Common Characteristics in Preparation for Revival

Excerpts from the book ‘Revival Fires and Awakenings.’

With all revivals, there are differences, but there are also common characteristics and features, regardless of the people involved, the decade or century, and in which country or continent the revival took place. If you were to read extensively about revivals and revivalists down the ages, then you will start to see some common threads woven through history. Some of these common characteristics are:

  • Before a revival comes, there will always need to be preparation on behalf of the body of Christ. This frequently occurs when a minister starts preaching and teaching on the nature and conditions of revival, and out of this comes prayer and intercession.
  • Revival always begins with a burden. It could be one person or more, who become a watchman (male or female intercessor) who stand in the gap (in intercession) on behalf of their church or nation.
  • Those with a burden would have long realised that personal revival always precedes a local or national revival. They would have got their own lives sorted out before they expect God to move others enmasse.
  • Genuine disciples of Jesus Christ will be grieved and burdened over the state of the Church, their community, city or country, as sin and lawlessness abounds. They will be grieved that the name of God is blasphemed and derided on a daily basis. God must be glorified!
  • They desire Jesus’ name to be lifted high and flown as a banner across their land. They wish all Christians could enter into a living relationship with the Holy Spirit, to know Him and His convicting and guiding power.
  • Before a revival comes, things will often look their worst. God frequently steps in at the last minute, at the darkest hour. If God did not step in with His mercy, then He would have to step in with His judgment – Sodom and Gomorrah had no Bible yet we do!
  • Before a revival comes, faithful disciples of Jesus Christ will be praying and interceding for God to move His mighty hand and to pour out His Spirit from on high. They will plead the promises of God as contained within the Holy Bible. It has been said by many a preacher that preceding revival, the word O’ or Oh is always used in passionate prayer and pleading. Many revivalist (or intercessor) will go through a period of agony in prayer until they get an assurance that God will move.
  • These disciples will be earnestly trying to live righteous and holy lives. They will talk, read and study about past revivals and awakenings and encourage others to seek God for revival blessings. Common Characteristics of Revival
  • When revival comes there will be a heightened awareness of God’s presence. The Holy Spirit, as the third Person of the Trinity will be honoured. He will not be seen as a “thing” or “influence” but as a Person, who convicts of sin, shows true righteousness, guides into all truth, gives direction etc. and glorifies Jesus.
  • There is a deeper reality of the cross of Calvary, the blood of Jesus, the atonement and what He has done for mankind (Isaiah 53).
  • God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34). Those of all ages, from different social backgrounds of varying educational levels get saved, including young children. Teenagers become radical for Christ. They may not dress like us, but they will be zealous for Christ and many will have more zeal than wisdom! But that’s ok as God knows the heart. The majority of these converts will stay true to God and be trophies of grace, lasting fruit.
  • There will be conviction of sin to a lesser or greater degree. Many non-Christians will writhe in agony of soul and be in deep torment until they bow the knee to Jesus Christ, or if they are a Christian, until they get specific sins (Leviticus 5:5) out of their life and or confess them (Proverbs 28:13). Some will fall out of the pew or the seat that they were sitting on or fall over if they were standing up!

    If we want to see revival, then each of us needs to be revived, and to pray for our own personal revival. But before we can be revived we need to repent of all known sin and deal with the past, because ‘he who covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes will find mercy’ (Proverbs 28:13).

    The Lord said: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

    Find out more about the book ‘Revival Fires and Awakenings’ by Mathew Backholer.


    Mathew is the author of:
    Revival Fire - 150 Years of Revivals Go
    Extreme Faith – On Fire Christianity Go
    Global Revival – Worldwide Outpourings Go
    Revival Answers, True and False Revivals Go
    Understanding Revival and Addressing the Issues Go
    Mission Preparation Training: Evangelism, Teaching and Discipleship Go
    How to Plan, Prepare and Successfully Complete Your Short-Term Mission Go
    Revival Fires and Awakenings: Thirty-Six Visitations of the Holy Spirit Go