On a recent staff retreat I invited Dr. Richard Ross to come to speak to our team. Richard is a seminary professor, but more specifically he is genuine student of revival and spiritual awakening. I wanted him to share with our men and women what he knows about the times when God moves among His people in an extraordinary way.
According to Dr. Ross these movements of God all involve unique circumstances, but they have at least seven things in common:
A SOLEMN SENSE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD. During times of revival believers experience His majestic, awesome presence and are unalterably changed by those experiences.
BROKENNESS OVER SIN. When we see God as He is, we see ourselves as we are. A newfound love for God and a new sense of His holiness leads to brokenness over sin, which leads the way to repentance and restoration.
RADICAL OBEDIENCE. Believers in the stream of revival tend to listen carefully to God and to immediately do what He instructs them to do. They simply seek God’s face and unquestioningly do what He requests.
HUNGER FOR PRAYER. Perfunctory prayers that sometimes typify institutional church life become inadequate to believers in revival. Their hunger for prayer leads them to find new and extended times of private, small-group and corporate prayer.
CROSSING OF DENOMINATIONAL LINES – WITHOUT LOSS OF DISTINCTIVES. During times of revival believers rediscover that they have more in common with believers in other Christian groups than they do with those in their fallen culture. They begin to embrace those across the Body of Christ and to look for ways they can serve together.
STRONG BELIEF IN SCRIPTURE. In dry spiritual times for the church some may minimize the miraculous and even cast doubt on authenticity of the Scriptures. During times of revival believers cling to and live by the promises of Scripture.
SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. On the heels of revival God sovereignly begins to transform, not only the church, but also entire nations. Revivals alter the lives of believers and churches; spiritual awakenings alter whole communities, nations, even continents. Widespread conversions and cultural shifts are hallmarks of spiritual awakening. Historically spiritual awakenings have overcome some of the great societal ills such as slavery, addictions and prostitution. It has led to the establishment of institutions and movements that have dramatically reshaped the morals and ethics of a land.
No one who knows anything at all about the state of Christianity in America today can deny the fact that we desperately need revival. Likewise, anyone who has any feel at all for the culture of the United States understands how urgent our need is for spiritual awakening.
O that God would move toward us in His grace to rouse us to seek Him for a mighty outpouring of His Spirit upon us!