We have been talking about several kinds of revival: Personal, corporate, and historic. Each one reflects a change in scope. Personal revival affects an individual and sets in motion a revitalized heart. God does this by encountering a person powerfully as they seek after Him and position themselves to trust God fully.
Corporate revival centers on a local church or a distinct community of believers. It tends to impart strong lasting effects upon a majority of the group, so that sin is confessed, relationships are restored, and supernatural occurrences like physical healing and deliverance occur within a localized context. The believers in this church are grealy blessed by the presence of God in their midst. However, this kind of revival rarely gets past the church walls, and it usually fails to moves outward to significantly impact the city or other churches.
Historic revival deals with the largest scope of revival. It also has the clearest phases that lead up to it. Usually, there are times of great persecution or societal darkness that envelop the Church and the city or nation. This often sparks a deep longing within many Christ-followers for God to step in and bring about change. This almost always develops into a movement of intense and costly prayer in the region. And, in God’s divine timing, at one moment on a particular day, God pours out a flood of the Holy Spirit in a very potent and tangible way upon a group of people. It is usually very clear that God is present. The time that leads up to historic revival may span years or even decades, but, once revival is ignited, it quickly spreads outward to new churches and neighborhoods and cities. It can change the character and destiny of cities and nations for years, if not generations. Its impact far exceeds what observers might expect from its seemingly small beginnings.
It’s interesting that when historic revival arrives, it inevitably brings a surge of personal revivals and corporate revivals as the Holy Spirit touches and convicts more and more people. However, the opposite is not true. Personal revival alone, in one individual, does not immediately lead to historic revival. Similarly, corporate revival in one church is not sufficient to trigger the next level of revival. They ARE good things. They are blessings from God. But, historic revival is a sovereign act of God. Yes, there is a partnership with His people. Yes, the Lord is looking at our hearts and listening for our prayers. But, in the end, God initiates the supernatural outpouring in His timing.
If you want to see historic revival, take note of what has happened in history.The Church must persist, pressing forward in deep longing for more of God and His power. It requires patience on a whole new level. The pages of history attest to exactly this kind of humble and earnest disposition before revival comes. It takes costly prayer. It calls for a fierce and relentless kind of faith and hope. It stirs us to serve others today and to love deeply with the resources we already have. But we can’t forget that historic revival is far far bigger than our best efforts, even if we already work with supernatural giftings! There is more! Historic revival is huge, because God’s presence becomes unmistakable and He gets all the glory in the end.