Billy Graham - revival

The Time is Now: A Message from Billy Graham on the Need for Spiritual Revival

1 December 2022

4.3 MINS

Billy Graham was a man who felt the hand of God and the power of the Holy Spirit mightily. He had a deep awareness of the continual and pressing need for the Church to submit to Christ’s Lordship in order to experience spiritual revival.

In preparation for a research project, I recently finished reading The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power in Your Life by the late Southern Baptist evangelist, Billy Graham. In the book, Graham details his own understanding of the crucial role that the third Person of the Trinity plays — or ought to play — in every believer’s life.

The final chapter is entitled “The Need of the Hour”, and as I read it, I was struck by the prescience of Graham’s heartfelt message.

Written in 1988, these words may just as well have been penned yesterday — they are a prophetic reminder of the need for corporate revival and the role that ongoing personal surrender to the power, presence and work of the Holy Spirit should play in the normal Christian life.

Even three and a half decades ago, Graham could see the heartbreaking but unavoidable trajectory of human rebellion against God — the rise of secularism, moral decay and perverted sinfulness. Moreover, he recognised that the only hope for this broken world — even at the social level — was the touch of “Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, and Spirit-empowered” believers.

This chapter also contains a grave warning against the kind of Christianity that is powerless, “defeated” and “joyless”. Graham calls on Christians to seek “genuine spiritual renewal” in their own lives. He urges them to fervently study God’s Word, spend time in prayer, win souls for Christ and invest in the kingdom financially — now is the time to do so.

But ultimately, all of this kingdom work must be undergirded by a consecrated life — one surrendered fully to the agenda of the Holy Spirit.

The Need for Spiritual Revival

Billy Graham recognised the “desperate need” for a spiritual revival — even going so far as to call it the “only hope” for humanity’s survival. He was clearly frustrated by the silence and powerlessness of Christians amidst the overwhelming “tides of secularism”. We see these same “tides” today — in the 21st Century — and many Christians are as silent and powerless as they have ever been.

Graham argues that this kind of ineffectiveness is not typical for the Christian — at least, according to the New Testament pattern. The normal Christian life is one of Spirit power that leads to effectiveness in our life and ministry. Graham pointed to Matthew 5:13–14 and Philippians 2:15 as evidence that Christians should be 1) “keeping a decaying world from further corruption”, 2) “illuminating the darkness caused by sin” and 3) providing “guidance” to a lost world.

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or laboured in vain.”
(Philippians 2:14–16 NKJV)

Graham seems exasperated that Christians are not functioning — as “salt” and “light” — as they should be. “Why are we not doing much more to bring the kingdom of God to the hearts and lives of humanity?” he asks.

He laments the fact that so few have been “touched by God, and are in turn touching the lives of others for Christ”:

“… every instance of that, there are many more Christians who are living defeated, joyless lives. These people have no sense of victory over sin or effectiveness in witnessing. They have little impact on those around them for the sake of the gospel.”

While we can become distracted by our world’s desperate need for spiritual awakening, Graham argues that the “greatest need” in our churches is to feel the “touch of the Holy Spirit” — to bring “true ‘revival’ and ‘renewal’ to the lives of countless Christians”. It is only when God’s people are transformed that the world can be reached.

Just as Ezekiel saw dark days (Ezekiel 37), Graham believed that we again are seeing Satan’s forces “gathering for a colossal assault on the work of God in the world”. However, as Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones in the wilderness reminds us, God can still bring life to His people — the Holy Spirit can “stem the tide of evil and reverse the trend”.

Graham comments:

“Our world needs to be touched by Christians who are Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, and Spirit-empowered. Are you that kind of Christian? Or is there in your own life the need for a new touch of the Spirit? Do you stand in need of genuine spiritual renewal within your own life? If so, know that God the Holy Spirit wants to bring that renewal to you right now.”

Graham insists that the responsibility for the depth of the darkness in the world can be traced back to lifeless Christians who fail to fulfil their mandate as salt and light.

The Time is Now

Billy Graham finishes his message on the need for spiritual revival with a word on its urgency. Just as Dr Samuel Johnson wore a watch upon which John 9:4 (“The Night Cometh”) was engraved, so Christians ought to continually remember “how short is our opportunity to witness for Christ and live for Him”.

“It is later than you think,” was the cryptic message once written on a sundial. According to Graham, Christians have their own sundial: “From Genesis to Revelation it bears its warning, ‘It is later than you think.’”


“It is already the hour for you to be awakened from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:11–12)

“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.” (2 Peter 3:11-14)

“Night is coming, when no man can work.” (John 9:4)


Quotes are from Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power in Your Life, pp. 273-276.
Photo by 卡晨/Unsplash.

We need your help. The continued existence of the Daily Declaration depends on the generosity of readers like you. Donate now. The Daily Declaration is committed to keeping our site free of advertising so we can stay independent and continue to stand for the truth.

Fake news and censorship make the work of the Canberra Declaration and our Christian news site the Daily Declaration more important than ever. Take a stand for family, faith, freedom, life, and truth. Support us as we shine a light in the darkness. Donate now.


  1. Leonie Robson 1 December 2022 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Thanks Cody.
    Brilliant. So appreciated the Billy Graham quotes.
    Time to wake from our slumber.
    The sirens are sounding, but too many want to roll over and go back to sleep.

  2. Stephen Lewin 1 December 2022 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    to be revived and be constantly quickenedby Holy Spirit is great need of Church ..thanks Cody forbrilliant article

  3. Kaylene Emery 1 December 2022 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    It was your work that introduced me to Billy G. Yes I know – where have I been ?
    He was as human as the rest of us yet sets us a fine example of living as follows of Jesus Christ.

    • Cody Mitchell 2 December 2022 at 9:31 am - Reply

      Certainly, he was used mightily by God! Thanks, Kaylene!

  4. Warwick Marsh 2 December 2022 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    Totally brilliant article Cody!!!!!! As you say Billy’s words are indeed timeless and very biblical.

  5. Warwick Marsh 3 December 2022 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Just love Billy Graham. My two heroes for the twentieth century are Billy Graham and Mother
    Teresa Soli deo Gloria!

Leave A Comment

Recent Articles:

Use your voice today to protect

Faith · Family · Freedom · Life



The Daily Declaration is an Australian Christian news site dedicated to providing a voice for Christian values in the public square. Our vision is to see the revitalisation of our Judeo-Christian values for the common good. We are non-profit, independent, crowdfunded, and provide Christian news for a growing audience across Australia, Asia, and the South Pacific. The opinions of our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of The Daily Declaration. Read More.