Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions A Brief History of Spiritual Revival and Awakening in America

A Brief History of Spiritual Revival and Awakening in America

The Charismatic Renewal and Jesus Movement. During the late 1960s and early 1970s more revivals of national scope developed. The first strand was the Charismatic Renewal, which spread far beyond Pentecostal and Holiness churches to college campuses, the Catholic Church and mainline denominations.34 The second strand, the widely publicized Jesus Movement, emphasized turning from drugs, sex and radical politics to taking the Bible at face value and finding Jesus Christ as personal Savior.35 Not surprisingly, this revival spread to college campuses, most notably the 1970 Asbury College Revival in Wilmore, Ky. Within a week the revival had spread throughout the entire country.36 In 1976 America elected a born-again president, and evangelicalism has continued to prosper from then to now.

The Mid-1990s Revivals. Despite the widespread secularization of society since the Cultural Revolution that began in the late 1960s, in the mid-1990s God once again brought a series of revivals, mostly to Charismatic and Pentecostal groups. In 1994 it was The Toronto Blessing, and 1995 ushered in the Melbourne Revival on Florida’s Space Coast, the Modesto Revival, and the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Fla., which recorded 100,000 conversions in two years.37 College Revivals swept across America, starting at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, under the preaching of Henry Blackaby, a Southern Baptist.38

The Promise Keepers Revival, the most publicized of the mid-1990s Revivals, began in 1991 when 4,200 men descended on the University of Colorado to be challenged to live up to their faith. In 1993, 50,000 men assembled from every state and 16 nations. In the following years, stadium events were conducted in cities throughout the United States. A spirit of revival and transformation swept across America as millions of men attended. The revival reached its zenith on October 4, 1997, as 1,000,000 or more men gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. By the close of 2000, Promise Keepers reported 5,000,000 had attended 100 conferences. An additional 1,000,000 men have been impacted since.39

10 Characteristics of Spiritual Revival

Each revival or awakening leaves its own heat signature; in 1740 youth led the way, in 1857 businessmen and prayer took center stage, and the 1906 Azusa Street revival was decidedly interracial. Yet all share common themes. What are the most frequently mentioned characteristics of revivals and awakenings in literature?

1. TIMING: Revivals emerge during times of spiritual and moral decline, which leads to intense prayer.40

2. PRAYER: God puts a longing into the hearts of many to pray for revival.41

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Patrick Morley’s mission is to help men grow as disciples and disciple makers--starting at home. In 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, which consults with churches in all 50 states to help them more effectively disciple their men. He teaches a weekly men's Bible study to 10,000 men and is the best-selling author of 20 books, including "The Man in the Mirror." Learn more at www.ManintheMirror.org and www.PatrickMorley.com.