There is much excitement surrounding the revival occurring at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. Soon after Asbury’s started, nearby Lee University began experiencing its own revival.
The other day, my husband sent me a picture of a sea of students gathered on campus at Baylor University (my alma mater) with Pat Neff Hall lit up green in the background. Then a friend shared a similar image occurring at Texas A&M. At both universities, young people were kneeling with bowed heads, standing with arms raised in worship, and groups praying with and for one another.
These images brought me to tears. Not just watery eyes, but the emotion that wells up from deep inside and gets clogged in your throat.
So… So What?
What is revival?
On dictionary.com, the first definition of revival is “restoration to life, consciousness, vigor, strength, etc.”
In Psalm 85:6, the word “revive” means to keep alive or to flourish.
The Bible Sense Lexicon says revive means to give new life or energy to.
In his sermon on Sunday, February 20, pastor Jack Hibbs clarified that revival means that something that is alive–is made alive again.
Think about it. If you know CPR and must use it, your goal is to revive the person who is not breathing. The person is “dead” or, as Miracle Max might say, “mostly dead.” Forcing breath in and out of their lungs revives them. Brings them back to life, so to speak.
New Life vs. Personal Revival
When we first give our lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit generates new life in our souls. No longer are we spiritually dead; we are spiritually alive and will be throughout eternity. We will never be spiritually dead again. However, our spiritual enthusiasm can flag. The energy we lived in can wane. But we can become lazy. Habits and activities that are not God-honoring creep into our lives, diminishing our effectiveness for Christ. It’s like using a grungy flashlight with a dirty lens. It can be on, but it’s not much use until the lens is cleaned.
Personal revival occurs when we allow the Holy Spirit’s conviction to transform us from a life that looks less than alive to one that is vibrant and has impact for God’s Kingdom. We get rid of all the dirt and grime from the flashlight. Now, when we turn it on, it shines a bright beam, illuminating the darkness.
How We Can Experience Personal Revival
Maybe you see and hear about this revival stuff and wonder if it’s for you. Or you eagerly watch the YouTube videos and news report. And somewhere deep inside, you want a part of it, too. I know I do.
I think personal revival begins with recognizing and understanding the gravity of what Christ did for us. The penalty for our sin is death–eternal separation from God in everlasting torment. But God does not want us to experience His wrath over sin; He loves us. He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sin. He died. Then He rose to life again! Thus purchasing salvation for us.
If we feel dull toward this, we must pray that the Holy Spirit will remind us of this beautiful truth so we don’t take it for granted! Then we are more prepared to respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
In addition, experiencing revival begins with asking the Holy Spirit to reveal unconfessed sin in our lives. It may be unkind or sarcastic words we say, thinking patterns, habits, or other activities that interrupt our fellowship with God. We can be sure God will answer this prayer with a resounding yes. For me, before the words are fully out of my mouth or my thoughts are complete, the Holy Spirit has His finger on one or more areas of my life.
Then, we repent. We confess these sins with a humble heart. No excuses. No justification. Rather, we acknowledge our sin is unholy and separates us from our holy God. Then, we yield our hearts, minds, and will to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Revival will be reflected when we …
- Turn away from thinking patterns, habits, and activities that are not God-honoring. Pursue holiness. Not the kind that makes people uncomfortable. But a life that shines love and kindness (Philippians 2:14-15).
- Seek forgiveness from anyone we have sinned against. And forgive those who have wounded us (Ephesians 4:32). In addition, we can pray that God will give us more sensitivity so that we are not easily offended(Proverbs 19:11).
- Move into bolder Christian living. Look for opportunities to share the gospel with people in your circle of influence (Romans 10:14-15).
What Happens After Personal Revival
I’ve been praying for these college students. That what is occurring in their hearts will be genuine transformation, changing not only their lives, but their communities and the world at large. Because that’s what happens with true revival. It’s Acts 1 and 2 all over again! Before He ascended back to heaven, Jesus told His disciples:
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)
I’m excited to see how God uses this move of His Spirit among today’s young people. Like great revivals before, we won’t see the results for a while. But it’s coming!
I also pray for my children (and others) that they, too, will desire revival, that their lives will be transformed for the cause of Christ. But then, how can I pray for revival to occur in my family if I’m not praying for revival in my own heart? To that end, I’ve been searching out Scriptures that point to revival.
Scriptures Verses Pointing to Revival
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6)
Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. (Psalm 80:18)
For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
A Prayer for Personal Revival
Will you join me in praying for personal revival?
According to Your Word, I know …
You are present with those who humble themselves before You. So, I do that now.
You are holy–absolutely perfect in everything You think, say, and do.
I, on the other hand, am not. I grieve over my sin. When I think about them, how ugly they are, and how they separate me from You and Your holiness, my heart is crushed by their weight. I know my sins are an obstacle to true fellowship with You and all You want to do in me and through me–for Your glory.
Thank You for forgiving my sin and cleansing me when I confess them. Help me to forgive others in the same way You so readily forgive me.
Father, I want to experience personal revival. You Word tells me that Your very Presence can revive my spirit and my heart. I ask for that now. Revive me, Lord! Revive my spirit. Revive my heart.
I want to always stay in close fellowship with You. Sensing Your presence and Your direction.
May my life count for Your Kingdom. Please give me boldness to share the gospel with those You bring across my path. Use me to accomplish Your purposes in this world.
In Jesus’ Name,
 “Revival Definition & Meaning.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com. Accessed February 22, 2023. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/revival.
 Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament, 2003, 332.
 Thompson, Jeremy. “Bible Sense Lexicon.” Bellingham: Faithlife, 2015, revival.
 Jack Hibbs Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, “The Declaration of Dependence,” YouTube, February 21, 2023, Sunday Sermon, 27:30 to 28:16, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY0IidBYNTE.