Studying patterns in spiritual awakenings, both personal ones and collective ones. I am looking at patterns of revival in the Church, but also want to explore these patterns in cultural movements as well. They are, of course, related, as the spiritual realm effects and in many ways dictates change in the other realms. When we have a personal revival of some kind, it changes every other area of our lives as well, sometimes drastically!
Looking at these patterns, I see several things so far: starts with thirst or hunger, a dry space spiritually speaking; then prayer, and, in prayer, conviction of one’s own brokenness and then collectively (so moves out into a more priestly prayer); tarrying or waiting on God’s Power to come; then often, someone or some figure comes and activates or fire- starts the flow, if that makes sense. There is often some truth restored at this point, or some new emphasis from the Word; then God’s immanence or manifest power comes and dwells; then it both attracts and flows out and distributes the spiritual seeds given–there are often new means of distribution invented at this point in a revival; new means of communication are invented from the contagion and excitement of this new influx of Life!
Revivals or periods of refreshing are also often to prepare for intense things about to happen. In America, for example, The first Great Awakening was just before the American Revolution; the second, just before the abolition movement to end slavery; the Azusa street revival, just before the huge earthquake of 1906; the Jesus People movement just before Civil rights movement and so on…So often revival especially of the Church is in preparation for a general and major cultural movement.
Revivals also often start small-in prayer meetings, house groups etc; they also often are cross cultural, cross generational, cross race and gender. The church then becomes as it is called, a house of prayer for all nations. This is what I call the Nazareth principle. God likes to start big things from small things.
Then there is a recovery of the Word. This I would call the Ezra principle (from when the Jews returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, and the Torah was rediscovered, read out loud, and taught to the people again). The word is rediscovered, interpreted afresh, and a new understanding and vivacity in the word comes. People get hungry to know the living God through the word–fresh teachings abound, or fresh emphasis. Truths are restored or brushed off.
There are also a lot of typically negative steps in the maturation processes of revivals. Legalism is one. Overemphasis of one truth to the exclusion of others etc. But I will not focus on that in this article. If the original movement of God gets idolized in any way, or if men take the credit for it, this spring will often dry up. God makes clear that it is Him not us doing the reviving!
Anyways, having fun studying how God has historically refreshed and revitalized His People. I think it applies to our personal lives as well. Learning ways we can welcome His refreshing is important to continuing to grow into the Fullness of The Head, which we were really commanded to do! Press on into the life of the Spirit, until we have all reached the exact stature of His Identity in and for us. It is also vital that we prepare for these personal periods of revival, so they may equip and prepare us for the intensity of the things to come.