Psalm 85:6


1. Life. The new creation has been accomplished, the passing from death unto life has taken place.

2. But that life has declined, and therefore needs revival. How often this occurs! Our spiritual life is not as our natural life, which is weakest at the beginning and end; but the spiritual life is strong in the vigour of its first love, nor does it ever at the last hour fall from God, but in the midst of the years, like the wires of the telegraph between the posts, it often falls to its lowest. The causes are not a few, but may be summed up in one - the not abiding in Christ.

3. The life which has declined can be revived - the health and vigour come back again, the backsliding be healed.

II. WHAT IT EXPRESSES. It is an earnest prayer, an impassioned pleading for revival. It means, "Oh that thou wouldst revive us again!" Now, this reveals:

1. Consciousness of need. There may be the need, as at Laodicea, and no consciousness of it; but when such prayer as this is heard, it shows that the soul is wide awake to its needs.

2. Distress on account of it. Earnest anxiety is aroused; the work of conviction has been done; this prayer proves it.

3. The confession of it, and the casting of the soul on God for its need being met; and this could not be without there being also:

4. Confidence that God would answer his prayer. A child must see the look of "Yes" in his lather's face, or else he will soon give over asking; but when he does see that look, what a vehemency of asking then ensues! And so with the child of God here. He has seen that look of "Yes" on the Father's face, and hence this confident earnestness. Such are the characteristics of every such prayer as this. Note -

III. ITS PLEA. "That thy people may rejoice in thee." So then it is plainly taught that a low religious life and a joyous one are incompatible; there must be a reviving if there is to be rejoicing. Hence it is that to so many people religion seems rather a distress than a delight. They are, as it has been said, like a man with a headache; he would not like to lose his head, but he is very uncomfortable with it. A man was once invited to eat of some apples from a certain orchard, but he promptly declined. His friend was much surprised, and asked him the reason. "Oh," said he, "I took of some of your apples the other day, which were hanging over the hedge, and I am quite sure I do not want any more of them." "Ah," said the other, "I am not surprised; those apples were a poor lot; but I put them there on purpose for the boys, who are always taking what does not belong to them. But come into the middle of the orchard, and try the fruit there, which is of a very different sort." And so it is with many Christians; they take only the hard sour fruit of the religious life; that which is full of delight is in the midst of the garden of God, whither as yet they have never entered. It is good to be God's servants at all, better, far better, to be of those who rejoice, whose service of God is not a drudgery, but a delight; best of all when the rejoicing is in God, not in his blessings merely, but in him. God wants us to rejoice in him; the world will be more surely won for God when more joy characterizes his servants, and for ourselves, it is the surest guarantee of steadfastness. - S.C.

Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?

1. When we can remember some gracious acts of God in the past. After some mercy drops, it becomes us to cry for showers of blessing.

2. After tokens of Divine displeasure.

3. When saints feel languid.

4. When efforts seem to be useless.

5. When we have among us a number of persons who are backsliding.


1. The minister. If the preachers grow dull and sleepy, there is no wonder that the people do so; therefore, give us a special place in your supplications that we may be kept right for your sakes, and for Christ's sake, and the Gospel's sake.

2. All the leaders of our Church. Often, dead deacons and dead elders prevent a church prospering; therefore, let us pray earnestly for the leaders of God's Israel, "Lord, revive them again. Put more spiritual life into them."

3. The same is true of all the members of the Church without exception. How much they need reviving!

4. And all the workers, too.

5. The hesitaters.

6. The careless ones.

7. The outside public, who never go to hear the Gospel at all.


1. Dependence upon God.

2. Confidence in God.

3. Importunity with God.

IV. THE NET RESULT IF THIS PRAYER BE ANSWERED. It seems rather singular, does it not? — that the psalmist should put as the reason for a revival that God's people should rejoice in Him. You and I do not always estimate things aright. Preaching is only the stalk; conversion, prayer, praise, — these are the full corn in the golden ear. In the garden, the leaves may represent the work that is done; but the flowers are the praise that is rendered. In a revival, part of the result is the conversion of men, but the result is the praise of God; and that revival brings forth most fruit that gives to God the most glory. I reckon that we have served God when we have fed the poor, when we have taught the ignorant, when we have reclaimed the wanderer; but I am equally sure that we have rendered acceptable sacrifice when we have prayed to God, when we have delighted ourselves in Him, when the joy of our heart has in silence exhaled towards Him. So, therefore, if God will be pleased to send a revival, His people will rejoice in Him because they are revived. They will be thankful that their spirits are plucked away from their languor and lethargy; and then they will begin to rejoice with the joy of gratitude because God has done such great things for them; and then sinners will be converted, and straightway saints will rejoice over sinners saved. Now, as you come to the communion table, I want you to try to rejoice in God. "But I am mourning about myself," says one. Well, mourn about yourself, if you like; but do rejoice in God. "Oh, but I am troubled in my circumstances!" Well, but a child of God should rise above circumstances, and rejoice in God. There is more in God to cheer you than in your circumstances to depress you.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

American Homiletic Monthly.
I. THIS PRAYER WAS DICTATED BY PAST EXPERIENCES. "Wilt Thou not revive us 'again?'"


III. IT IS THE PRAYER OF ONE FULLY CONSCIOUS THAT GOD ALONE IS THE SOURCE OF REVIVING POWER AND GRACE. "Wilt not 'Thou?'" etc. Never was revival more needed than now. Therefore let us make this prayer our own.


(American Homiletic Monthly.)


1. I have known trials in business the occasions of religious declensions — trials which ought to have led to God in prayer, who can by His mighty arm take us over them, but which have so absorbed the mind and so worried the spirit, that instead of their leading to God the man has sat down and sighed his soul away in sorrow.

2. I have known the very opposite of trials, namely, worldly prosperity, a cause of religious declension. The sea has been all calm, the tide has set in our favour, the breeze has filled our every sail, and with full sails our vessel has entered into the haven, and we have sought to make earth, not heaven, our home; our prosperity we have put down to our own ingenuity, and not to the goodness of God.


1. Remissness in secret prayer.

2. Neglect of family prayer.

3. Neglect of the public means of grace.


1. There is a remedy (2 Samuel 14:14; Jeremiah 30:17; Malachi 3:7; 2 Chronicles 17:4).

2. The means to be used for revival.

(1)We must become alarmed about our state, and apply for the remedy.

(2)We must humble ourselves before God.

(3)We must make a full surrender of ourselves.


1. Restored spiritual health.

2. Rejoicing in the God who gave it.

3. Joy in common with others.

(A. M. Brown, LL. D.)


1. Remissness in secret duty.

2. Inattention to God's word.

3. Neglect of self-examination.

4. Allowed indulgence of some favourite sin.

5. Indifference to public means.

6. Self-complacency.


1. Recollect yourselves.

2. Humble yourselves.

3. Surrender yourselves anew to the Lord.

4. Give yourselves unto extraordinary prayer.

5. Attend with constancy the public means.

6. Apply to yourselves what you hear and read of God's Word.


1. To ourselves. A new impulse will be given to our religious feeling and affections.

2. Others will share the advantage of our revival. Seeing how lowly, how forbearing, how kind, how cheerful, the followers of Jesus can be; they will be constrained to think favourably of that gracious Lord who "taketh pleasure in the prosperity of His servants," and to allow the excellency of that religion which can make a fallen sinful creature so holy, so contented, so happy. Saints will be edified; timid professors encouraged; mockers silenced; and sinners convinced and won to the love and practice of piety.

3. The Lord Jesus Christ will be magnified by our liveliness and zeal in His service.

(W. Mudge.)


1. The world needs it.(1) The world of Christendom needs it. From having so long lived in a Christian country, many are disposed to take it for granted that they are Christians. Others, from so often hearing and reading the truth, fail to feel its power.(2) The world of heathendom needs it. Much has been done to win the world to Christ, but much still remains to be done.

2. The Church at large and individual churches need it.

3. The individual members of our churches need it.


1. The fact that God has promised to revive His people.

2. The fact that He has again and again revived them — on the day of Pentecost; at the Reformation; under the preaching of Wesley and Whitfield.


1. Prayer for an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Such prayer must be characterized by humility, fervency, perseverance, faith.

2. As all our blessings come to us through Christ, we must pray in His name.

3. As the Word of God is "the sword of the Spirit" — i.e. its instrument — we must study it ourselves, and teach it to others.

4. As God always works by means, we must employ appropriate effort.

(1)Put away all sin.

(2)Seek to cultivate true, healthy piety, as opposed to austerity, narrow-mindedness, sentimentalism, or laxity.

(3)Endeavour to progress in the Divine life ourselves.

(4)Seek to arouse others.

(E. W. Wilson.)

Each of the last four centuries, to go no farther back, has been distinguished by a great revival of religion. In the sixteenth century there came what we may call the Protestant revival, in the seventeenth century the Puritan revival, in the eighteenth century the Evangelical revival; and during the nineteenth century we have witnessed a revival which it is more difficult to characterize, but which has been as real and will probably prove as fruitful as any of the former. It has manifested itself in various ways, by high ritualism on the one hand and by much earnest evangelism on the other. Probably its most distinguishing characteristic is that it has inspired Christian people with a strong desire to reach the whole population of the land, to uplift socially and morally the most degraded, and so perhaps it might be called the Democratic revival. It is certain that neither this nor any other of the religious movements I have named has boon unmixed good or evil. Like all things on earth, they have bison imperfect in character and results. But in each case there has been a vast preponderance of good, and all of them have helped to hasten on the age of universal righteousness. And the history of these four centuries seems to render infinitely probable a great revival in the twentieth century Another fact which makes us confident that we shall shortly witness a great revival is the manifest need of it. The coldness and deadness of many of our churches, the utter indifference of the masses, the neglect of public worship, the practical infidelity which is so common in all ranks of society, the hopeless misery of the "submerged tenth," the comparative failure of the churches to rescue the very classes in which Jesus showed the greatest interest and amongst which He gained His chief success, all these things prove that a revival is necessary. Now, we find that when the need is greatest the help is nearest. It is the way of the Lord to display His grace and power in the day of His people's extremity. The coming revival will be an intellectual movement. It will very largely consist in the awakening of the mind. Of course, every revival is in some degree an intellectual movement. Conversion implies the opening of the eyes and the turning from darkness to light. But in former revivals the intellectual element has not been the most prominent. A century ago, and even later, religion was chiefly emotional. The majority of the people in this country were uneducated, many of them were grossly ignorant. They were incapable of understanding an argument or of appreciating a spiritual idea. And so the preachers of the evangelical movement appealed to the fears of men. In the coming revival men will be brought to God, not by craven terror, not by coercion of any kind, but by persuasion, by conviction, by recognition of the truth. The religious movement of the twentieth century will be the triumphal progress of reason. But the chief glory of the coming revival will be its ethical character. It will bring about a great moral reformation. The weak point in former revivals has been in the development of character. We find Martin Luther complaining that the Protestants were no better in moral character than the Catholics. produced many eminent saints, yet it also produced some notable hypocrites. The Puritan theology did not give to morality the high place to which it was entitled; and, indeed, in some respects it tended rather to depress the importance of moral character. In the coming revival high and pure morality will be accorded its sacred rights. It will be a revival of righteousness; it will fill men with an enthusiasm for goodness. It will be inspired by the practical theology of Jesus Christ; not by the theology of Luther, or Calvin, or Augustine, or even of Paul, so much as by that of the Great Master. And so it will produce in Christian men a character more true and manly, more Christlike, and more Divine. And on this account the coming revival will be more extensive and more permanent in its results than any that have preceded it. The great sign and evidence of the revival, when it comes, will be its manifesting power, its power of discrimination and discovery. Men are separated by great lines of moral demarcation, but generally these lines are visible only to Omniscience. When the revival comes they will show up clearly and with astonishing vividness. There are those who are saved and know they are saved: they will be the chief instruments of the revival. There are those who are not saved and know they are not; they will be the objects upon which the revival will exert its convincing and converting power. But there are also those who think they are saved and are not, good, easy people, self-complacent and censorious, to them the revival will bring a rude awakening. There is yet another class — those who are saved and do not know it — a much more numerous class than is generally supposed. With the great revival there will come to them a clearer vision. Receiving the Spirit of adoption, they will thenceforth serve the Lord with gladness. Doubt and weakness will give place to confidence and strength.

(S. T. Bosworth, B. A.)

I use the term "revival" as implying, not simply the quickening and strengthening of the Divine life in the soul where it already exists, but also the production of that life where it has not before been enjoyed, — in other words, as including in it the conversion of sinners, as well as the edification of saints.

I. WE NEED A REVIVAL. Is there not amongst us much spiritual insensibility — much formality — much worldliness? Is there any one of us who does not feel, when he seriously and thoughtfully reflects on his opportunities and privileges, that he is not what he ought to be — not what he might have been?


1. That this desirable result may be gained, let me remind you that spiritual revival is a personal thing. The revival of a Congregation or of the church at large can only be reached by the revival of the individuals of whom the congregation or church is composed.

2. Do you ask, how are we to get it for ourselves? I answer, — by the use of the right means in the right spirit.(1) If you are not yet converted, you must begin by receiving Christ as your personal Saviour. This is the commencement of Divine life in the soul.(2) Prayer — secret personal prayer. It is very well that you should seek the prayers of others; but if you do not pray for yourselves, you have no right to expect personal revival.(3) The devout study of the Word of God. In it God speaks to us, and speaks to us directly. If we do not listen, bow can we be His children — how can we know His will or do it?(4) The cultivation of a watchful and dependent spirit. By a watchful spirit, I mean a spirit ever on its guard against sin. By a dependent spirit, I mean a spirit conscious of its own guilt and depravity, of its own weakness and infirmity.

(John Robson, D. D.)

1. What is the kind of spiritual awakening that is required in the days in which we are living? "A new realization of God." Now, understand what realization is. There may be belief and no realization. Devils believe and tremble. I may believe in God and be as foul as Satan. I realize God, and He will be the Power that dominates me in all my thought and in every department of my being. You go to Switzerland and one object is in your thought, Mont Blanc, which dominates the valleys. When we realize that God will dominate our thoughts and our actions, we shall realize that He besets us behind and before, and that if we take the wings of the morning and go to the uttermost parts of the sea He is there. I would realize God; I would try to help you to realize Him. Now, the great difficulty of this subject comes from the fact that with the progress of science, as science has brought us knowledge, and knowledge is reality, we are brought to an understanding of the fact that He is great, passing all our comprehension, and we begin to understand that no man by searching can by any possibility find Him out. I can only tell you some things which will be when we realize God, when He is near to us and we appreciate that He is near to us as we are to one another. When that is true all places will be holy. All times are sacred when God is realized. And in the next place, all duties are sacred. Why do we say that one man in a large place is doing a great work for God, while one in a small place is doing a work of insignificance? Because we do not appreciate that everything done for Him is great, and that those who are most faithful are those who are most worthy of praise.

2. And then, in the next place, when we realize God, all men are sacred. In the humblest, in the barefooted beggar boy, in the man who sweeps the streets, in the one who is outcast and forgotten, there is something of the Divine. We doff our hats when those who rule us ride by, but in the man who sweeps the walk for you there is something of the King of the Universe. Ah, do we think of these things? That is the kind of revival that is needed. How may this revival be promoted? Well, in the first place, those who bear the Christian name ought surely to be those who lead in it; and if they lead in it, certain things must be realized. They must learn to practise the presence of God; and, moreover, they must learn also to lay upon it every weight and every sin. We cannot prevent a thought knocking at the door of our mind and looking in, but we can prevent that thought coming in and staying there. And then, associate much with Jesus Christ; He is the One who brings God to us; He is the One who reveals Him in a way in which we can understand Him. Spend time with Him, think about Him, feed upon Him, live with Him. Next, this thought: What will result when we do realize God, when this revival has come to us? What will be the results? Will you pardon me if I return my question with a question, and ask you what kind of life do you think you would live if God was just as real to you as His sun in the heavens? If you were sure every day, every hour, every minute, that the holy eyes of the loving God were on you, what kind of life do you think you would lead? Now, once more, consider if there are any signs of the coming of such an awakening.

3. I find signs of it in the amazing earnestness which characterizes the young men and the young women in our institutions of learning, so far as I know, the world around. There were never so many who were pledging themselves to the missionary service in the whole history of the world as are pledging themselves to-day. I find signs of this spiritual awakening also in the spirit of expectancy. We all feel — sensitive spirits in the pews and in the pulpits everywhere feel — as if we were on the verge of some wondrous revelation of spiritual reality.

(A. H. Bradford, D. D.)

I. A REVIVAL IS GREATLY NEEDED. Compare our lives with those of , Brainerd, Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, M'Cheyne, Baxter, Whitefield. Think of their love for souls, their zealous labours, their self-denials, their communion with God. Why, beside such men our piety is scarcely discoverable even by the aid of a microscope.

II. IT CAN COME FROM GOD ONLY. The land in India is parched and dried up for want of rain; where are the reviving showers to come from? Can a council of her wise men by consulting each other obtain it? No; from above it must come. We too, are dry and parched, and all our talk and schemes and Church organization will do nothing, unless the showers fall upon us from above. In tills matter we are absolutely dependent upon God. I have heard of men and Churches trying to "get up" revivals. Got-up revivals end in spiritual dearth, or, worse still, spiritual death. They must be brought down to be of any service.


1. I believe we can, because —(1) Of the promises God has made in this respect (Malachi 3:10; Isaiah 44:3; Zechariah 12:10).(2) All who have ever earnestly and truly sought one have obtained it. Think of the times of Baxter, of Bunyan, of Burns, of Flavel, of Finney, of Wesley, of Whitefield, of M'Cheyne. In our isle, and lands beyond the seas, God has poured out His Spirit. Lord, Thou hast revived others; wilt Thou not revive us? Thou hast revived us in days past; wilt Thou not revive us again?(3) Revivals are a part of God's method of accomplishing His purposes, and without them the world can. not be converted.

2. How are we to obtain it?(1) There must be a determination on the part of each member of the Church to have a better state of things. A revival must be desired before God will give it.(2) There must be on the part of each one of us sorrow of heart for our coldness and backslidings, full confession of sin to God, the giving up of every known sin, and the earnest petition, "Cleanse thou me from secret faults."(3) There must be also on behalf of sinners soul travail (Isaiah 66:8). In this there is deep philosophy: 'tis the mother who has felt the birth-pangs that loves and cares for the child as no other can. And 'tie those who have wrestled with God for the conversion of men, who know how to care for them when converted.


1. It generally affects the minister, first and most. His lips are touched with the live coal from off the altar; he is clad with zeal as with a cloak. He has an unction from the Holy One resting upon him.

2. The deacons and all the members feel a kind of spell come over them. They don't neglect family prayer now. They don't forget to read their Bible now. All is changed, and things are as they should be.

3. Sinners who have listened for years, now, upon confession of their faith, wish to be baptized.

4. Then shall all the members of our Church be glad and rejoice in the Lord.

(W. W. Williams.)

The advantage of such a season as Lent, — a season set apart for special prayer, and searching of heart, and amendment of life, — is that, where there is a feeling of slackness and failure, it meets it, and welcomes it, and sustains it, and guides it; and where there is no such wholesome feeling of inward concern and self-censure, it tends to awaken, and foster, and stimulate it.

1. Can we put a little more self-denial and effort into our religious exercises and devotions?

2. Can we see our way to embarking on a crusade, — a truly holy war, — against some besetting sin, or fault, or failing, of our own; with a determination to suppress it and stamp it out;-or to denying ourselves some little innocent indulgence, for the sake of self-discipline and the love of Christ; — or to applying the Cross practically to ourselves in any other special way whatever?

3. Can we cut out for ourselves, or anyhow aid in, any enterprise of Christian philanthropy, having for its object the bettering of the physical, social, intellectual, or religious condition of our fellow-men, around us or at a distance; some enterprise which we can help and forward by money, by prayers, or by personal labour and toil; and this, in the recollection, and under the inspiration of the Saviour's words: "inasmuch as ye have done it," etc.

(D. J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Pardon and quickening are joined together in ver. 5. We beseech the Lord and Giver of Life to revive among us that life of the spirit which grows stifled, and choked, and deadened by the pressure of the world. Nothing gives thoughtful Englishmen graver concern than the decay of high ideals, alike in the politics and the literature of the nation. And in the Church itself, while we raise great sums of money, do we not grow painfully aware of a certain dearth and poverty of spiritual passion, which can only be re-inspired and rekindled from above? "Wilt Thou not revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?" Note this searching test of a real revival: it fills Christians with a new joy and delight in God Himself. As the Holy Ghost comes upon us and the power of the Highest overshadows us, the Church breaks out in a fresh "Magnificat," and sings, "My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." And the Church becomes the irresistible missionary when it can chant that victorious song.

(T. H. Darlow.)

Historians seldom take note of so obscure an event; yet, if the secret connections of revivals with the destiny of nations could be disclosed, they would appear to be more critical evolutions of history than the Gothic invasions. A volume has been compiled narrating the decisive battles of the world. But more significant than this, and probing deeper the Divine government of the world, would be the history of revivals.

(Austin Phelps.)

There is a current idea that the best way to start a revival is to preach to the Christians in a church. I do not accept that idea. If you want to raise up a lazy crew on board ship, set them hauling in that man who has fallen overboard. Don't talk too much about "revival! revival! revival!" Don't predict a revival. I never in my life knew a predicted revival that came to pass. In my own ministerial experience the spiritual operations known as "revivals" generally began in a prayer-meeting. I learned more theology in those experiences than I ever could have learned in a theological school. A cold prayer-meeting inevitably makes a frigid church. Hang your thermometer up in the prayer-meeting. Watch the first indication of the Spirit.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

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