What Is Revival? 2 – The Process

11 September 2023

8.7 MINS

Having now begun our journey of discovery on the subject of revival, it’s time to pause and get an overview of revival in a general sense. And here, I am again grateful that I rediscovered prayer leader David Bryant’s 1996 book, The Hope at Hand: National and World Revival for the Twenty-First Century.

In a section headed “A Pattern with Seven Phases”, he describes:

“… what I see to be seven major phases of every historical revival. Each phase is a gift from God. Each phase intensifies and accelerates the work of God in revival. Each phase, if it’s allowed to do so, will lead to a final experience of full-orbed revival for that particular generation. I believe phase one and two are already in motion today, which creates in us no small anticipation of what is waiting just ahead (phases three through seven) and what its dimensions will be for our generation.”

These are Bryant’s seven phases:

1. Realization. A particular generation of God’s people comes to the realization of their desperate need for revival. There’s a growing expectation that God is ready to give revival, to give so much more of Christ than they have yet experienced. The realization comes through both the preaching of many who see this vision and the convincing pressure of events and circumstances within which the church finds itself. In the end it is all a gift of the Holy Spirit – a “waking up” that has already begun.”

Those men and women at the forefront of the Daily Declaration, along with a number of other like-minded groups around the nation, have that realisation. That’s why there is such a strong focus here on the hope of revival in the light of “the convincing pressure of events and circumstances within which the church finds itself”. So often, they are the subject of the daily articles here.

2. Preparation. Christians begin to persistently pray and prepare for revival. They pray both individually and corporately with a growing consensus of what revival should look like and that revival is near. The prayers are expressed in terms of joyful anticipation but also sober repentance. Above all, ardent requests are made to God to fulfill His promises. Christians also commit themselves to reorder their lives and ministries to be ready to run with the full impact of revival when it comes. Repentance is a primary characteristic of how they pray and prepare.”

What I get from this is a process within the process, and one on which everything else hinges. The order in preparation is pray, repent, reorder. If we don’t get this process right, or we baulk at the cost of honestly confronting our own shortcomings or missteps, or the habits and practices in our lives that God puts His finger on, then we will refuse to reorder in the way God requires, and we will miss out on revival.

Repent and Sacrifice

And what then? When you realise that revival is God’s work for His purpose of populating Heaven, then to baulk at the process if we find the personal cost too great is really doing the enemy’s work to keep people out of Heaven.

In relation to this, David Bryant mentions Samuel Shoemaker, who laboured for spiritual renewal in the mid-twentieth century within the Episcopal Church, and quotes from Shoemaker’s 1960 book, With the Holy Spirit and With Fire:

“It would be difficult to believe that God is not ready to “pour His Spirit upon all flesh”, if only more of us were deeply available to Him. In one sense, the awakening is His business – in another sense, it is very much up to us. For while we cannot bring about the awakening in our own strength, we can hold it back by our own refusals. We know all too well that it is tens of thousands of people just like ourselves… that keep God’s forces in the world running at such minimal strength and at such slow pace.”

Too often, the “refusals” Shoemaker referred to are the product of our own pride, and our reluctance to accept that the direction we’ve taken on various issues was wrong.

So, before we continue (and as I will be covering the issues I believe are a hindrance in a few subsequent articles), we need to be prepared to be humbled through repentance and the resultant willingness to reorder our priorities and devotions. I truly believe that we all, not least myself, need to be prepared for God to put the blowtorch to some of our deeply held views and ideas before we can proceed.

In light of what all of that involves, this beautiful worship song comes to mind when considering the cost of submission:

In the meantime, here are the other five phases of revival.

3. Manifestation. God answers the prayers of His people! He provides a greater revelation of His grace and glory in Jesus Christ. This brings about a corresponding reformation around the doctrines of Christ and His Kingdom, as well as a restoration of devotion in the hearts of God’s people toward the Lord, and a reorientation of the church toward the work of the kingdom and the future into which God is leading us.”

In relation to this phase, I have had a growing sense for a long time that God wants to restore a respect for, and a mature use of, the gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. I believe that there have been theological blockages which are contrary to this happening. In fact, I believe they have been critical in holding back the advance of the Kingdom for a very long time.


In Welcoming a Visitation of the Holy Spirit, Wesley Campbell refers to similar negativity in relation to the revival at Toronto:

“[The] presupposition is that God no longer inspires prophecy, tongues, gifts of healing or various revival phenomena such as falling, shaking, laughing, crying, personal visitations and the like. Because, by [their] own belief system, God no longer initiates these things, yet since they are happening, it is de facto proof that these things are either demonic or at best psychosomatic. [They] will not even objectively look at the facts and consider that this could be God.”

In passing, I’m now inclined to view the renewal at Asbury as being in this third phase. In my article earlier this year, I noted how there was the same kind of criticism as that referred to by Campbell regarding Toronto. In both cases, it’s from many who didn’t even go there to investigate, but were critical from a distance. This was basically because their theology refuses to allow that revival can possibly occur. This, in spite of the fact that this was a mainstream Evangelical university, and the kinds of manifestations referred to by Campbell as notable in Toronto were absent.

In relation to these theological cynics, I’ve had the strongest impression for a long time now that they will be excluded from the fruit of any revival, and as that fruit is distributed, their influence will die out. It will be just like the officer at the king’s right hand in 2 Kings 7 who, when Elisha prophesied the end of the siege by the Arameans, mocked the prophet:

‘The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” “You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”… And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.’
— 2 Kings 7:2, 20 (NASB)

Offering and Growth

The rest of Bryant’s phases take us into new territory. I wonder how many of us have ever experienced anything like the scenario Bryant presents from here on? I know I haven’t, so I have little that I can add.

4. Consecration. the impact of revival brings renouncing of sin, a hunger for holiness, and a zeal for the glory of God. This causes God’s people to offer themselves in fresh new ways to be used of Him to extend the Kingdom of Christ in whatever ways He chooses as an outflow of the revival. Revival is a time of recruitment when God raises up and thrusts out laborers who are wholly devoted to Christ and His global cause.

5. Revitalization. The church experiences renewal through the unleashing of the fruits of the Spirit, renaissance through the unleashing of the gifts of the Spirit, and the ensuing renovation of the very programs and structures of the church to fit in with God’s new day for His people. All of this brings forth a revived community that is experiencing in great measure “the fullness of the stature of Christ” along with greater maturity in worship, discipleship, and ministry for Christ.”

I’ve grouped these two together because I see an overlap, that the first, as it increases, feeds as a consequence into the increase of the second, as do the final two. As Bryant shows, this is when revival moves outside of the four walls of the church into the community to reform the culture.

6. Penetration. The revived church begins to influence and impact the society in which it finds itself. Through its witness God gives a reformation of society in morality, righteousness, and justice and a renovation and rebuilding of the structures of a society to be more compassionate and just. Above all this, evangelization unfolds as the revived church goes forth to bear witness of Christ within every structure of society, at every level, among every people, and within every situation and need. The power of such penetration by the church rises in part from how the fear of God has come, first on God’s people through revival and then on unbelievers who sense the presence of God in the midst of a revived church. But it doesn’t stop there.

7. Expansion. The gospel is extended into many parts of the earth and among many peoples where the Kingdom has not yet come. Out of revival there is a release of the laborers, an increased vision for reaching those who are currently beyond the reach of the gospel, and a rebellion against the strongholds of the enemy that have usurped Christ’s lordship among the nations. In the end, churches are planted among peoples where Christ has never been named before, to become bases of operations for His Kingdom in their own societies and beyond. Of course, all of this will trigger many evil forces against the gospel and may lead to significant persecution.”

To these last two of Bryant’s phases, I would just add that for many of us who are engaged at some level in what some describe as the “culture wars”, these might seem difficult to visualise. On so many issues, the culture is either in the process of, or has already become, alien and hostile to the Christian moral and ethical principles which once were our culture’s foundation.

But be encouraged that, as Bryant helps us understand, these are “strongholds of the enemy that have usurped Christ’s lordship”. They are built on a foundation of lies, and lies are always able to be dismantled by the truth. In our cultural engagement, when that time comes, we will need to remember that we are dealing with fellow human beings, all created with the same faculties to receive and live in the truth. It’s just that their eyes are blinded to that truth.

As Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5,

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (NASB)

So, just as the scales fell from the eyes of the persecutor Saul of Tarsus and he was transformed into the apostle Paul, so the Holy Spirit will cause the scales that Satan has put over people’s eyes to fall away, and for many we now see as oppositional be transformed into warriors for Christ.

The last word belongs to Bryant:

“Through the phases of realization, preparation, and manifestation, the church is given a new focus toward the person of Christ – all that He is to us and for us. Through consecration and revitalization the church enters afresh into the fullness of the life of Christ – all that He wants to be over us and in us. And finally out of the phases of penetration and expansion the church moves forward in new ways into the fulfillment of the mission of Christ – all that He wants to do through us and out ahead of us.

That’s the divine pattern, plain and simple. In a sense, however, we’ll never fully understand it until our generation has gone through it. Furthermore, as it continues to unfold for us, the expressions of each phase will be so unique to our times – unmatched by any stories of previous revivals – that even the backward look will only begin to help us grasp where we’re headed. However, in principle, this is what we have to look forward to! What God has done before, He is not only able and willing but also ready to do again.

And we’d better get started soon – because the hope is at hand!”

Amen to that!


Photo by Kairos Panamá.

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  1. Bob 12 September 2023 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    I guess I am failing to understand the logic in trying to decipher past revivals patterns and trying come come up with a formula that equals revival.

    There cannot be revival without repentance. The church needs to repent and walk away from the worldly systems it had instilled in church culture.

    This has led to systemic abuse (spiritual, sexual, financial), a culture focused on running church like a business, the healthy wealthy prosperity mantra, the secularisation of worship and Christian music (predominantly now owned by secular record companies), success based on how many weekly YouTube video views, books or “resources” sold., to the progressive side that now embraces the LGBT mantra.

    And conferences ( it’s ironic this is all pointed to a conference in Perth). I can never understand why people are charged money to hear supposedly from the best Christians (ironically, I never see Paul in the Bible charging money for conferences, or claiming to be the Roman times best selling author).

    But it won’t. we need to register charities now to hold a prayer breakfast apparently.

    I am all for revival, but it won’t happen until there is a real conviction to walk away from this religious system that has infiltrated the church.

    I wish everyone the best, but revival is not a formula. Nor does God show up specifically at a 2 day conference for revival.

  2. Kim Beazley 13 September 2023 at 5:54 am - Reply

    Thank you, Bob, for your detailed response. There’s just not enough people who share their thoughts with the writers here on such topics.

    “I guess I am failing to understand the logic in trying to decipher past revivals patterns and trying come come up with a formula that equals revival.”

    But that’s because Bryant was not trying to come up with a formula at all. He was simply noting in a very general fashion similar distinctives from the past that we can seek to emulate. For example, the first two phases should be obvious.

    “There cannot be revival without repentance. The church needs to repent and walk away from the worldly systems it had instilled in church culture.”

    That may be true, but that is not God’s focus, and it has never been the focus of those who have broken through to revival. That is only achieved (for want of a better word) through prayer and intercession for the lost. That’s because revival is nothing more than our hearts aligning with God’s heart. And God’s heart is ALWAYS for the lost. So even when He motivates us to pray regarding issues like those you mention, it’s always because they hamper our ministry to the lost.

    And if you go back and read it again, you’ll see that Bryant’s phase 2 , “Preparation”, as well as my comments o it, deal directly with repentance and reordering our priorities. I also referred to the following articles dealing directly with those issues. So as they say, “stay tuned”.

    “And conferences ( it’s ironic this is all pointed to a conference in Perth).”

    It’s not a conference, but a gathering of intercessors from around the world. And it’s mere coincidence that this series of articles is coming out now, as it has been coming together in my heart for several months.

    “I can never understand why people are charged money to hear supposedly from the best Christians (ironically, I never see Paul in the Bible charging money for conferences, or claiming to be the Roman times best selling author).”

    But it’s Paul who tells us in 1 Timothy 5:17-18, ‘The elders who lead well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while it is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”’

    Are these men and women who minister at conferences expected to travel and pay for accommodation from their own pockets without recompense or pay for their services? Not to mention the fact that the locations for these events need to be paid for?

    Finally, we ALL are all for revival here. That’s one of the core pursuits of “Canberra Declaration”. And as for God not showing up at 2 day conferences for revival, He can and He does. That’s how the outpouring that spread around the world from Toronto started in 1994. That’s one thing about revival: you cannot predict how it will come. So you cannot restrict how God achieves it through your own mindset. That can actually serve as a hindrance.

  3. Bob 23 September 2023 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    I’m sorry Kim, but you are instigating the same methodologies known in the charasmatic movement since the 60s. How many conferences have there been promising revival and that God is going to show up and change things?

    I don’t understand why you say it isn’t a conference, when it is. Go to the website. An article on here even said “This is just not another conference….”

    The article above literally goes through several steps and points for revival to occur.

    There is a difference between paying someone’s costs, to to over the top charges and money being thrown around in conferences.

    so I guess Joyce Meyer and others needed to be paid over $150,000 to speak at Hillsong conferences? How is that justified taking money from ordinary people to fund these events and over the top lifestyles?

    I’m not saying that the speakers are being paid this, but after 30 years of observation, they are the same group of people whom are involved, nothing they say or prophecy ever comes true and they line their pockets to make a living from this.

    what about people who can’t afford this? You want non Christians to fork out money to come to events like this?

    have you ever looked at people like David Wilkerson, who never charged to speak or charge people to hear him and gave away all his books and resources for free?

    Or Carmen, every one if his concerts was free. these days you have to pay money to meet Christian artists before or after a concert,!

    How much did Paul and Jesus and the disciples charge for their speaking fees? The fact is what Paul said, freely received, freely given.

    the Toronto blessing was not a world wide revival. there are still serious questions to be had, as to even if it was real. I experienced this in the church I was at, where people were receiving the holy spirit and running around like nut cases through car parks imitating what they had seen in videos. It caused a lot of damage and what are the fruits of it? there was no massive increase in sould saved in Australia. If was a fad in particular the AOG churches and charasmatic that said if you don’t act like this then there’s something wrong with you.

    I will disagree with you on church repentance.

    You have dismissed out of hand the serous issues In the church and it’s worldly systems, A church that is continuing in the ways of the world, producing worldly Christians, that is responsible for the mass exodus of people who have been seriously hurt by spiritual and sexual abuse. and used by leaders for their own purposes.

    Guess what? God cares for them to.

    Your calling for revival to see non Christians become apart of this system, which in the long run will cause more damage and see more walk away from God.

    I wish you the best for the conference, but I doubt there will be any revival from this conference.

    • Kim Beazley 3 October 2023 at 8:30 am - Reply

      All you’re showing here is your own unbiblical prejudice against the Charismatic Movement as a whole, and using Hillsong as a straw man to smear every Christian church which practices the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And even worse, in doing so you’re using unverified claims made by a non-Christian politician under parliamentary privilege to do so. This is nothing but slander and rumour mongering, which are condemned in Scripture.

      Thankfully, your brand of myopic and unscriptural opposition to the work of the Holy Spirit is dying out. In my opinion it can’t come quickly enough!

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