July 16, 2020
Written by Tasha Ann Miller
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Psalm 51: 9-12
The full surrender or obedience to the move of God in a revival is the catharsis for God to act upon. As such it means asking God to reveal hidden sins and faults so that one can live in holiness as they desire the awakening of the presence of God. A revival in the Christian Church is not one of condemnation and public revelation of one’s sins and struggles, but rather it is a refreshing overflow as people acknowledge their need for God, and allow him to work on their hearts. The signs preceding a revival are vital as people lose hope within their own abilities to cope, and instead run into the towering presence of God, hungry and in need of His mercies.
Breaking down the history of the most powerful revivals
Azuza Street Revival in 1906
“fully two hundred of them came out of their seats and wept in penitence before the Lord.”Joseph Smale, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Los Angeles, who went to see the Welsh revival in person.
(Adopted from, William J. Seymour and the Azuza Street Revival, Assemblies of God (USA), 1999)
The Azuza Street Revival was born from the desire to see a revival like the Welsh Revival from September 1904 to June 1905. It’s there, the fire, the understanding, and longing for a revival that will drive us to full surrender and expectancy before God. In the history of revivals even from the day of Pentecost, there was an expectancy and surrender as the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit to come. They were in one accord.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.Acts 1:14
The disciples were in a place of surrender as they waited on the promise of the Holy Spirit. This was the major tenet of the Azuza street revival as the leader, William J. Seymour prayed, and taught about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the manifestation of speaking in tongues. It was the start of the revolutionary Pentecostal movement. Furthermore, the location of the revival at 312 Azuza street was short of fancy as it was an old rundown building that became convenient as the crowd expanded. There was this air of surrender as the heart of the Azuza street revival was to equip missionaries with the spiritual power needed for evangelism.
Revivals are not for personal pleasures and grandeur except to reflect the glory of God to manifest his power in changing the hearts of men, and cultivating the harvest of souls. Therefore, the main mission of revivals throughout the church’s history is to win souls for the kingdom of God. In Acts, after the disciples were endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter got up under the power of the anointing to preach the prophecy of Joel, calling for repentance.
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Acts 2: 38-41
This national call for repentance is the reason for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as believers are equipped to continue the Great Commission that Jesus proclaimed. As witnesses all across the world, Christians must honour the word of God to proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ so sinners can be liberated. In the Welsh revival in 1904, approximately 70,000 people came to Christ in the first two months of the revival.
“The pathos and the passion of the avowal (of that young girl) acted like an electric shock upon the congregation. One after another rose and made the full surrender, and the news spread like wildfire from place to place that the Revival had broken out, and that souls were being ingathered to the Lord.”
W. T. Stead, a journalist, who wrote about the Welsh Revival of 1904
These great revivals were filled with great sacrifices of fire, humility, and complete surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit. These features remain necessary if God is to pour out his Spirit upon us today. The hearts must be in a place to receive the holy power of God which will convict sin, and bring repentance. To receive from His cup, we must be empty enough, otherwise, we will be filled with our personal desires and distractions that blinds our focus on God.
Revivals don’t stay in one place as other church leaders sometimes visit thousands of miles away to catch the fire and bring it to their hometowns. Therefore, their revivals paint a unifying picture as the body of Christ aligns across denominations, race, and doctrinal foundations to a melting pot of pure focus on God. Amid, sometimes, the segregation of some churches and their belief in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, revivals uproot hidden sins and produce a holy washing and energy boost that the true church of God needs to honor the call of the Great Commission.
Escaping the prayerless zone
On the history records of prayer, revivals are high on the list, surpassed by the greatest prayer on record in John 17. There are years of prayers for revivals, sometimes very intense but consistency is the key. Jesus said, men ought to pray and faint not (Luke 18). So, while prayers are not the direct plug for God’s spontaneous outpouring upon his people, they help to show our hearts of surrender and give Him a reason to show up. The reality of today’s world demands more prayers just for the sake of everything not going haywire. It will continue to be the only thing that will keep the elect from the wrath of sin, and strengthen the reach to win lost souls into the kingdom.
Therefore, the caution flag is up as the assault of the present age aims to cripple the prayer life of Christians. Our focus must remain on God. True surrender will bring us into repentance and the outpouring of our souls in prayer. The escape of prayerlessness will become the testament to how we are tried by fire and come out as pure gold. The process is ripening and scarcely can the elect be saved but we are. The fortitude of our defense is in prayer as the shield of God keeps us from fiery darts. Believing and praying for a revival is no fly-by-night affair, and the church must remain on edge in the spirit as we draw strength from God.
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.Zechariah 4:6
In unison, in prayer, in the Word of God, let us become embers in the Holy Spirit awaiting the pure fire of the next revival.