I love studying what God has done in the past. But I love watching Him work in the present a whole lot more! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything resembling revival in America. While God is moving in various revival movements across the third world, it has been pretty barren in America.

Until now.

In the last several months, many of us are seeing signs of a fresh desperation beginning in God’s people, a fresh desire to see revival again, and now even a movement across a city!

Wave After Wave of People, Broken Before the Lord

It was a humbling honor and incredible joy to be a part of the first four days of this movement in East Tennessee. But what is even more wonderful is that they really didn’t need me! It has now continued more than ten days after I left. These people have prayed so deeply for God to move, I don’t think anything could have stopped it!

Now, here is something really wonderful. The pastor planned the services to coincide with the anniversary of the Asbury movement and the Brownwood movement! And this CBN article that pointed that out was a complete surprise to us—and it came out on the eve of the 25th anniversary chapel remembering the Brownwood revival!

The service today at Howard Payne was a little surreal for me. As I preached, I stood in the same spot where Henry Blackaby preached 25 years ago, and where a student I will call Jay confessed how far he was from God, and lay on his face weeping, resulting in a 4-hour service that launched the Howard Payne revival. The reason I cannot use Jay’s real name is that he is now a missionary in the Middle East where God is moving in awakening like never seen before in history!

As I preached, I looked at so many faces who had come to the campus that day to be a part of something of a reunion of people who experienced the powerful move of God 25 years ago and are still hungry for more. Before and after, we heard so many stories that left us in tears of joy. Those that were saved 25 years ago, marriages that were healed, lives still changed to this day.

But the best part was finding out that a whole new generation of students there has been crying out for revival again! The night before the service, I went to the chapel to prayer walk, having no idea that the worship band was rehearsing. We stood together at the spot where revival broke out 25 years ago and prayed for God to move again.

At the end of the service, hundreds of students demonstrated their decision to passionately seek God for revival until He brings it.

People from all over the nation and even beyond have been calling, texting, emailing, and posting about their growing prayer commitment to see God revive our land. Some prayed all night for what God would do at Howard Payne, even though they could not be there themselves.

Does all this really matter? Is it really so important to see revival in America, or is that an outdated, irrelevant term now?

Well, I guess it depends on how we define revival. If it is more services with just a little more emotion, it’s not too important. If it’s just a study of history, that’s … well … history. If it internalizes us more, causes us to stay within our walls and oppose rather than love the lost, then it doesn’t matter much.

But here is a new definition of revival, from the book Longing for Revival, that I really like:

“Revival is a season of breakthroughs in word, deed and power, that ushers in a new normal of Kingdom experience and fruitfulness.”

Now THAT? That matters. That’s what we need. That’s all we need. And we may not be that far away.

Pray for Rogersville, TN. Pray for Howard Payne University. Pray for your own city. For your church. And most importantly, pray Psalm 85:6 personally for your own life: Lord, will You not revive ME again, that your people may rejoice in You?

Revival in OUR day? Why not? Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever, still loves His church. He still moves and brings new life.

I have asked Him lately, “Lord, why has revival been so rare in recent decades in America?”

I hear the whisper of the Lord say to me, “My people have exactly what they want. And when they want more, they will have it.”

What do YOU want? More of what we have in the divisive, arrogant, declining religion we call the church in America?

Or more of Him?

The answer each of us gives to that question will, I believe, determine if we see revival in our day.

John Avant
President, Life Action