If you were to ask 10 preachers about revival, you may get 10 different answers.
All may have good thoughts, but I would like to turn to the word of God to find out what revival really means.
Psalms 85:6 (KJV): “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”
First, what is revival? Webster’s dictionary defines revival as “Return, recall or recovery to life from death or apparent death; as the revival of a drowned person. Recall, return or recovery from a state of neglect, oblivion, obscurity or depression, or renewed and more active attention to religion; an awakening of men to their spiritual concerns.”
The writer of Psalms 85 asked for revival “that thy people may rejoice.” He knew first hand that without God, there was no true and lasting joy.
Why was revival needed? In verse 1, we see the word captivity; God’s people were in bondage. Verse 2 shows us why. There we find the word iniquity, which means sin with knowledge. It means you know you are sinning but continue to do it anyway.
In verses 3-5 we find the words wrath, anger and angry. Revival was needed because God was upset at the sinful condition of His people. Yes, God is love. He loves all sinners. But God’s holy word declares in Psalms 7:11 “…God is angry with the wicked every day. “
When will revival come? In verse 4 he prays, “Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.” God wants His people to live in a continual state of revival, but to do so we must turn from our sin to God. There is no revival in sin. Many will speak of God sending revival, but first we must turn from our sins to God. The works of the flesh — spoken of in Galatians 5:19 — such as adultery, fornication and uncleanness must be forsaken before the fruit of the Spirit — love, joy and peace — can be experienced.
Who will experience revival? Psalms 85:9 (KJV): “Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; …” It is very simple: Many people today do not fear God. They say they do, but in reality, they do not. If we fear the police officer or the judge, we will not break the law. Revival will come to those who fear God. If a person fears God, they will break off their sins and change.
How do we know revival is here? In verse 10, mercy and truth met; you cannot have one without the other. God’s mercy shows up when we acknowledge the truth about our lost condition, and righteousness and peace kiss or they come together with holy affection.
Revival will bring the peace of God to our hearts, homes, streets and nation. God’s revival will come when we pray as the psalmist “turn us O God” and when we turn from our sin to the God of our salvation.
Bradeen is pastor of House of Prayer Christian Church and Bible Seminary and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.