Kidder’s Column

How To Have a Personal Revival

Joseph Kidder, DMin, is professor of Christian ministry and discipleship at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, MI, USA.

Are you desperate to know God better? Have you reached the place where you feel you cannot go on unless God does a new and powerful work in your heart? If so, then personal revival is available for you. God wants to fill you up as much as you desire.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matt. 5:6, NIV). You have to hunger and thirst before you can be filled. When you get a dry mouth, you realize that more than anything else, you want water. Christ made it plain: “When you become hungry and thirsty for Me, then you will be filled.”

What should happen in our lives if we’re going to have personal revival?


The status quo won’t do anymore. We become sick of “as is.” Perhaps you’re a joy-filled Christian, but you still cry out, “Lord, I want more of You!”

Do you feel stuck in the routine of your Christian life? If so, God insists, “I want you to experience growth. I want you to have more. I want you to know Me intimately. I want to be in complete control of your life and draw you closer to Me.”

I want to be discontent and ask God for more.


We will never have a deep knowledge of God until we become obsessed with Him more than anything else. When we rise in the morning, as we go through the day, until we lay our heads on our pillows at night, we look to the Lord and pray, “God, I must know You more because I love You, and I’m desperate for You.”

When we want God more than we want toys, games, positions in society, successful businesses, new cars, or new houses, when we want God with a holy obsession, then He will reveal Himself to us.


To experience true personal revival, we must repent not only of outward sin but of everything that dishonors God in words, thoughts, and actions. When God shines His searchlight into our hearts and shows us the sins we didn’t even know were there, we will see sin like we’ve never seen it before.

When we reach that point of deep repentance and start to plumb the depths of our souls, God begins to open us up. He says, “Here’s a sin, there’s an iniquity, and here’s a transgression.” When we start to confess those sins, God’s Spirit will begin to be poured out on us, and we will feel the refreshing winds of revival.


It’s not easy to seek pardon and restitution, but revival requires it. When Zacchaeus met Jesus, he said, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8, NIV). His repentance led him to seek forgiveness and restoration with others.

When we seek forgiveness from others and work to make wrong things right, God can turn our lives around and send revival.


This is a place of constant prayer. Paul says, “Pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17, NIV). This means determined prayer that doesn’t give up. Jacob was a man who understood this; he wrestled with an angel and wouldn’t quit. He refused to let go until the angel blessed him (Gen. 32:24-32).

Some people pray when it’s convenient, and others pray when they’re in crisis; that kind of prayer doesn’t bring revival. Instead, let us pray, “Lord, renew us, and we’re going to lock horns with You until revival comes.”

But there’s another place—the place of love for the Word of God. Love the Bible, love what’s in it, and let it come alive in you. There’s power in that Book; it’s alive, and it can bring us to life. Study the Bible until its power is real in you. 

Ellen G. White encourages, “When we understand what this book means to us, there will be seen among us a great revival.”1


If we say, “God, I love you” but do not seek to obey Him, He cannot pour out His Spirit upon us. Revival will come when we say with conviction, “Whatever You want, whenever You want, I am going to do it.”

If you want revival, it is available to you. Make sure your heart is right with God. Start praying and obeying His Word. God promises, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.” When He pours out His Spirit on you, nothing will ever be the same again. 

1 Ellen G. White, The Faith I Live By, 345.

S. Joseph Kidder is professor of church growth and leadership at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA.