Revival, for Martyn Lloyd-Jones, was real and powerful. The two primary characteristics of revivals throughout the history of the church, he exclaimed in the 1959 Puritan Conference, are an “extraordinary enlivening of the members of the church” and “the conversion of masses of people.” Lloyd-Jones argued consistently for a tremendous need for such a revival. Only through the experience of revival would the church become––as had happened in the past––“alive and full of power, and of vigour, and of might.”13 All other remedies or solutions to the needs of the time were hoplessly inadequate.
Writing a foreword for his friend Philip Hughes in 1947, Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, “There is no subject which is of greater importance to the Christian church at the present time than that of revival. It should be the theme of our constant meditation, preaching and prayers.”1 He described his daily prayer for revival as “an unusual and single manifestation of God’s power through the Holy Spirit.”2
Throughout Lloyd-Jones’ life and ministry, his conviction regarding the crucial importance of revival––and of preaching about it––never wavered.3 He recognized that the only source of authentic and enduring hope for the church, in experiencing the reality of revival was deeply rooted in the model and method of the New Testament church.
The revival in Acts 4, a continuation of the powerful work begun in Acts 2, was accompanied by submission and prayer to a sovereign God (vv. 24–30), wise and bold use of the Word of God (vv. 25–26, 31), and unity and love of the people of God (vv. 32–35).
Revival is, therefore, more than the rededication of believers; it is also the awakening, or quickening, or impartation of spiritual life to the unregenerate. Additionally, we may also identify revival as the conversion of sinners to salvation in Christ. Quite significantly, these two meanings (rededication and regeneration) appear in the spiritual and scriptural concept of revival.
In a series of sermons at Westminster Chapel in 1959, addressing the subject of revival, Lloyd-Jones suggested revivals were “in a sense a repetition of the day of Pentecost.”4 He continued, “The essence of a revival is that the Holy Spirit comes down upon a number of people together, upon a whole church, upon a number of churches, districts, or perhaps a whole country. That is what is meant by revival. It is, if you like, a visitation of the Holy Spirit, or another term that has often been used is this––an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”5