By Warren Olson
A story is told about an evangelist named Gipsy Smith who lived in the late 1800s. Gipsy traveled all over the world, preaching on every continent and in many countries. And everywhere he preached, massive revivals would break out. So one day, people from a nearby community who had heard of Gipsy came to him and said, “Our town is spiritually dead. What can we do to start a revival?”
Gipsy replied, “I’ll tell you exactly what you should do. Go home, lock yourself in your bedroom, and take a piece of chalk. Put a circle on the floor of your bedroom, kneel in that circle, and pray fervently and brokenly that God will start revival in that circle.”
Perhaps today you’re earnestly looking for a revival to begin. You’ve prayed for friends and family members to come to know the Lord, but haven’t seen the fruit of those prayers come about. But have you ever thought that maybe God wants to do a powerful work in your own life first?
Throughout my years of ministry, one thing has become apparent to me when it comes to revival: it’s contagious. Revival spreads revival. So the best way to start a revival among those around you is to ignite a revival in your own heart first!
Now you may be thinking, “Warren, I’ve been a faithful Christian for years. Are you telling me that I need a revival in my life?” The answer is without a doubt, yes! God’s work of renewal and revival in us is never complete. This means that every day, you and I should pray desperately for God to ignite a spark that will explode into deep, personal revival, which will spread like wildfire to those around us!
But if only God can provide the spark of revival, then what’s your responsibility? Well, quite simply, your job is to provide the kindling so the flame will spread as soon as it’s ignited. And that kindling of personal revival consists of two elements: prayer and reading the Word.
Now, the kind of prayer I’m talking about here isn’t just before you eat a meal or when you go to bed at night. True, biblical prayer is much more than an event. It’s a lifestyle. That’s why the apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
When continual prayer becomes a lifestyle, you’ll find yourself having deeper conversations with God during your daily routine than you’ve ever had. For example, I’ll often find myself talking to the Lord while I’m getting dressed in the morning or when I’m taking a walk. He’s right there and always has a listening ear, so why not talk to Him?
When it comes to reading the Word, I often get the question, “How often?” or “What should I read?” But instead of thinking so much about the quantity of what you’re reading, focus more on the quality of your time in the Bible. Don’t have the simplistic attitude that “a chapter a day keeps the devil away,” but truly engage Scripture to grow in the grace of God through methodical Bible study and meditation on your reading.
When you gather the right kind of kindling and pray for God to provide the spark, you’ll experience God in a whole new way as deep, meaningful revival takes over in your life. And not only that, but that fire of revival will spread to those around you as they see firsthand the grace of God lived out in your life!