Dear Jay UMC Family and Friends,
I was in a conversation recently about revival, and have been impressed to share some things with you about what I call the “Cycle of Revival”. First, though, just what is revival? Some would define it as a series of meetings with lively singing and dynamic preaching. Others think of it in terms of winning people to Christ. In truth, revival is for Christians. The word itself means to bring back to life. In others words, you can’t be re-vived unless you were once “vived”! Spiritually speaking, revival is the life of God restored to His Church. That said, how does revival happen? What is the “cycle” of revival?
First, revival usually happens in a time of crisis in the church and/or in the culture. Christians begin to look more and more like the world around them until it is almost impossible to tell the difference. This is evident among the people of Israel in the Old Testament book of Judges. This leads to desperation. A small group of believers begin to cry out to God, travailing in prayer for Him to visit His people. In answer to their prayer, God raises up messengers. I like to call them “Remembrancers—officials appointed to remind others of something. In the case of revival, these “Remembrancers” bring into the light forgotten, neglected truths and practices of our faith. In response to this, new life begins to come forth among Christians. The fire of God’s love is rekindled within them through the Holy Spirit. They cannot keep this to themselves. This leads to a harvest of souls as people are brought to Christ by these newly revived Christians! As this spreads, there is a transformation of the culture in which the revival happens. It is not unusual, in the study of revival history, to hear of reduced crime, transformed family dynamics, and so on.
Let’s pray. Father God, look upon your people. Visit us with your power. Bring to our remembrance that which is of you that has been forgotten of neglected. Fan the flame of your love within us. Make of us witnesses by word and life to the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Bring others into your kingdom because of what they see of you in us. Use us together to transform our world for your glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.