What does the word "revival" mean? We can gain a better understanding of this word by looking at its close relative, "revive." To revive something means to bring it back to life again. We could just as easily use the word "restoration" in its place. To restore something is to return it to its original state.
Revival is kind of a church word. By that I mean, the secular culture doesn't need revival; they need evangelism. Here's the interesting thing: evangelism doesn't necessarily produce revival, but revival always produces evangelism. Whenever there has been a spiritual awakening, there has been an evangelistic thrust that has come as a result. When God's people are awakened, when they are restored, when they are revived, then they go out and start doing what they should have been doing all along, which is proclaiming the gospel.
One author wrote that revival is "an extraordinary movement of the Holy Spirit, producing extraordinary results." Another said, "Revival is a community saturated with God." And A. W. Tozer defined revival as "that which changes the moral climate of a community." When we pray for a revival, we are praying for a restoration.
In Psalm 85 we find this prayer for revival: "Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?" (verse 6).
A revival is an invasion from Heaven. It is when God is at work and we can't explain it. That is what I want to see again—a time in which Christians are saying, "We don't know how this started or entirely what is going on. All we know is that people are packing out our churches. People are coming to Christ. People are praying."
We need revival, and the world needs the gospel. Let's pray that God will revive us.