Revival and Prayer

By Joseph Ametepe


It is most appropriate for any teaching on prayer to end with a presentation on revival, since effective prayer plays a major role before and during a revival. Our generation is one that desperately needs the revival of God. The state of the churches as well as that of individual believers is one that can at best be described as complacent and compromising. We have become lukewarm, "neither cold nor hot." (Revelation 3:15,16). This is not meant to be an indictment on the church. Neither is it meant to discourage believers. It is only meant to point us to our desperate need for revival from God, "so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed" (Hebrews 12:13).


  • As life can only come from God, so also revival comes only from God. It is a gift of God to His people.
  • "Chayah" is the Hebrew verb for revive. It means to live anew, to quicken; to recover; to refresh; to rebuild; to restore to life.
  • True revival then, can only be the work of the true and living God, for it is "new life from God."
  • Revival is a time when the people of God experience the healing of such diseases as complacency, compromise, lack of commitment to God and lack of reverence for God.

A. Biblical Cry For Revival

The people of God in times past saw the desperate need to cry out to God for revival. Revival therefore is not something invented in the last century. It has been the cry of the people of God ever since God chose a people for Himself, through whom His grace and glory were put on display. The biblical cry for revival is twofold, namely the cry for God's people to be revived, and the cry for the work of God to be revived.


1. Revival of God's people


"You who have shown me many troubles and distresses willrevive me again" (Psalm 71:20).

"Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. Then we shall not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name. O LORD God of hosts, restore us" (Psalm 80: 17-19).

"Will You not Yourself revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You" (Psalm 85:6)?

"My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to Your word" (Psalm 119:25).

"Come, let us return to the LORD.... He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him" (Hosea 6:1-2).

  • Revival is first and foremost for God's people.
  • It is clear from the scriptural references listed above, that, revival is both individual and collective.
  • It is also clear from the contexts of these references that true repentance precedes the cry for revival.
  • The key truth we learn from these cries for revival is that true and lasting revival is the work of God.


  • Revival is the return of God's people to God.
  • God's people continually stray like sheep. They must return to the Shepherd of their souls (see 1 Peter 2:25).
  • Revival is the restoration of God's people to God.
  • God's people are to be spiritually restored to Him.
  • The great need of the day is the revival of God's people. If ever the church of God is to advance in power and truly be a witness to the manifold grace of God to the glory of God, she must be renewed.


Torrey wrote: "A revival is a time of quickening or impartation of life. As God alone can give life, a revival is a time when God visits His people, by the power of His Spirit imparts new life to them, and through them imparts life to sinners dead in trespasses and sins."

  • Reasons why the people of God sorely need to be revived.
  • Lack of reverence for God among the people of God.
  • Love for God has grown cold.
  • Lack of commitment to God and the cause of God.
  • Lack of devotion to prayer abounds among believers. The labor of prayer is greatly neglected.
  • General apathy among the people of God.
  • Complacency, compromise and comfortable living.
  • Worldliness pervades the church. There is little or no difference between believers and unbelievers.
2. Revival of God's work
"LORD, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy" (Habakkuk 3:2).
  • The people of God are to call upon God to revive His work.
  • The prophet Habakkuk was a man who studied the history of God's works and wonders. He knew one thing, and that is that God has not changed.
  • He is the same God who did mighty deeds in making Himself known among the nations in the past.
  • The same God is more than willing to renew and revive His work among the nations.
  • He therefore earnestly asked God to revive His work in his time.
  • It is now our turn to cry to our God to revive His work of making His name known in the nations.

B. Results of Revival

1. Results in ministers and their ministries
  • In true revival, ministers gain a new love for God and His Word and a new faith in the Word of God.
  • They become first and foremost men and women of prayer.
  • They no longer rely on their own energy and wisdom in doing the work of God.
  • They experience new liberty and power in preaching and presenting the truth of the Gospel.
  • There is a renewal of their urgency in proclaiming the truth of the Gospel to the lost.
  • Like Paul, they cry "If I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:16).
  • Many have called this sense of urgency a passion for souls.
2. Results among Christians
  • The fear of God is restored among believers.
  • Their first love for God is rekindled.
  • Their love for God's Word and their commitment to its obedience are renewed.
  • Believers are characterized by a true and genuine spirit of repentance to God and to one another.
  • They no longer cover up their sins but confess them to God and to one another.
  • There is an overwhelming sense of God's holiness among believers.
  • There is great overflowing joy at sins forgiven among Christians.
  • Believers have a new sense of the manifestation of God's presence among them and with them.
  • Believers no longer live like the world. They live distinct lives that truly reflect the love and light of Christ.
  • Believers gain a new spirit of prayer.
  • Torrey wrote:
    "Prayer meetings are no longer a duty but become the necessity of a hungry, importunate heart. Private prayer is followed with new zest. The voice of earnest prayer to God is heard day and night. People no longer ask, 'Does God answer prayer?' They know He does, and besiege the throne of grace day and night."


  • Believers experience the promise given in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
  • Believers also have a new sense of urgency developed in them to declare the message of the Gospel.
3. Results in the world
  • There is a great conviction of sin brought upon the unsaved by the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers are convicted and those who respond to the convicting work of the Spirit are converted.
  • The Lord Jesus spoke about the coming of the Holy Spirit and one of His functions is to bring deep conviction of sin upon the unsaved (John 16:7-8).
  • When the life of the Spirit came mightily at Pentecost, the one hundred and twenty disciples were revived, and the Spirit's work through them brought three thousand unsaved souls to repentance and regeneration.
  • The established pattern of revival is that whenever the people of God are revived, the Spirit's work through them follows to bring regeneration of the unsaved (see Acts 2).
  • A revival in which there is no conviction of sin is no revival.
  • When the conviction of sin is accomplished by the Spirit in the unsaved there comes regeneration and renewal of them by the Holy Spirit (see Titus 3:5).
  • In short, we will see more happen in a week than we have seen in years.

C. The Role of Prayer in Revival

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers... And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance" (Acts 1:142:1-4).


  • Continual devotion to prayer has always played and will always play a major role in revival.

D. History of Revivals


1. History has shown that the revivals of the past were preceded by devotion to prayer by a few burdened believers who refused to accept the status quo conditions around them and earnestly sought God for the revival of His people and His work in their generations.


  • It is reported that the great revival of 1857 in the United States began in prayer and was carried on by prayer more than by anything else.
  • It is also reported of D. L. Moody's work in England, Scotland and Ireland (which later spread to America), that while the spirit of prayer continued the revival grew in strength. But in the course of time less and less was made of prayer and the work fell off very perceptibly in power.
  • Every true revival has had its earthly origin in prayer.
  • Most revivals have humble beginnings. We are therefore not to despise the day of small things (see Zechariah 4:10).


2. The Holy Spirit is ready to work to bring about revival today as He did in times past.


  • But believers must believe Him and begin to prepare the way by their continual devotion to prayer.
  • Revival is costly.
  • But its cost has already been paid by Christ who made a new and living way for us to draw near to the Father in devotion to prayer with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith (Hebrews 10:20-22).


3. It is now our turn to continually devote ourselves to prayer and experience the blessing of God's revival.

E. The Challenge of the Church Today.

"These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer" (Acts 1:14).

"And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching... and to prayer" (Acts 2:42).

"They lifted their voices to God with one accord" (Acts 4:24).

"Prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God" (Acts 12:5).


1. The challenge of the church today is continual devotion to prayer unto God with one mind and heart until the church is revived.


2. We are to call unto the Lord, refusing to give ourselves rest until the fresh fire of the Spirit sets our hearts ablaze to love God with all our being, becoming all that God wants us to be, and the fresh wind of the Spirit of God blows through the nations in advancing the work of the kingdom of God.


In conclusion we quote R. A. Torrey:

"Doubtless one of the great secrets of the unsatisfactoriness and superficiality and unreality of many of our modern so-called revivals is that more dependence is put upon man's machinery than upon God's power, sought and obtained by earnest, persistent, believing prayer. We live in a day characterized by the multiplication of man's machinery and the diminution of God's power. The great cry of our day is work, work, work, new organizations, new methods, new machinery; the great need of our day is prayer. It was a master stroke of the devil when he got the church so generally to lay aside this mighty weapon of prayer. The devil is perfectly willing that the church should multiply its organizations and deftly contrive machinery for the conquest of the world for Christ if it will only give up prayer... It is not necessary that the whole church get to praying to begin with. Great revivals always begin first in the hearts of a few men and women whom God arouses by His Spirit to believe Him as a living God, as a God who answers prayer, and upon whose hearts He lays a burden from which no rest can be found except in importunate crying unto God."


God Bless You.