In this section we have provided a selection of books that are not records of historic revivals but which will be most helpful to those who are seeking God for a fresh outpouring of God in their ministries today.
The section on prayer is obviously very important, as Dr A. T. Pierson once said, 'There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.' Let me recount what God has done through concerted, united, sustained prayer.'
An understanding of the theology of revival and the necessary elements that invoke and prepare for revival is of immense value. Whether the reflections expressed here are from Calvinists (J. Edwards) or Arminians (C. Finney), their observations provide a healthy framework drawn from historical and theological analysis by those who experienced revival in their ministries.
We have added some sermons by revivalists of former days to help capture some of the Biblical and Gospel-centred themes that were employed during revival times. The depravity of man's condition, justification by faith and the substutionary death of Christ were always presented centre-stage by revival preachers.
There are modern sermons on revival themes in the Leadership Resources section of this website.
A.J. Gordon (1836-1895) came to prominence in the United States as the pastor of Clarendon Street Baptist Church in Boston for over 25 years. Under Gordon's leadership this church was described as "one of the most spiritual and aggressive in America". He became a favourite speaker in Dwight L. Moody's Northfield conventions and was a close friend of other famous evangelicals like A.B. Simpson, A.T. Pierson and R.A. Torrey.
He was a prolific writer but is most remembered for this book, The Ministry of Healing, which has been a much loved text book on the subject for more than a century
This booklet was penned in 1816 by Menzies Rainer, the Rector of an Episcopal Church and well-known Universalist, as a response to the powerful Awakening that began around 1800 and continued for several years.
Clearly Mr Rainer does not agree with revivals nor revivalists and sets out to discredit them by appeals to Ecclesiastical decorum, respectful order and the creeds and doctrines of the true (Episcopal) church. He despises non-ordained preachers and considers even extempore prayer an offence to the gospel. Revivals attract the impressionable young, the undiscerning and the gullible, he claims. He acknowledges that ‘that there are seldom, if ever, any extraordinary awakenings, or religions stirs, in the Episcopal church’ but continues to exalt the doctrines and practices of a dead orthodoxy which bears no fruit.
This work is included in the Revival Library only as a prime example of orthodox attempts to bring into disrepute God’s work and God’s labourers.
The Scotsman, Horatius Bonar, had a passionate heart for revival and was a friend and supporter of several revivalists, He was brother to the more well-known Andrew Bonar, and with him defended D. L. Moody's evangelistic ministry in Scotland.
He authored a couple of excellent revival works, one including over a hundred biographical sketches and the other an addendum to Rev. John Gillies' 'Historical Collections...' bringing it up to date. He was a powerful soul-winner and is well qualified to pen this brief, but illuminating study of the character of true revivalists.
E.M. Bounds has been most well-known as an extraordinary writer on the subject of prayer.
But his passion did not only relate to prayer for his greatest burden was Revival.
In this short article printed in the Christian Advocate, Dec. 6 1890 he writes eloquently of his passion to see an authentic outpouring of the Holy Spirit in his day.
It is interesting that his ministry immediately preceded the amazing series of revivals that were experienced across the world in the early twentieth century.
Jonathan Edwards wrote two books on discerning true and counterfeit spiritual experiences. The earlier was "Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England," and the second, a much fuller work, was entitled "A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections" and was published in 1746.
Edwards recognised that true revivals are usually accompanied by human errors and carnal emotions. In this book he deals exhaustively with twelve things which are not certain signs of a true work of God. Then he deals with twelve things which are most certainly evidence of 'truly gracious and holy affections'.
This work is of immense value today to both those who decry the expression of any emotions in Christian experience, as well as those who equate emotional expressions as the only evidence of true spirituality.
The 'Distinguishing Marks, ' published in 1741, was based on a sermon Jonathan Edwards preached in Boston during the Great Awakening which spread through New England and the British Isles.
In it, he deals firstly, with nine revival characteristics which some were using to discredit the true work of God. One by one, he argues that these phenomena, whether good or bad, should not be employed to discredit an authentic move of the Spirit. In the second part he deals with five revival characteristics which are to be used to verify a true revival; namely, the exaltation of Jesus Christ, the overcoming of Satan's kingdom, a love of the Scriptures, people are convinced of the truth of the Gospel and there is an evident and expressed love to God and man.
The name of Charles Finney is legendary amongst students of Revival.
After experiencing a thorough Christian conversion he recieved a powerful infilling of the Holy Spirit and subsequently became an unusually gifted itinerant evangelist.
It is claimed (not by himself) that over half a million people came to Christ through his ministry. His ministry was largely conducted in local revival campaigns in New York State in the years of 1824-1832. Revival phenomena like conviction of sin, crying out to God, and prostrations frequently accompanied his labours.
First published in 1874 this excellent volume presents a complete and very inspiring overview of Revival history and Revival dynamics.
The writer begins by explaining what Revival is and then gives a brilliant historical survey of Revival occurrences. With unrelenting zeal for God he proceeds to systematically deal with every conceivable Revival-related issue, covering such themes as Objections, Evangelists, Children, Hindrances, Preaching, Prayer, Handling Inquirers and Training Converts.
Each chapter is copiously illustrated with stories and quotes from a vast host of Revival resources, as the writer carries the reader through to a place of personal decision to stand within the ranks of history’s Revivalists. A great book!
Andrew Murray exercised a powerful ministry in South Africa in the latter decades of the 19th century.
This book, along with all his writings, conveys Murray’s deep spirituality, his knowledge of the Word of God and his confidence that obedience to it guarantees divine blessing.
He was no stranger to Revival. Here’s how one writer describes his early ministry:
“On the ensuing Whit Sunday, May 27, the Rev. Andrew Murray, late of Bloemfontein, was inducted to the pastorate of Worcester. He commenced his ministry on the afternoon of the same day with a sermon on “The Ministration of the Spirit.”
He was then thirty-two years of age, and his preaching was with great power: according to the testimony of one who heard him, it was as though one of the prophets of old had risen from the dead. A movement among the dry bones commenced at once, but when the noise of the shaking grew loud…”
This book was written to encourage and stimulate ministers and workers in every branch of the Christian Church, and with the hope of stirring them up to pray for a world-wide revival. It was written at a time when many of God's people were greatly exercised about the work of revivals and for a national and universal outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
"One special object has been to point out the different ministries by which God in His good pleasure has seen fit on many occasions to make channels of blessing both to the Church and the world. It was not the writer's intention to deal with every topic in connection with this subject, but rather to show how revivals have been promoted. Also to give a record of spiritual awakenings which have taken place in the past history of the Church, and to supply some reminiscences of revivals which the writer has been privileged to take part in during the last thirty odd years in many different parts of the country. And should the following chapters of this work prove instrumental in God's hands in helping to bring about a world-wide revival, or in strengthening the faith of any Christian workers or stirring them up to pray, to God shall be ascribed all the glory." THOMAS PAYNE. (From the original preface)
The name of Jessie Penn-Lewis often occurs in works related to the Welsh revival of 1904, not surprisingly, as she was a major chronicler of the movement.
She wrote an article each week in the "The Life of Faith," tracing the course of the spiritual movement first throughout Wales, and then through many lands and by many individuals.
She contributed to a number of periodicals and produced her own history of the revival called 'The Awakening in Wales - and Some of its Hidden Springs.'
She is also well known for her extreme caution regarding what she perceived to be possible demonic intrusions in the developing Pentecostal work of her day, and her later involvement with Evan Roberts.
Jonathan Goforth’s words from the book’s ‘Foreword’ well describe the immense value and effect of this book. “Mr. Smith’s book, ‘The Revival We Need,’ for its size, is the most powerful plea for revival I have ever read. He has truly been led by the Spirit of God in preparing it. To his emphasis for the need of a Holy Spirit revival I can give the heartiest amen. What I saw of revival in Korea and in China is in fullest accord with the revival called for in this book.
'Arthur Wallis was a great Christian statesman whose work on Revival, 'In The Day Of Thy Power,' was, and still is, the most insightful and helpful work on the Biblical principles and dynamics of Revival ever written.
I was just a young convert when I picked up a second-hand copy of the book, originally published in 1956. I was immediately overwhelmed with a deep desire to seek God for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. That desire grew through many years of missionary, evangelistic and pastoral work and has spurred me on to pray and prepare God's people for the best that is yet to come.
I am personally indebted to Arthur and his work and treasure memories of my personal friendship with this man of God' - The Librarian.
Sprague's experience of genuine revivals, his faithfulness to Biblical theology and his balanced view, eminently fitted him to write what Dr Lloyd-Jones describes as "The outstanding classic on this vital and urgently important matter".
The chapters cover such themes as The Nature of a Revival, Obstacles to Revivals, Divine Agency in Revivals, General Means of Producing and Promoting Revivals, Treatment due to Awakened Sinners, Evils to be Avoided in connection with Revivals, etc.
There is also a large and excellent Appendix comprising letters on revivals by various North American evangelical leaders of the last century. This reprint is reproduced from the personal copy of Charles Simeon, who wrote on the flyleaf: "A most valuable book. I recommend my Executor to keep it, as there are few, if any, others in this kingdom. I love the good sense of Dr Sprague."
The Necessity of Prayer and other books by E.M. Bounds are unfailing wells for a lifetime of spiritual water-drawing.
His wise counsel on prayer are words that originated on the anvil of experience. His thoughts are inspiring, dynamic, and forthright. Probably no one has ever written more convincingly on the subject of prayer than E.M. Bounds.
"The story of prayer is the story of great achievements. Prayer is a wonderful power placed by Almighty God in the hands of His saints, which may be used to accomplish great purposes and to achieve unusual results.
Prayer reaches to everything, takes in all things great and small which are promised by God to the children of men. The only limits to prayer are the promises of God and His ability to fulfill those promises."
Power through Prayer has been called "one of the truly great masterpieces on the theme of prayer."
The term classic can appropriately be applied to this outstanding book.
In twenty provocative and inspiring chapters, each prefaced with quotations from spiritual giants, Edward M. Bounds stresses the imperative of vital prayer in the life of a pastor.
Edwards wrote this book in 1746 after seeing two remarkable movements of the Spirit of God, one during 1734-35 and the other in 1740-42.
He was convinced that Christian prayers for revival released the power of God's Spirit and resulted in converts and would bring worldwide revival.
In 1946-1947 a great movement of fasting and prayer was spawned, first in America and then the rest of the world. Franklin Hall’s book ‘Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer’ was the spark that ignited the hearts of thousands to go on extended fasts, to seek God for revival and the restoration of spiritual gifts to the church . Many went on 40-day fasts.
In 1947-1952 the great healing revival broke out through the ministries of William Branham, Oral Roberts, T. L. Osborne and a host of others who began to experience gifts of the Holy Spirit. They began to see extraordinary miracles in their ministries and thousands were converted and healed. Most of these itinerant evangelists followed Hall’s practice of fasting.
Dr J. Edwin Orr was a leading scholar of revivals who published detailed books about evangelical awakenings.
His research discovered major spiritual awakenings about every fifty years following the great awakening from the mid-eighteenth century in which John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards featured prominently.
'I have read with care and no little profit, this new work on The Power of Intensified Prayer. There is the pulse of life in it, and no serious soul can read it without a spiritual impulse to seek a deeper life of prayer.
It contains some of the most powerful illustrations on the prayer-life I have ever read...'
Robert Young, 1796 – 1865, was a Methodist minister who wrote another book reproduced by the Revival Library entitled ‘Showers of Blessing.’ Obviously he was a friend of revival, and, as this book reveals, seasons of revival power attended his ministry.