In the early 1970’s revival broke out in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and from there spread to many parts in Western Canada. It was characterized by people getting right with God, agreeing with Him in regard to their sin and passionately repenting before Him. It was humbling to confess sin but oh so freeing and God came down in power and love like I’d never experienced before.
All over the church people were personally meeting with the God of the Bible…Sovereign, righteous and holy….and lives were transformed, families restored and people healed! Oh how my heart aches to see that again! But revival didn’t just happen. For five years prior to that Pastor Bill McLeod met with the deacons of his church every week to pray for personal and corporate revival.
It was a time of seeking God, studying the Word, repenting of sin and asking Him to visit His people again. The way was paved with prayer and although it started out small at first, it very quickly spread like wildfire and fanned out across the country.
Revival can be defined in many ways but Bill McLeod explained it this way, “it has to do with Christians, who are perhaps truly saved and walking with God to some extent but who are more or less dead. In the time of revival when God pours His spirit out upon His people, they come alive. They begin witnessing, living holy lives, become excited about God in a good way again.” As the Holy Spirit convicts people of their spiritual apathy and sin, and if they choose to agree with Him, respond and repent, renewal and an invigorated spiritual life are the rewards.
The cry of my heart for 2017 is that this might be the year that God once again powerfully visits His people both personally and corporately and we come alive in such a way that we are forever changed and significantly impact the world around us for Christ. In Psalm 80:18-19 David called out to the Lord, “Revive us so we can call on your name once more. Turn us to Yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.” Oh, that we too would see God’s mighty hand rest upon us and save us from ourselves! Oh, that this would be the year where our hearts are revived and churches across our city our and land would be forever changed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. As we begin this New Year, would you join me in earnestly praying that God would turn us to Himself and away from our sin? Would we together welcome the Spirit’s conviction, repent and pave the way for God to graciously visit us and revive His people yet once again?
~ Shirley Johnson