In recent years, we have seen prayers for revival answered. Revival has come to places such as Toronto, Pensacola, Fla., and Smithton, Mo., and people have come from around the world to soak in God's blessing. Names such as Benny Hinn and Rodney Howard-Browne conjure images of people praying, repenting and recommitting their lives to Christ. These men and others have introduced thousands to Christ and have opened the door of God's power and healing.
Now, I think God is sending a different kind of revival as well--one that is rooted in the local church.
Since that time, those churches have been losing influence and have been replaced with churches that believe in being born again and have a high view of Christ's role and Scripture. Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill.; Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif.; Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, La.; Phoenix First Assembly of God; Second Baptist of Houston and others have set the tone for strong churches in recent decades.
In these churches and thousands of others similar to them, multitudes of people are coming on a regular basis for prayer, rejoicing, repenting and recommitting. This is revival, and it has come to Main Street, USA. Through these churches, entire communities have been significantly impacted.
Too often, we think we know what revival is supposed to look like. But to assume that the 21st-century revival might look like the 19th- or 20th-century revivals might cause us to miss the miracle. The thousands of churches across the United States that are springing up and gaining influence are in continuous revival. Communication of the gospel goes forward with power, miracles happen, and people are transformed and discipled.
Our mental image of revival has to broaden to include life-giving churches that are steadily growing through conversion and making a lasting impact on their communities. When we think of revival, we can't just think of big arenas or weeklong conferences with famous speakers--we should also think of local churches experiencing a powerful infusion of the life of God.
Fifty years ago, people would travel across the country to have Oral Roberts pray for their healing. Now, most don't need to drive more than 20 miles to find someone who will pray for them in power. Seven years ago, people were willing to fly around the world to go to Toronto to receive soaking prayer. Today, most charismatic churches know how to minister to people by soaking them in prayer.
Revival is here, in good local churches with competent pastors and people coming every week to pray, rejoice, repent and recommit to Christ. This kind of revival will stay and bear fruit for years to come.
Simply put, we don't need to drive across the country to find revival. We just need to go to church this Sunday.