Questions answered on:



Q: What is revival ?

A: It can be described in various ways but essentially revival is simply God amongst His people in power and glory. Duncan Campbell, from the Hebrides revival, once said:"Revival is not churches filled with people but people filled with God". Revival implies a rejuvenation and a return to the biblical pattern for God's people. The church, at Pentecost, enjoyed a powerful outpouring of God's Spirit and the revival spread far and wide. Throughout history God has seen fit to send times of refreshing to His people. In times of revival Christ is at the very center as the glorified Lord to whom all must bow.


Q: What are the characteristics of revival ?

A: God-given conviction of sin; mourning for sin begins amongst God's people and later extends to the unsaved; confession of sin is thorough and deep; restitution (returning of stolen goods, apologizing, etc.) are the natural outflow of repentance which means a change of mind regarding sin and God; the joy of forgiveness through faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice for sin; lives obedient to Jesus Christ; the fellowship of the saints; missionary zeal to bring the Gospel to the lost.


Q: What about visible manifestations - aren't they a sign of revival ?

A: Many supernatural signs and wonders have been observed and recorded in revivals. However, visible manifestations are not necessarily a proof that revival is genuine. Counterfeit manifestations are characteristics of false revivals. Any movement which has physical manifestations as its central focus, such as laughing, animal noises, 'jerks', etc., is immediately suspect, especially if the above-mentioned characteristics of revival are absent. Revival leaders, such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, warned against physical manifestations when they become the epicenter of a movement and were detached from true repentance and the fruit of the Spirit. A revival is, by its very nature, bound to be accompanied by emotional excitement. However, once the idea gains acceptance that the degree of the Spirit's work is to be measured by the strength of emotion or outward manifestations, the Spirit of God is quenched and revival comes to an end.


Q: How does revival happen ?

A: One needs to understand that revival is a sovereign act of God - only His work can be called revival. While there is no simple formula for "getting revival" on a large scale, we are encouraged by God's Word to seek Him for revival (see 'What does the Bible say about revival?'). Revival is, as Jonathan Edwards puts it, "a special season of mercy" and the place and timing are according to His will. However, personal revival is a must for every Christian.


Q: What does the Bible say about revival ?

A: The Scriptures are a hand-book about revival. The following are just a few choice revival jewels:

"Your right hand, O LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy"(Ex 15:6);

"One man of you shall chase a thousand; for the Lord your God, He it is that fights for you, as He has promised you"(Ex 14:13-14);

"Summon your power, O God; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before"(Ps 68:28);

"Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name" (Ps 80:18);

"Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved" (Ps 80:19);

"Will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you?" (Ps 85:6);

"...and to revive the heart of the contrite" (Isa 57:15);

"Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!" (Isa 64:1);

"As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the quake before you!" (Isa 64:2);

"So he said to me, 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,'says the LORD Almighty" (Zec 4:6);

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8);

"With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:33);

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness" (2 Pet 1:3).


Q: What should I do to have personal revival ?

A: We borrow from Jim Eliff's "Five Resolves for Personal Revival". Personal revival begins when the believer faces his sin honestly. The following resolves are not a formula but are required of every believer:


"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent" (Rev 3:19). RESOLVED: I will not go to bed this evening nor live this day without fully repenting of all known sin against God.


"For whatever is not from faith is sin" (Rom 14:23b).

RESOLVED: I will not go to bed this evening nor live this day without removing from my life every habit or activity I cannot be absolutely sure is approved by God.


"Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First become reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (Matt 5:23-24).

RESOLVED: I will not go to bed this evening nor live this day without doing all that is possible to correct any wrongs between myself and others.


"Revive me, O Lord, according to Your Word" (Ps 119:107b). "Pray without ceasing" (1Thess 5:17).

RESOLVED: I will not go to bed this evening nor live this day without spending quiet moments with God in prayer and sincerely meditating on His word.


"Brethren, if anyone amongst you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way, will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins" (Jas. 5:19-20).

RESOLVED: I will not go to bed this evening nor live this day without asking and expecting God to use me as an effective instrument of revival in someone's life.