I have done a modest amount of research on the subject of revivals. I have concluded that most major moves of God throughout world history have been birthed out of prayer rooms and prayer meetings as God’s people become earnest in seeking Him. I love conferences and special convocations. But rarely are these meetings much more than a time of good fellowship among the brethren or a sharing of strategies for growing the church numerically.

I am not saying these meetings are not valuable. What I am saying is that you will not receive a sustainable move of God from them. I’ve been to revival conferences that have whetted my appetite for revival, but I’m not aware that they have ever produced a true revival.

The facts are simple: most major moves of God start with a holy hunger for more of His presence. This hunger, in turn, causes individuals to pray and seek God’s face until they get a breakthrough that ignites revival in their hearts.

The great revival that began at the turn of the last century didn’t begin at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles. No, that revival began as William Seymour and a couple of teenage girls in two separate places prayed for a deeper encounter with God. As God led these two companies to meet together, revival broke out on Azusa Street. Likewise, the outpouring on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 didn’t just happen in one day. It first began to seep into the hearts of the disciples as they spent time together with Jesus during His ministry days. They learned by listening and doing the works that Jesus did. After Jesus’ resurrection, they eventually realized their utter dependence on the Spirit of God to help them in their ministries.

So much emphasis is put on having a good service or hearing a good sermon that we sometimes leave out the possibility of any movement of the Holy Spirit in our churches. Many times we have overcorrected for the past excesses in the church by reducing or completely stopping the movement of the Holy Spirit. We may call it balance, but it’s really an attempt to keep the lukewarm people in our churches from being offended at what comes with a move of God. And unfortunately it’s all done under the guise of not offending the sinners in our midst.

Pastors have told me they were once in a season of revival and are now waiting on the next sovereign move of God for another revival. They declare, “But when it comes, I want the real thing.” That sounds noble, but in reality, God may never move if we don’t first make the move in our hearts. You see, we’re waiting on a move of God, when God is waiting on a move of man!

Smith Wigglesworth once said, “If the Spirit does not move me, I move the Spirit.” If God is not moving in your church, then step out in faith and activate His hand by praying for the sick or witnessing to the lost. But above all else, the next Pentecost must begin in our hearts before we will ever see it in our churches.

A river is beginning to rise out of the nations. It differs from any other throughout the centuries. It’s a river of God’s glory. This river will one day reach flood stage and sweep across the world. A revival is coming—one that will overtake the preacher, the pew, the politician, and the passive observer in our society. This revival will surpass all other revivals in history. The river of God will challenge the church to flex to its maximum potential. It will not be enough to take a dip, get out of the river, and dry off until the next Sunday service.

There is a generation that will dwell in the presence of God as He makes His habitation with them. They will not settle for anything less because they will know they are made for this river. We were destined to be revivalists. Along with many others, I am hungry for more of God’s presence in my life. This river quenches the thirst of the dry and weary, and it runs through you too. Are you ready? If not, get ready. The river is rising! (from River Rising by Randall Burton)