Interestingly, in a 1947 Wall Street Journal article a writer made this observation:
What America needs more than railway extension, western irrigation, a low tariff, a bigger cotton crop, and larger wheat crop is a revival of religion. The kind that father and mother used to have. A religion that counted it good business to take time for family worship each morning right in the middle of the wheat harvest.
In short, according to this writer (who wrote 65 years ago), what America needs most is a revival of religion—a religion that is based on the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is revival? Well, Brian H. Edwards in his book, Revival: A People Saturated With God, gives what I think is a comprehensive definition of revival:
A true Holy Spirit revival is a remarkable increase in the spiritual life of a larger number of God’s people, accompanied by an awesome awareness of the presence of God, intensity of prayer and praise, a deep conviction of sin with a passionate longing for holiness and unusual effectiveness in evangelism, leading to the salvation of many unbelievers.
Note that revival can only be experienced by believers—by those who have been made alive by the Holy Spirit through the gospel of Christ. An unbeliever—a spiritually dead person cannot be revived; he must first be born again. In an unbeliever there is no life to revive. He is dead spiritually; and therefore, he must first be regenerated, or made alive by the Holy Spirit through the gospel. Yet, remember also that God is pleased to use the revival of His people to bring many sinners to true repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Revival is ultimately the work of the sovereign God, not primarily for the good of His people, but for His own glory.
Here’s a short series on revival I preached in our church:
I fully agree with what Vance Havner (1901-1986) said in his book—The Secret of Christian Joy—published in 1938: “The greatest need of America is an old-fashioned, heaven-born, God-sent revival.”
Let’s pray for revival, not only here in America but also in other parts of the world!