Through the years, I have collected various quotes on revival. One that stands out is by G. Campbell Morgan: “Revival cannot be organized, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”Revival cannot be organized, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.—G. Campbell Morgan Click To Tweet
One reason I love that quote for its emphasis on the Holy Spirit as the necessary Mover of revival among His people.
We know that we can’t just put a date on the calendar and say, “Well, there it is. God has to send revival next Sunday.”
Even so, this coming week, Lancaster Baptist Church will host our thirty-fifth winter revival service. So why, knowing that we can’t “organize revival” in the sense that we can’t force God to work on our timetable, do we even bother to put revival meetings on the schedule, let alone thirty-five years in a row?
The answer lies in the second half of the quote: “…but we can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”
Yes, the Holy Spirit is the necessary Mover of revival, but we can emphasize preparing our hearts for the work of God.
Our annual winter revival, or Week of Awakening as we now call it, is one of the events on our church calendar that I believe is vital to the health of our church family.
When we schedule revival, we schedule prayer.
In all of the revivals of history that I have studied, there has been a single common denominator—prayer.
It is in answer to the faithful, humble, earnest prayers of God’s people that God sends revival.
Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?—Psalm 85:6
As our church family prepares this week for next week’s services, many are setting aside time for prayer and fasting as we ask God to prepare our hearts and work in our church through the services next week.
When we schedule revival, we schedule preaching.
God works in our lives through the preaching of His Word.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.—2 Timothy 4:1
And when we schedule four consecutive days to give attention to preaching, there is multiplying effect that takes place in our hearts.
When we schedule revival, we schedule seeking God.
It’s so easy for the cares and pressures of life to build up in our hearts and, over time, to distract our focus from the Lord.
But when a church and an individual Christian put four consecutive evenings of revival services on the schedule, it has an effect of reinstating the emphasis of seeking God first—of choosing to value the things of God and hearing the Word of God.
I have been encouraging our church even in their own preparation for these days of revival to set aside time to seek God, as I mentioned a moment ago in prayer and fasting, with the goal of asking God to break up any hardness that has lodged in their hearts.
The prophet Hosea gave a farming illustration along these lines. Just as a farmer plows the soil in preparation for planting his seed, so we are to prepare our hearts in preparation for hearing God’s Word.
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.—Hosea 10:12
We schedule, but God sends.
So no—we can’t “schedule revival” in the sense that we could force God’s hand.
But yes—we can schedule the elements of preparing our hearts for the wind of the Spirit to revive His church.
For Lancaster Baptist Church, this Week of Awakening will be January 24–27, 2021. The services will be in person at church for all who can attend and will also be live streamed at LBClive.tv for those whose health does not allow them to be at in-person services. Please pray with us for God to work in our lives and through our church family.