This past week Timothy Keller wrote a blog post on revival and the means in which biblical revival comes. He used the classic book, Sprague's Lectures on Revival of Religion from 1832 to glean five things that are present in genuine revival:
1. Extra-ordinary Prayer
2. Recovery of the Grace in the Gospel
3. Renewed individuals who experience the presence of God
4. Gospel application (counseling) on individuals and and groups
5. The means of grace communicated in a new way.
As helpful as Keller's post was in considering some of the factors that are in involved when God spreads his grace through a congregation, city, or nation in a renewed way; I could not help but think of preaching as the central means that God uses for revival.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "Is it not clear, as you take a bird's eye view of Church history, that the decadent periods in and eras in the history of the Church have always been those periods where preaching has declined? What is it that always heralds the new dawn of a Reformation or a revival? It is renewed preaching. Not only a new interest in preaching but a new kind of preaching. A revival of true preaching has always heralded these great movements in the history of the Church. And of course, when the Reformation and Revival come they have always led to great and notable periods of the greatest preaching that the Church has ever known." Preachers and Preaching, 24.
Does the Church of Christ want revival? If she does then she needs to invest in good preachers. She needs to be committed to equipping and raising up men who have been called to preach with passion, unction, and clarity. And again- this drives us full circle- to prayer. Pray that Christ would raise up men to proclaim the Word in extraordinary ways. Pray that God would revive and reform- and equip our preachers.