What is ‘revival’ and why do so many pray for it to happen?

Revival. What is it?

            To ‘revive’ something or someone (like a drowning swimmer) means to bring life back into a dying situation.

            So, what would spiritual revival do for a Christian?

            It would bring back your excitement, enthusiasm, and the commitment of those earlier days right after being born again.

            The world doesn’t need revival, it needs salvation.

            But the church (or believer) that has fallen into apathy, spiritual laziness, and coldness of heart needs revival.

            The church at Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22) had become lukewarm and self-reliant, so Jesus counseled them to rely completely on Him instead of themselves. This would break the apathy and bring revival. He would “come in and eat” with them in a close fellowship.

            Revival is in Jesus, and constant prayer yields to His Lordship.

Car’s lack of power befuddles missionary

Generous people gave missionary Herbert Jackson a car to help him in his work.

            It was a major asset, but it had one difficulty—it wouldn’t start without a push or a jump-start.

             So Dr. Jackson devised a system to cope with the car’s inability to start. When he was ready to leave his home, he went to a nearby mission school and asked permission to bring some of the children out of class to help him push-start his car.

            Throughout the day, he always parked on a hill or left the engine running when he stopped for short visits.

            For two years the young missionary used what he believed was an ingenious method to start the car.

            When poor health forced the Jackson family to leave the field, a new missionary arrived to lead the mission. While Jackson explained to the new missionary his methods for starting the car, the young man opened the hood and began inspecting.

            “Why, Dr. Jackson,” he interrupted, “I believe the only trouble is this loose cable.”

            He gave the cable a twist, pushed the switch, and the engine roared to life. (Edited from Living Beyond Your Capacity, Paul Chappell)

            This little parable about powerlessness reminds me of the shaky relationship many of us have with prayer.

            We know God’s power should be working through us, but we’re too busy push-starting “the work” to ask how the Holy Spirit can step in and give us the prayer-connection we need.

            Let’s ask the Father help us tighten up that loose connection.


It was Easter Sunday 1973. Uganda groaned under the terror of Dictator Idi Amin.

          Still fresh in young Pastor Kefa Sempangi’s memory was a face burned beyond recognition, the sight of soldiers cruelly beating a man, and the horrible sound of boots crushing bones—all for the crime of being a Christian.

          But Easter of 1973 Pastor Sempangi bravely and openly preached on the risen Lord in his town’s football stadium to over 7,000 people.

          After the service, five of Idi Amin’s Secret Police followed Sempangi back to his church and closed the door behind them. Five rifles pointed at Sempangi’s face. “We are going to kill you for disobeying Amin’s orders,” said the Captain.

          “If you have something to say, say it before you die.”

          Sempangi, thinking of his beautiful wife and lovely little girl, began to shake. But the risen Lord living in his heart gave him the courage to speak.

          “Do what you must,” he said.

          “The Word of God says that in Christ I am already dead, and that my real life is hidden with Him in God. It is not my life that is in danger, but yours.

          “I am alive in the risen Lord, but you are still dead in your sins. May He spare you from eternal destruction.”

          The leader looked at Sempangi for a long time. Then he lowered his gun and said, “Will you pray for us?”

          Sempangi did, and those five officers, were converted through the witness of Sempangi’s bravery. They also became his protectors rather than his aggressors.

          (Source: 31 Days of miracles, Daniel Sathiaraj)


Hudson Taylor almost died before he ever got to his missionary assignment in China.

            The sailing ship carrying him fell into calm winds, then drifted toward a dangerous reef near an island where cannibals had settled.

            The captain gave up trying to save the ship, but Taylor said, “Four of us on board are Christians. Let us each retire to his own cabin and agree in prayer, asking the Lord to give us immediately a breeze.”

            Certain their prayers had been answered, Hudson Taylor went up on deck and asked the first officer to let down the sails, but the officer said, “What would be the good of that?”

            Taylor answered, “We’ve been asking a wind from God; it is coming immediately.” Within a few minutes the wind began to rise.

Taylor’s ship soon landed in China where he spent his life winning souls to Jesus. (Autobiography of Hudson Taylor)