by Janet S. Wolff
There isn’t a soul on earth who doesn’t long for revival. Many look for a revival of finances, economy, social justice, resources . . . revival from depression, pain, hurt, and loneliness. Ultimately, it is a revival of the Holy Spirit we all seek. It is that longing deep within us that causes us to desire the overwhelming presence and love of the Holy Spirit. From the time of Moses, God has poured out His Spirit upon His people:
“And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spoke unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. . . . And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them! ” (Numbers 11:25–26, 29)
(Note that two of the men whom the Spirit rested upon were not elders. This encourages us that God does not discriminate—all who come to receive will receive.) These men ran out into the camp revived! They prophesied without reservation or inhibition.
This pattern remains as we go into the upper room in Acts 2:1–2, 4:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
There are common factors in these two occasions as well as in the documentation of outpourings such as at Asuza Street Mission in the early 1900s. Praying fervently for revival on Sunday mornings wasn’t one of them. Let’s look at three of the common factors as we seek together for revival in our own lives, churches, and communities:
1. Prayer & Dwelling. Moses went to the Lord on behalf of the people. Moses was dealing with people crying and complaining about their circumstances. I think we can relate to that in today’s society as well. People are crying out for something to change, when they are actually crying out for a touch from God. Those in the upper room were praying as well. Their Savior had just been killed, and they all believed they would be next! William Seymour prayed and dwelt in the presence of the Lord because of the discouragement he had just experienced losing his church. Seymour took it to the Lord in prayer. Moses took it to the Lord in prayer. The 120 in the upper room took it to the Lord in prayer. Their petitions were not complaints as much as they were asking to be remembered, seen, and loved. They didn’t say they needed stuff, things, or money—they said, “God I need You!”
2. Obedience. God told Moses to gather 70 elders and God would put His Spirit upon them. The 120 had been told to go and wait in the upper room until they were endued with power. Seymour was obedient to the call to go to Los Angeles. In no instance did anyone quit, become embittered, or give up. They continued in obedience despite discouragements and letdowns along the way.
3. No reservations. Have you ever seen fans of a winning team after a Super Bowl? They run into the streets screaming without reservation! Those who were filled with the Spirit were, for that moment in time, unreserved. There is no other way to gain the ineffable union with Christ that we seek unless we let go of everything. After all, what else matters? When you are in the presence of the Holy Spirit, all else ceases to exist, and we have no reservations about what God has for us.
These are some of the crucial foundational steps to a revival. The Holy Spirit is faithful to take over and honor our efforts. The most difficult part of revival is letting go of ourselves and truly desiring only His presence. Revival begins in a heart that is receptive to receive something so bountiful that it overflows into others like a flashflood. The 120 in the upper room were filled to overflowing, and 3,000 people came to the saving knowledge of Christ that day because of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
Will you let the power of the Holy Spirit have full reign and control over your life, your tongue, your mind—everything? If you will let the Holy Spirit revive your heart, let me tell you, it feels almost like being a bystander in wonderment over the things you will see and experience! There is nothing in this universe that can compare to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit—and that He has chosen to dwell in and empower us!
Janet S. Wolff is a Berean School of the Bible student from Lakewood, Washington. For more information about Berean School of the Bible, visit www.globaluniversity.edu/berean