How to Prepare for a Revival:
After years of planning and preaching revival meetings I have learned a few things. The first thing I have learned is that a revival meeting isn’t necessarily a revival-it is often times only a meeting. In fact, I am thoroughly convinced that only a handful of people in our generation have experienced true, ground shaking, sin breaking, heart piercing, life changing revival. True revival doesn’t end at the final amen of the week. In fact, when true revival comes, that is only the beginning.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in meetings. I am interested in seeing a God glorifying, church transforming revival that leads to a spiritual awakening of even the most hard hearted within the community. Keep in mind, neither you nor I can bring about revival. Only God can do that. But, we can prepare ourselves, and the church, and petition our almighty God for such a revival within the church and spiritual awakening in the community. If you are planning a revival meeting here are my suggestions to help prepare your church for true revival.
Prepare by Preaching:
Naturally you need to plan the when’s, the where’s, the who’s and things such as this. But that’s the easy part. Once those tasks are accomplished you as the pastor need to plan on preparing the church for revival; plan on preaching, plan on promoting, plan on praying, and plan on seeking the favor of God. The church will only be as enthusiastic about revival as the one behind the pulpit and will only be as prepared as the pastor prepares them and as they pray and trust in God to be.
Start off by preaching a series of messages that will prepare the church for the up coming revival. Preach on getting spiritually prepared, the need for prayer and fasting, the need for seeking God, the need to go and tell others, the need for revival in and of itself, among other things the Lord may lead you to preach on in this time of preparation as you seek His direction. Through the preaching and the promises of God’s word build the church up for an anticipation and expectation of revival.
I firmly believe that we aren’t seeing revival in our day because the people of God are not hungry for it. They aren’t hungry for it because they don’t see the true need for it. Therefore, the pastor should, through the Word of God, convince the congregation that they truly are in need, and that God can, and will, bring about revival if we are truly hungry for Him and sincerely seek Him. Through the proper preparation of preaching the truths of God’s word, revival should be desired, prayed for, and expected within the congregation prior to the actual revival meeting.
Prepare by Promoting:
Let everyone, and I mean everyone, know you are having a revival. There are countless ways to get the word out. As a pastor, you already have too much on your plate. For this reason, I highly recommend forming a promotions committee/team. They can make posters, purchase yard signs and banners, arrange advertisement, organize community canvassing and form a plan to get the whole church involved in a variety of ways.
For churches that can afford it, radio, television, news paper, and social media advertisements are a good means of promotions. However, I have found over the years that word of mouth and personal invitations are always the best means of getting folks to come. We have a whole host of ways to invite people these days. I know social media has it’s downsides but it has proven to be a great resource for promotions as well.
Be sure to get your Sunday School classes, R/A’s, G/A’s, Awana’s, and youth groups involved. Find some innovative ways to get the whole church plugged into promotions and personal invitations. This is not only a good way to invite people to your revival services, it will also unite the church in its anticipation for the revival. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have revival start prior to the evangelistic team showing up?
Prepare by Prayer:
We don’t simply want a house full of people-we wan’t the power of God. No revival has ever occurred apart from prayer. Prayer is fundamentally the most important aspect of revival. In truth, it only takes one or two to seek the face of God for revival. However, prayer doesn’t just petition God for revival, it also prepares the prayer warrior for it. The sad reality is the majority of Christians will never seek God for revival. However, I am thoroughly convinced if we can gather the church to pray we will have it.
I have preached revivals where droves of sinners were saved and a multitude of church members were moved to the alter in prayer and repentance. I have preached the same sermons with the same personal preparation in other churches where the only one’s who moved were the ushers passing the plate. What was the difference? The churches preparation for revival by prayer. When I know a church is prayed up, I know the fire will fall. God will always honor His people’s prayers. Just look at God’s promise of II Chronicle 7:14. In essence God said if you do your part, I will do my part and “I will hear from heaven.” Strongly emphasize to your church how important praying for revival is and get them on their face before a holy God praying. Pray and believe that God will rise up prayer warriors.
Plan a minimum of a month in advance for the church to start corporately praying for revival. Set aside a time in the week where praying for the revival will be the only focus. Train a prayer team consisting of mature Christians how to pray through the revival services by praying through the points of the messages that God would pierce the churches heart with His truths and bring repentance to the sinners. Train them how to pray through the time of invitation for the Holy Spirit to have His way. As an evangelist, I will always recommend a time to be set aside everyday for the pastor and the revival team to pray together. Invite the whole church to come 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or an hour prior to the revival to come in and pray with and for the revival team as well as the revival meeting itself.
Prepare by Petitioning God’s Favor:
I know many churches have spring and fall revivals because that’s what they do and that’s what they’ve always done because that’s what the church expects. If you are having a revival because you want to fill a spot on the calendar-don’t expect one. It probably won’t happen. Or, if you want a revival because you believe God needs to come straighten your church folks out over some issues, or if you are wanting a revival to fill more pews, don’t expect it. Why? Because none of those things honor God and none of those things are seeking Him.
When true revival comes it is messy, ugly, painful, and sometimes humiliating. But, the end result is always beautiful and glorifying to the Lord. What is revival? Revival is when God shows up, and God takes over. It is when God has His way in our personal lives, our churches, and our community. So, what/who do we want for revival? God! God, we want You, God, we need you, God, we are not sufficient without You, dear Jesus, we can do nothing apart from You.
Again, we can’t bring about revival. The best churches, the best prayer warriors, the best planners, the best musicians, nor the best preachers can bring about revival. Only God can. But we can, and we should, seek His face and His favor, and only His face and His favor, and, when He chooses to bring about revival He will do what He sees fit to do. He is God after all. Remember, He is a rewarder of those who seek Him! (Hebrews 11:6)
I also believe in the power of praying through God’s word. How better do we know His will? In most of my revivals, I preach through the principles of II Chronicles 7:14, therefore, I give this suggested prayer guide of praying through II Chronicles 7:14.
Pray through II Chronicles 7:14
For yourself and for the church
“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
- Ask God to revive yourself and His people
- Ask God to rise up workers called by His name especially evangelists and teachers.
- Ask Him to strengthen, anoint, embolden, and encourage those who are working.
- Ask God to humble yourself and the church to trust only in His power and live in obedience.
- Ask God to give yourself and the church a strong burden to pray for revival in the church and salvation to the community. Ask Him to rise up prayer warriors.
- Ask God to give yourself and the church a strong desire and longing for Him; that we would seek His face. Pray the the church would only be satisfied with the power and presence of God.
- Ask God to bless the church with His presence, Sunday School, prayer services, and the revival meetings. “Do not hide Your face from Your servant.” Psalm 69:17
- Ask God to reveal any sin within yourself or the church and that the church would turn from any wicked ways.
- Ask God to convict the church of righteousness that the whole congregation would live holy before Him.
- Ask God to hear from heaven and send revival upon our church.
- Ask God to forgive yours and the churches sin, then cleanse, and restore to righteousness to the church, and nation.
- Ask God to heal our land and send a mighty spiritual awakening into your community where many will be saved. Ask that it would spread near and far.