Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? – Psalm 85:6
I would define "revival" as a stirring of the hearts and lives of God's people that results not only in repentance from sin and a fresh filling of God's Holy Spirit, but that also overflows to the lost: convicting the lost of their sin and need for a Savior.
It was many years ago now that I read, in fairly rapid succession, three books on the topic of revival. Those books were:
The Puritan Hope by Ian Murray. This book traced what took place among the Puritan (plain Protestant) churches in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries and how the vibrant spirit seen in those churches led to a belief that God was yet going to do a great saving work among the Jewish people.
George Whitefield by Arnold Dalimore. Truly a "life's work" this was/is a massive two-volume biography of one of the greatest evangelists in all of church history. Although he was British, Whitefield's preaching campaigns took him up and down the east coast of the American colonies. This was during the period of The Great Awakening in the first half of the 18th century
Revival by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Although it is common folklore within the church to say something to the effect that "you never see revival that hasn't been preceded by prayer" Lloyd-Jones gives ample proof that that is not the case. God's (Holy) Spirit is like the wind, Jesus said (John 3): coming and going as he wills. Though Lloyd-Jones longed to see a great revival in his day, he died not ever experiencing what so many had experienced before.
So I read these books and around the same time I was hearing a lot of talk about revival: a fresh moving of God's Holy Spirit within the greater church of Jesus Christ. The Brownsville (Florida) Revival was taking place so I traveled to Florida and attended the church to see it for myself. And then I traveled to Battle Creek, Michigan to see what was going on there. What I saw in both places was not "normal" Christianity. Some of it was quite strange. There was also plenty of weeping and repenting of sin mixed in with all of the crazy sort of behaviors. But then that kind of talk and behavior seemed to go away and I stopped hearing about any "coming revival"…until just recently. Indeed, within the last few months I have now heard more and more talk of it. Just this past week I was with a Mennonite bishop and he said, "I sense that God is up to something…I can feel it…there is a different spirit that is coming over the churches."
Who knows? The only thing I do know is that, like D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, should God do something great by His Spirit in our age, I don't want to be on the outside looking in. I want to be in the heart of it. And I sincerely hope you have the same attitude. Are you ready for it? Are you ready for Him?