From Dissatisfaction to Revival


George Whitefield Preaching to the crowds, 18th Century

Scholars have identified three or four Great Awakenings in the history of the United States.  These revivals of true religion always brought with them a positive and dramatic change to the communities which were involved, and to a great extent the country as a whole, as people who were lost and living in sin were drawn to Christ and the Church.  During these periods of Great Awakening, revivals would sprout up in various places and spread like wild fire.  Prior to each of these local revivals, a dissatisfaction with the way things were began to grow and spread resulting in multiple and extended times of prayer leading to changed lives and improved communities.

Wouldn’t it be exciting to be involved in such an awakening? From personal journals, church records and news reports we can get a pretty good idea of what it looked like . . .

It was in a community very much like ours, a church very much like ours.  This particular day started like any other, with one exception:  The people of the church were dissatisfied with the way things were.

Many wives who attended the church regularly had husbands who were unsaved, the women of the church became dissatisfied with it.   They had to do something about it no matter what the cost.

Many of the men of the church were very discouraged by the sinful atmosphere they had to work in.   They were dissatisfied having to work with unsaved workers, they had to do something about it no matter what the cost.

Several families in the church became dissatisfied living in a neighborhood with so many unsaved families.  They also became dissatisfied having even one unsaved child or loved one.

The Sunday School teachers of the church became dissatisfied with their low attendance and failing spirituality of their students.  They became dissatisfied with how things were.

Those who were dedicated to God in the church became dissatisfied with the world they lived in.  They knew something had to be done no matter what the cost.


Prayer Meeting at Eastham (MA) Campmeeting, 1851

They began meeting for prayer regularly.  The prayer times kept increasing until they were meeting every day! Some had to get up earlier so they could get to the church to pray with others before going to work. Some gave up their lunch so they could pray with other Christians. Some gave up certain entertainments in the evenings so they could get together to pray.

Before long, they were feeling God more real than they ever had!   God was moving and working in their lives and community like never before.  Husbands started getting saved, coworkers, neighbors … all were coming to the Lord!  Children, aunts and uncles, siblings … were all being drawn by the Holy Spirit to be saved!

The numbers who came to pray kept increasing as more and more prayers were being answered and more and more of the unsaved were being converted.  People outside the church saw the dedication and concern of the Christians -and what was happening as a result- and flocked to church to see what was going on.  Preachers declared the Gospel message to packed church buildings and multitudes were saved and joined those in prayer for the unsaved.

Men, women, teenagers, children- all were driven to prayer as they saw what God was doing and better recognized the spiritually lost all around them.

Visitors to the area felt the presence of God so real, and took the dedication to pray which they found there home with them, where their church started praying daily, and God started moving and working in more places.

Whole communities felt the impact of the dedicated prayers of these people, and were shook to a saving knowledge of God.  Revival was spreading throughout the city, across the country, because a group of believers became dissatisfied and decided they had to do something about it no matter what the cost!

This story is one that was common place just before the great revivals in the United States broke out.  God used people who prayed to accomplish His will.  God brought a sense of dissatisfaction to those Christians and they had to do something about it, no matter what the cost.

So many people in the Church today have become satisfied with how things are. They’ve just accepted that many around them will be unsaved and live lives away from God. Many Christians have decided that they can’t do anything about the evil in their communities so have allowed themselves to become satisfied.

prayerI believe that God can do the same miraculous work today which He did during the Great Awakenings in the United States, if Christians will become dissatisfied and determine to see something done, no matter what the cost!  It starts with just a few Christians realizing that things need to change -that they must change; getting dissatisfied with the unsaved around them, in their families, in their communities then determining to pray, really pray, until something happens.

Are you satisfied?




4 comments on “From Dissatisfaction to Revival

  1. Christians pray for the USA, leaders, community and families. Pray, pray, and pray! What a message on the Great Awakening it is more applicable today than it ever was before. If America is going to change it starts with the Christian on his or her knees begging God for self- revival.

  2. These are intriguing thoughts, Daryl, and timely.

    I prefer the term “awakening” to revival. As a pastor friend of mine one says, to be revived, you first have to be “vived.” And there are so many who have never woken up in the first place, about 20% of the population, according to recent polls.

    Also, we speak of having a “revival” when we schedule 3-5 “special services” in the evening. Yet “awakening” emphasizes that this is God’s doing, not ours. We cannot schedule a “revival,” though we can pray for God’s Holy Spirit to convict of sin and move unbelievers closer to Him, preferably through not only prayers but the loving acts we show toward the lost.

    There’s another word we don’t use much anymore– “the lost,” yet it’s as biblical as the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost sons (Luke 15).

    Yeah, we’re pretty satisfied, unfortunately, filled up with all the wrong things and not knowing how empty we are.

    But I’ll cease and desist, before this becomes a sermon!

    • Greg,

      Thanks for your comments, much appreciated!

      I agree with you about the term “revival.” I cringe when I hear people/pastors say, “we have a revival scheduled for (such and such a date).” Sure, we hope and pray for revival, but all we can plan are the revival services.

    • I also agree about revival being for those who have at some point experienced life. However, I think that you’ll agree, that even during a “revival” of the Church, many and various “crisis events” can take place, including salvation.

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