the avenue that God has used to send revival throughout the centuries. In preparation for revival God has often given a burden of prayer to some few who will not let go of God in prayer until they receive the promised blessing. Therefore let us make it our burden to seek God together for revival in our churches and spiritual awakening in our communities and our nation.
"A revival may be expected whenever Christians are found willing to make the sacrifices necessary to carry it on" (C. G. Finney).
- Personal Purification: seek a clear conscience before God and man; confess to God the sins against him and to men the offenses against them. Ask God to give you his view of your heart and conscience (Psalm 19:14, 139:23-24).
- Personal Consecration: we are responsible to Jesus Christ for everything in our lives; he must be Lord of all or he is not Lord at all! (Romans 14:7-12, Luke 14:25-35). Therefore dedicate all that you are and all that you have to God through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:11-13, 19, 12:1-2).
- Personal Prayer for the Filling of the Holy Spirit: God commands us to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Seek him to fulfill his promise, and to fill you with the Spirit, for his glory, that you might be a witness to Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).