Why isn't there as much interest in revival among Christians today compared to former years? I posed that question to Tim Keller and Nancy Leigh DeMoss, each of whom has been inspired by reading about past revivals to aspire for such an awakening in our day.
We all agree there isn't a lot of talk about the revival stories, a problem I've experienced and tried to address with John Woodbridge in A God-Sized Vision. Keller notes with appreciation the recent interest in evangelism but notes that revival leads to an ingathering of new believers. "The best way to reach people is to show them something gorgeous here," he says.
Reformed Christians rightly emphasize the need for doctrinal reformation. Indeed, revival does not come to apostate churches. But it's possible to focus so much on our efforts to reform church doctrine that we don't bother to ask God to work in extraordinary ways. We neglect this privilege of prayerful, faith-expanding hope to our spiritual detriment.
Familiarizing yourself with God's mighty works of the past is a good place to begin tuning your heart to pray for awakening today. Keller notes how he has visited the place where a prayer meeting revival broke out in New York City in 1857. DeMoss finds encouragement in Isaiah 64:5, which says, "You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways."
Join us in asking God to revive his church again!
Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. He is the author of of Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church, Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists, and co-author with John Woodbridge of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He earned an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He previously worked as an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine, co-edited Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, and co-edits the Cultural Renewal series with Tim Keller. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.