Finally, Spirit-worked revival is always accompanied by saving faith. This is abundantly illustrated on Pentecost (Acts 2:41, 44), in the church’s growth in the early chapters of Acts, and throughout the history of revival. Wherever we turn in Scripture, God’s people triumph whenever they are given great exploits. They triumph because they believe the promises of God revealed in the gospel. Hebrews 11:33 tells us, “Faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.” Our attitude to revival must not be passive or faint. We must storm the mercy seat, pleading God’s promises, and trusting Him who is able to fill the earth with the knowledge of Himself. In the weeks after Pentecost, when the apostles were persecuted and forbidden to preach the name of Christ, they went forward by faith. Let us pray much for the power of faith that lays hold of the promises of God in prayer. John Bunyan beautifully illustrates this in The Pilgrim’s Progress, when Christian and Hopeful fall asleep on the grounds of Giant Despair and are taken in chains into Doubting Castle. In that miserable hole, they are terrified by the Giant as he shows them the bones of various pilgrims he has smashed and broken in pieces. “So it shall be with you,” he says. Christian and Hopeful are terrified, Bunyan says, until Saturday night, when they begin to pray. They continue to pray through the night. Finally, at dawn, Christian suddenly stands up and says to Hopeful, “What a fool am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty? I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting-Castle. Then said Hopeful, That’s good news, good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom and try.”15 And so they did. Prayer, which preceded the promise, enabled them to take hold of the promise, so that, almost before they knew it, the pilgrims were loosed from their chains and brought through the grim doors of the castle to freedom. So it is with the church. We are helpless and bereft of strength, but God has commanded us to pray in faith. He has told us that we shall not seek His face in vain. When the church truly prays, it is clothed with the Spirit’s fire from heaven.

~ Joel Beeke