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August 1, 2023

Prepare For Revival


Larry Sparks has written one of the best books on revival I have read in years. The title, Pentecostal Fire, is taken from the outpouring of Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Books such as this assure me of the coming revival, as do the young revivalists I see being prepared. I am also encouraged by the strategies and plans God is giving to many of His leaders, preparing them for the coming move of His Spirit. And then, of course, there are the prophecies being released regarding Holy Spirit’s amazing plans. These are just a few of the reasons I do not fear any shaking that may occur to restore America. It will prepare us, not destroy us.


Though Larry’s powerful and stirring book is filled with principles about preparing for and entering into revival, in the final chapter he challenges us regarding three idols we must address. Here is a portion of that chapter:


“I believe there are three idols that need to be identified, confronted, and demolished in order for us to make room for Pentecostal fire to manifest. It’s available now, but as it was in the days of Jesus’ birth, there is no room at the inn. We have not made room for the wild move of Pentecostal fire because, like with the inn of the Christmas story, we have filled our modern inns with other things. Simply stated, there is no space for Pentecost because we have filled God’s space with things He never asked for.


“No. 1: The Idol of Reputation


[Quoting revivalist Vance Havner]

“‘I believe with all my soul that when we quit depending on our gadgets and gimmicks and stand on nothing but the promises of God, risking our reputation and future on it, staking everything on a miracle instead of on men and machinery and mere money, the fire will fall.’ (1)


“…We are living in an era when the possibility of having a popular reputation, being followed by millions of people, and thus, financially benefiting from said reputation is unlike any other moment in history. We have entered the day of the celebrity pastor. The great revivalists of old, Jonathan Edwards, Smith Wigglesworth, Evan Roberts, even down to A. W. Tozer, Leonard Ravenhill, and Kathryn Kuhlman, have left an imprint on history, preaching uncompromised truth without having any social media status or high-yield email list. [emphasis Dutch’s]


“…If you decide to lay down preaching truth or trade welcoming the wild move of the Holy Spirit in order to be popular and polished, your efforts may result in temporary superficial success, but make no mistake, the truly spiritual will discern a lack of weight on what you share and speak. We need to heed and follow the words of the Apostle Paul: ‘For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ’ (Gal. 1:10).


“No. 2: The Idol of Religion


[Quoting C. Peter Wagner]

“‘The spirit of religion is an agent of Satan assigned to prevent change and to maintain the status quo by using religious devices.’ (2)


“The spirit of religion is not restrained to churches that feature pews, stained-glass windows, holy water, and organ music. In fact, I find this spirit to be more prevalent and insidious, working destructively and covertly, in contemporary sanctuaries - especially Charismatic churches. Often, those who claim a more Charismatic or Pentecostal theology accuse the more traditional churches of being religious, when in fact, those who know the things of the Spirit and have tasted of the ‘powers of the age to come’ can be the ones who actually miss God. They have, perhaps, fallen into the greatest snare of the serpent: they value concepts, conferences, events, receiving prophetic words, falling on the ground, speaking in tongues, and even prophesying about the new moves of the Holy Spirit more than demonstration and movement. Bottom line: the spirit of religion resists any forward movement for the Kingdom of God, seeking to influence honest believers into embracing the present state of Christianity as a ceiling or lid that cannot be moved.


“The spirit of religion especially loves First Corinthians 14:40. Earlier in the book, I wrote a whole chapter on the idea of ‘decently and in order’ and how God has a vision of Holy Spirit order that is often different from our comfort zone’s spiritual preferences. The spirit of religion will preach this verse out of context with great volume, insisting that anything that looks unusual, uncomfortable, or wild is certainly not the orderly, gentlemanly operation of the Holy Spirit.


“No. 3: The Idol of Rigidity


“Are we willing to be disrupted by God? Outbreaks of Pentecostal fire are released by breaker people who partner with Heaven’s divine interruptions. Duncan Campbell, the evangelist who was catalytic in the Hebrides Revival, described one of the key events that broke open the region for Holy Spirit outpouring:


‘Here is a scene witnessed during the first days of the movement: a crowded church, the service is over. The congregation, reluctant to disperse, stands outside the church in a silence that is tense. Suddenly a cry is heard within: a young man, burdened for the souls of his fellow men, is pouring out his soul in intercession. He prays until he falls into a trance and lies prostrate on the floor of the church. But Heaven had heard, and the congregation, moved by a power that they could not resist, came back into the church, and a wave of conviction of sin swept over the gathering, moving strong men to cry to God for mercy. This service continued until the small hours of the morning.’ (3)


“Note what happened: the cry was heard from the young man, pouring out his soul in intercession. In the modern Church, such would be observed as a distraction or interruption. Yes, there are fleshly responses that are not Holy Spirit motivated. But I am concerned that we have become so hard of spiritually seeing and hearing, as the priest Eli was in the days of Hannah and Samuel, that we automatically assume that all interruptions are the flesh. Rigidity shuts down divine interruption because there is no time in the meeting, no space in the schedule, or we simply assume all interruptions are fleshly.


“The Welsh Revival of 1904 had Evan Roberts boldly praying, ‘Bend me, O Lord.’ Azusa Street in 1906 saw William Seymour baptized in the Holy Spirit, speaking in other tongues - inviting the nations to enter into that same experience. The Toronto Blessing saw Randy Clark ministering on January 20, 1994, at the Airport Vineyard Church, Toronto, Canada, simply sharing his testimony and then giving the church an opportunity to come forward and receive a touch from God (like Randy had received on his quest for personal revival); that invitation broke open the revival. The Brownsville Revival was largely catalyzed by Pastor John Kilpatrick being dynamically overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit on Father's Day 1995. These invasions of Heaven were birthed into the earth by a person boldly welcoming the Holy Spirit's move and making room for His interruption in their midst. There is no room for rigidity when we claim to truly desire the authentic move of the Holy Spirit.”


We must prepare our hearts for what God is about to do, for regardless of what any future shaking might be, or how severe it is, I assure you it will be followed by incredible revival. Corrective actions and discipline from God are to mature and prepare us, not destroy us (Hebrews 12:4-13). Verse 10 tells us they are “for our good.” Prepare yourself for Holy Spirit’s great outpouring - it is coming!


Pray with me:


Father, You are determined to reap a harvest of unprecedented proportions. Your love demands it, Christ paid for it, and Holy Spirit will generate it. As we prepare to partner with You in this, we are not afraid of any work You must do to prepare us. We know Your heart is merciful, and You discipline as a Father, to prepare us for greater fruitfulness.


As we prepare, we choose to operate in the mind of Christ, who emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant (Philippians 2:5-8). We renounce and lay down the idols we’ve made of our reputations. In the future, we will seek to please You, not men (Galatians 1:10). Many in the church have chosen popularity over speaking truth; deliver us from this and replace it with a spirit of humility and boldness.


And we ask You to show us any places in our lives where we have tolerated a religious spirit, turning to “form without power,” or have prioritized religious actions and works over intimacy with You. Forgive us for protecting our “comfort zones” with a false interpretation of “decently and in order.” We want Your order, which is sometimes shocking in its intensity and uncomfortable to our flesh.


And we choose to become more flexible, rejecting the absurdity of putting You in man-made boxes. We determine to be pliable wineskins that can handle new wine. We do not care what revival looks like, as long as it comes from You. We also choose humility, acknowledging that we don’t know what Your actions will look like, only that they are good - always. We pray all of these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Our Decree:


We declare that we are flexible wineskins, that we trust our Father, and that He does all things well.



Click on the link below to watch the full video.


Much of today’s post was taken from the book, Pentecostal Fire, by Larry Sparks, published by Destiny Image. You can find out more about Larry at Larry Sparks Ministries.


  1. Vance, Haver. When God Breaks Through, ed. Dennis J. Hester (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2003). p. 58.

  2. Wagner, C. Peter. Changing Church (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2004). p. 19.

  3. Campbell, Duncan. Revival in the Hebrides. (N.p.: Kraus House Digital, 2015).


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