Isaiah 57:15. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Revival is a Process
Revival is the process whereby something that is dead is made alive again. The Church, throughout the ages, goes through periods of being alive and then slowly (or quickly) dying. It then needs an outside intervention of the Holy Ghost to make it alive again. When it is dead, there is no Spirit of God present. Each local church either has the presence of God, and is alive; or it does not, and is dead. The same is true of the individuals in a church. Some could be alive and some could be dead spiritually. That does not mean they are not saved, they just do not let the Holy Spirit inside them to control them. For all practical purposes, He is dead to them.
Revivals of the 20th Century
There have been revivals in the 20th century. A great revival happened in the early 1950’s on the Isle of Lewis, in Scotland, under Ducan Campbell. There was a revival in the United States in the 70’s and 80’s that saw many saved and some great Christians produced. However, that has not happened in the last 30 years, except for some local churches here and there. Having whole towns, regions, or countries experiencing revival has not happened in a while.
The Cycle of Revival
Revival is a cycle in the Old Testament, where we see the greatest illustration of this phenomena. There is a time where God’s people go through a process of spiritual decline and slowly start to look more and more like the heathen, until you cannot tell them apart. At that point, the church is good and dead. It needs something to make it alive again. It requires a humble spirit to start a fire, to make it alive again. Without that humble spirit, the matches will stay wet and unable to produce the life-giving fire. A humble spirit produces repentance, a willingness to change and get right. This needs to happen with someone in the local church in order to dry out the matches.
Revival Requires a Humble Spirit
A humble spirit will also produce a brokenness, a sorrowfulness for sin. Revival always starts with a remnant. You need the kindling wood, the starter sticks, to get the fire going again. In the revivals of Israel, there was always a prophet, a remnant under Nehemiah, someone that God moved on to get it going again. That is what is needed today. It may be in a local church, a couple of saints here or there. That is all it was on the Isle of Lewis. An old, crippled elderly lady and her blind sister. They prayed in the revival, Ducan Campbell was just the instrument God used. It takes an earnest, humble soul that is willing to cry out, like Isaiah; for our nation’s and our town’s sins, and seek God with all our might and heart.
Revival Always Ends and Needs to Start Over Again
The other thing about the cycle of revival is that it always seems to go back down to being dead after a period of being alive. Revivals do not last, unfortunately. If you went back to the Isle of Lewis now, 65 years later, I am not sure you would find much evidence of that great spiritual awakening that happened there. It takes diligence to maintain the cycle of revival. We need to realize that things naturally wind down and that we always need to keep it alive. Dead, religious churches may always have their pews full and have people coming and going, year after year, but that does not mean they are alive. The devil’s church does not need to be made alive. It can function just fine when it is dead because he is the father of death. There is no cycle there, it is just always death. Pray for revival and ask God to maintain what you have. Always be humble and let God move.