The need for spiritual revival cannot be overstressed. As stated by Elder Ted Wilson, this is the time for church leaders to call the church to pray for it. But what does revival mean and what is its intended goal? 

1. Revival based on our conversion. Revival implies a prior conversion, that we were once spiritually alive but that we are now slipping toward spiritual death and in need of a revival of our spiritual life. Before our conversion, we were dead in our sins (Eph 2:1), but God through Christ forgave our sins and made us alive (2:5; Col 2:13). As a result, we were introduced to a new life in union with Christ (Rom 6:4; John 15:1-10). This new life reached us through the Spirit and is directly related to the words of Jesus, which are Spirit and life (John 6:63; 2 Cor 3:6). The union of believers with Christ is so deep that the love of God is poured into their hearts, Christ lives in them (Gal 2:20), they live in service to others (1 John 3:14; 2 Cor 13:4), and they are assured that their prayers will be heard (John 15:7, 16, 23; 1 John 5:14).

2. Revival as a return. In their journey believers may get discouraged and slowly weaken their union with Christ. This is called losing one’s first love (Rev 2:4). A change is needed. We must acknowledge our need and return home like the prodigal son (Luke 15:17-19). When the father saw him, he exclaimed, “This son of mine was dead and now has come to life again” (15:24; NASB). Only the love of God revealed in Jesus, through the Spirit, can move us to reestablish union with the Lord. We reach our true destination when, moved by Him, we open the door (Rev 3:14-22). Then, we are once more alive, revived!

3. Revival as a way of life. Revival is the realization that we are about to lose our vital union with Christ, that the influence of the Spirit in our lives has diminished, and that we need to strengthen our spiritual life through study of the Word and through a life of prayer and service to others. This is what the Christian life should always be; if it is not, then we need revival. As we come closer to the Lord the Spirit will empower us to understand the Scriptures and to walk in holiness, moving us to spend quality time in communion with the Lord in prayer asking for the outpouring of the Spirit. The manifestation of the power of the Spirit in our lives is directly related to our interest in spiritual growth and our engagement in the mission of the church. The Spirit is dynamic and therefore His power is not granted to those who are indifferent to God’s mission. As we approach the end of the conflict, the Spirit will come with unprecedented power (the latter rain) in preparation for the divine harvest. We should pray for this event and ask the Spirit to use us today as we share the message. 

Revival is not about emotionalism, nor about miracles, but about a life totally committed to the Lord and nurtured by Him through study of the Scriptures, prayer, receptivity to the power and presence of the Spirit, and witnessing. If in our witnessing a miracle is necessary, the Spirit will do it and miracles will happen in connection with the latter rain. Let us all, together, pray for the revival of primitive godliness among us.

Ángel Manuel Rodríguez is the director of the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. This article has been reprinted, by permission, from Reflections, number 33, January 2011.