What Is Revival?
The following is an excerpt from Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his lecture ‘Revival: An Historical and Theological Survey.’ It provides a simple and excellent answer to a question that many Christians are confused about.
“It is an experience in the life of the church when the Holy Spirit does an unusual work. He does that work, primarily, amongst the members of the church; it is a reviving of the believers. You cannot revive something that has never had life, so revival, by definition, is first of all an enlivening and quickening and awakening of lethargic, sleeping, almost moribund church members.
Suddenly the power of the Spirit comes upon them and they are brought into a new and more profound awareness of the truths that they had previously held intellectually, and perhaps at a deeper level too. They are humbled, they are convicted of sin, they are terrified at themselves. Many of them feel that they have never been Christians. And then they come to see the great salvation of God in all its glory and to feel its power. Then, as the result of their quickening and enlivening, they begin to pray. New power comes into the preaching of the ministers, and the result of this is that large numbers who were previously outside the church are converted and brought in.
So the two main characteristics of revival are, first, this extraordinary enlivening of the members of the church, and, second, the conversion of masses of people who hitherto have been outside in indifference and in sin. (There are many other consequences which I do not stay to mention, such as the needed provision of larger church buildings, the establishing of new causes, large numbers of men offering themselves for the ministry and beginning to train, and so on.) Here, then, in its essence is a definition of what we mean by revival.”