When Is Revival Needed?

H.B. LondonCharles G. Finney once offered a list to help determine when a church needs a revival. The list from his revival lectures is timeless. He believed revivals were needed when these conditions prevailed:

  • Lack of love: "When there is a lack of brotherly love and Christian confidence among professors of religion, then revival is needed."
  • Disunity and division: "When there are dissensions and jealousies and evil speakings among professors of religion, then revival is needed."
  • Worldliness: "When there is a worldly spirit in the church, then revival is needed."
  • Sin in the church: "When the church finds its members falling into gross and scandalous sins, then revival is needed."
  • Controversy and disagreement: "When there is a spirit of controversy in the church, then revival is needed."
  • Wickedness controls society: "When the wicked triumph over the churches and revile them, then revival is needed."
  • Sinners are careless: "When sinners are careless and stupid, then revival is needed."

Seldom have great spiritual awakenings come to pastors, churches or countries without intercessory prayer. Before an awakening in India near the turn of this century, John Hyde, a praying missionary, asked Christians these questions to stimulate faithfulness in prayer for revival:

  • Are you praying for quickening in your own life, in the life of your fellow workers, and in the church?
  • Are you longing for greater power of the Holy Spirit in your life and work, and are you convinced you cannot go on without this power?
  • Will you pray that you may not be ashamed of Jesus?
  • Do you believe that prayer is the great means for securing this spiritual awakening?
  • Will you set apart one half hour each day as soon after noon as possible to pray for this awaking, and are you willing to pray till it comes?

Real revival restores an individual and a church to spiritual health and well-being. For an individual, genuine revival enables him to live out his faith in the daily details of life. Such a renewal brings a church from subnormal, barely-making-it Christianity to a supernatural empowerment and refreshment, a sense of anointing and a growing awareness that the church is a unique organization owned and energized by God.

It stirs a congregation and challenges and empowers us to live out the radical demands of Christianity in every phase of life inside and outside the church.

Taken from Pastor to Pastor newsletter, Aug. 1995.
Article copyright © 1995, Focus on the Family.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Dr. H.B. London is the vice president of Pastoral Ministries for Focus on the Family and the author of numerous books on and for pastors. He served as a Nazarene pastor for over 30 years in several churches in Oregon and California. He and his wife, Beverley, live primarily in Colorado Springs, Colo., and have two sons and four grandchildren.