‘What is revival?’

By the Rev. Harold McKnight - Your pastor speaks

Many of us believe that the second coming of Christ is near at hand. It is a time when Christ will catch up born-again believers unto himself. There is good reason to believe that this monumental event will occur soon, but I do not wish to go into that in this article. My main thrust today is to share a passion many of us have for crying unto God for one more great revival of the church before Christ returns. We may ask, “What is revival?” Is it a series of evangelistic meetings that we may conduct? This may have the elements of revival but the revival many of us are praying for is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our community in a way that radically impacts the people and moral climate of our community and renews life, purity and vision in our churches.

David prayed “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

The great American evangelist, Charles Finney, said, “Revival is the infusion of the Spirit into that body which threatens to become a corpse”. Arthur Wallis wrote, “Revival is the divine intervention in the normal course of spiritual things. It is God revealing himself to mankind in awful holiness and irresistible power. It is such a manifest working of God that human personalities are overshadowed and human programs abandoned. It is man retiring into the background because God has taken the field. It is the Lord making bare his holy arm, and working in extraordinary power on saint and sinner”. Revival starts with the church but invariably impacts sinners and brings many of them into salvation. In the Welsh revival of 1904, a coal miner by the name of Evan Roberts agonized in prayer for 13 months for a great spiritual wakening. When he preached in a small church in his native village of Loughor the Spirit of God fell upon the people of that community and they filled church after church remaining until four o’clock in the morning. In the first few weeks of that revival over 34,000 people were converted to Christ.

The Cane Ridge, Kentucky, revival of 1801, came at a time when there was much drunkenness and immorality. Some of us that are from Kentucky can relate to some of the towns that this great revival visited. It started in Cane Ridge with approximately 25,000 people gathering in the out-of-doors. As many as seven preachers would be preaching at one time as they stood on wagon beds and tree stumps, Thousands of people were converted and the revival swept, like a cyclone, to other towns, such as, Cynthiana, Paris, Flat Creek, Walnut Hill and Georgetown. Much less alcohol was consumed and the moral climate radically improved in these towns. Many other revivals have taken place, such as, under the ministry of Jonathan Edwards, the great Hebrides revival back in the 40’s and the Indonesian revival, even more recently, in the 60’s.

With all the drug dealings, assaults and deviant behavior in our county should we not cry unto God for a revival that will commence here and sweep the nation. We are the first to admit that doctrinally we are not all in agreement. Some practice water baptism by sprinkling and some by immersion. Some believe in baptismal regeneration and some believe that baptism is very important as an act of obedience following our regeneration. Some believe, regarding the return of Christ, in the pre-trib. view, some in the mid-trib. persuasion and some in the post-trib. concept. These, and other differences, do not have to preclude us from joining together and giving ourselves to fasting and prayer for one more great revival. II Chronicles 7:14, in my opinion, is still the best prescription for seeing revival. It starts with God’s people doing several things. The first is to “humble ourselves”. We need to acknowledge to God that we are in desperate straits and cannot produce revival ourselves. It hast to be born in heaven and given to us. The second requirement according to this verse is that “we pray”. No revival ever occurs without someone desperately praying for it. It doesn’t take a lot of people but they must hunger for it with all their hearts and give themselves to prayer night and day. Next we are to seek God. This is prayer intensified. This kind of seeking was demonstrated by Jacob as he wrestled with the angel all night until he received the blessing for which he sought. Finally, we are to turn from every known sin. This is very important because it allows God to answer our prayer and seeking after him. Without it revival cannot come and God will close his ears to us.

Will you join us in praying for revival in the prayer meetings of your home, church, work-place or wherever? Something good is going to happen and many family members will be brought into the kingdom of God. The Bride of Christ will be purified in preparation for the marriage with him after we are raptured out. Let us be part of church history and see it happen and always remember to give the Lord all the glory. May God bless every church in Shelby County with the fire of his presence and unprecedented attendance in those churches that join with us in prayer. Then, pray for it to spread over the nation before we see him coming in the clouds to receive us home.


By the Rev. Harold McKnight

Your pastor speaks

The writer is the pastor emeritus of the Christian Tabernacle in Sidney.

The writer is the pastor emeritus of the Christian Tabernacle in Sidney.