Revival Characteristics

Revival is Jesus, however he wants to show up. But he likes to show up in a variety of ways. Below, you will find a list of characteristics of revival. Each of the links below will send you to a page that lists revivals with that characteristic.

Boldness - The ability to overcome opposition to do the will of God. An example of boldness in the scripture can be seen with the early church, who were filled with the Holy Spirit and preached the Word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31)

Cast out Demons - When the oppressed by the devil are set free. The power of God has always been stronger than the power of the devil, but in these revivals, God’s servants use that power to set people free. Biblical examples of this can be seen in the ministry of Jesus (Matthew 8:28; 9:32; 12:22; 15:22; 17:18; Mark 5:15; 7:26; Luke 4:33; 8:36)

Church planting - Life giving spiritual families have been formed in revival. Building churches is a great desire in God’s heart because God uses the church to house revival and sustain it. The early church would meet from “house to house” (Acts 2:46) and built a large network of regional church communities. “Church planting is the single most effective form of evangelism under heaven ”. – C. Peter Wagner.

Confession - In many revivals, people would confess sin as a result of the convicting presence of God. Some moves of God even began as one or many people began to confess their sins in public (see James 5:16).

Discipleship - In some revivals, people were intentional about making disciples (Mat 28:19) and equipping the saints for ministry (Ephesians 4:12). This makes the move of God not just about the key people involved but about having the entire body of Christ work together to make God’s Kingdom come to earth.

Evangelism - God wants to set a fire in the hearts of his people so that they will set the world ablaze with His love. Many in revival have found themselves preaching with boldness (Acts 4:31). But it doesn’t stop there. I have heard it said that evangelism is when the evangelists seek the lost, and revival is when the lost weeks the evangelist.

Healing - Throughout the Bible, there are many examples of God healing people (2 Kings 5:1-19; Deuteronomy 32:39; 2 Kings 20:5; Mathew 8:7; 10:1; 12:10; Acts 3:6). He continues to heal those near and those far away in order to put his massive compassion on display. Many times, healing has been used as an evangelistic tool to open the door of the hearts of men.

Holiness - Holiness has both resulted in revival and resulted from revival. It would only make sense that when God comes that he would make us be more like him. God is holy, is passionate about having a holy bride (Psalm 24:3), and expects us to be holy (1 Peter 3:16).

Joy - Joy has often been the result of God moving on the earth. Revival, consists of many things that the scripture says should result in joy: “In your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11) “Joy of salvation” (Psalm 51:12)

Justice - When God shows up, His will begins to happen. This can look like seeing injustice overturned and seeing captives free (Isaiah 61:1-3). This can also look like taking care of widows and orphans and other practical actions to seek justice for the oppressed (James 1:27).

Manifestations - Sometimes when God has moved on people, there have been touched in a physical way. Falling down, shaking, crying, laughing etc. have resulted in God’s power touching people.

Missions - The early church modeled the need for missions to accompany the movement of God (Acts 1:8). God has a great desire to have his name heard throughout the world and when he has touched the lives of men and women, they have gained a piece of his heart for the world and have joined Him in His mission to seek the lost.

Persecution - Paul said that “those who try to live a godly life because they believe in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12). As God has stirred people to walk with him, opposition would sometimes come against what God was doing. Sometimes the opposition would come from even other believers that did not understand that God was behind a new movement. As God pours out his wine (Spirit), we need to make sure that our wineskins (structures and mentalities) are flexible so that we can receive what he wants to pour out (Mat 9:17).

Prayer - Prayer meetings have been throughout revival history. Some have argued that no revival has begun, except by prayer. This section of revivals list revivals where groups of hungry people praying together brought God to a region, or when God’s power resulted in prayer meetings. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Presence (Geographic) - There have been times when God has designated locations where his presence will be. These locations have been places where people have gone to experience his presence and power. Some biblical examples of this concept can be seen with the Temple and with the Pool of Bathesda (John 5:2).

Presence (Object) - Sometimes, God will let his presence rest on particular objects and when people came into contact with the objects, they would be healed. An example of this is the handkerchiefs that were given to people who were healed (Acts 19:11-12).

Presence (Personal) - Sometimes the presence of God would rest on someone so that other people’s lives were touched and changed in their presence. People would even begin to weep or confess to the person without any words being said. An example of god’s presence on a person can be seen when people would be healed in Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15)

Prophecy - The prophetic gifting can be seen throughout the Bible. In revival, God still chooses to speak to His people through other individuals and groups. Joel talks about the importance of prophecy when God moves (Joel 2:28-32)

Raising the Dead - There were many times when people were raised from the dead in the bible (1 Kings 17:17-22; 2 Kings 4:18-36; Luke 7:12-17; Matthew 28). God still raises the dead through his servants. Jesus is and will always be the “resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)

Revelation - God is wants to reveal himself to his people (John 17:24). Ad he moves on the earth, sometimes he will reveal a new side of himself to the world. Revivals that are characterized by a new revelation of who God is, is added to this section of revivals

Salvations - God greatly desires to see people come to know him (Luke 15). As he shows who he is through his presence and power, people are drawn to him, learn who he is, and believe in him.

Signs and Wonders - Sometimes god will move in signs and wonders to show who he is to people. These are acts of God that might not involve healing or salvations. They can involve nature, reproducing food, making things appear/disappear, levitation etc. No matter how much we have seen of God, he still likes to surprise us.

Tongues - Tongues have been a controversial element of some revivals. It is when people speak in an unknown language of the spirit. Its main use it to “edify yourself” (1 Corinthians 14:4) but it can also be accompanied with interpretation (1 Corinthians 12:11).

Transformation (Personal) - The gospel changes people’s lives. In some instances, lives are changed in radical ways (Luke 8:26-29). The revivals tagged with transformations are those with some radical salvation stories of lives being completely changed.

Transformation (Cultural) - The ultimate test of a revival is if the culture of the region it is in gets changed. Some great revivals are about more than just a meeting where the lost come and are changed, but where all of society (music, literature, business, language, recreation, entertainment) are changed. This is when the Kingdom of God really begins to rule.

Unity - Jesus prayed that the church would be united (John 17:21). When God comes, denominational, racial, gender, and economic lines are broken through and people are united under the banner of Christ (Galatians 3:28).

Weeping - There are times of extreme emotion that can happen when God’s presence comes. Some people will weep for a long time in His presence. With that, we must remember that he will “Turn our mourning into dancing” (Psalm 30:11).

Wholeness – Part of salvation is being made whole in Jesus. These revivals are when God came and made people’s lives whole from the inside out. Much of this can be seen in healing people on the inside.