Acts 2 Revival Power: Why pray for spiritual awakening?

Background: Jesus was not treated as a rock star as many think

1/ Jesus preached repentance, not a popular message

Matthew 4:17 (NLT) From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

2/ The crowds liked the miracles and free food, but not the message

Luke 4:28-30 (NLT) When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. 29  Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, 30  but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.

3/ The people and rabbis argued with him and rejected him and his message.

John 6:41-42 (NLT) Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42  They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

4/ Many disciples quit following him

John 6:64-67 (NLT) But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) 65  Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” 66  At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. 67  Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

5/ The Pharisaic Rabbis plotted to murder Jesus

Matthew 12:10-14 (NLT)where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.) 14  Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.  

6/ After Jesus raised Lazarus all the Jewish council planned to kill him.

John 11:47-53 (GW) So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council. They asked, “What are we doing? This man is performing a lot of miracles. 53  From that day on, the Jewish council planned to kill Jesus.  

7/ The crowds demanded that Jesus be crucified

John 19:14-15 (NLT) It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people, “Look, here is your king!”15  “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!” “What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.

8/ The disciples feared the people and stayed in hiding after Jesus was crucified

John 20:19 (AMP) Then on that same first day of the week, when it was evening, though the disciples were behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace to you!

9/ But Jesus had a secret weapon for the church

Luke 24:46-49 (NKJV) Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”


Acts 1:8, Acts 2

1/ Jesus promised the disciples a power they never had before, that would make them successful witnesses

(Acts 1:8) (NLT) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Power = superhuman force

Comes = overwhelming influence

Upon = superimposed

Example of this superhuman force…

Throw a bullet at a charging angry bear – it will make him even angrier. BUT, put the bullet in the rifle and fire it, then the power and force of the bullet will stop the bear.

So this statement means that the new spiritual force would come upon them to make their preaching and witnessing so miraculous that hardened unbelievers would wonderfully hear the Good News and repent. Presently they were afraid of the Jewish opposition and only a small group followed Jesus, but the promise meant a dramatic and miraculous change was coming.

2/ This promised power was released by the Holy Spirit coming upon them at Pentecost. (Acts 2)

A/ Like an atomic bomb this power engulfed all the Christians that were gathered together and they all opened their mouths and proclaimed the truth (Acts 2:1-13)

Jesus did not say wait until they see these things nor were they promised to them…

1/ A sound of a mighty windstorm that everyone in town could hear (2:2,6)

2/ A flaming fire over their heads (2:3)

3/ A new human language they never spoke before (2:4,6-12)

No, He promised a new force that would propel their words into people’s hearts with a supernatural force that would compel unbelievers to repent.

B/ Peter preached with the promised power and his words had this unexplained ability to wound men’s consciences and force them to be sorry for their spiritual crimes. (Acts 2:22-36)

1/ Peter called them to admit what just happened was from God (2:14-21)

2/ Peter challenged them to admit Jesus was the Messiah (2:22-35)

3/ Peter convinced 3000 of the crowd that they rejected and crucified their own Savior, the long hoped for Messiah (2:23,36)

3/ This same promise and power is God’s provision for you and me today (Acts 2:39)

Let’s first look back at recent American History. I will list a simple timeline to reveal how and when this promised power was released in my lifetime. In the midst of social upheaval and disaster, God poured out His Spiritual power.

November 22, 1963, President Kennedy Assassinated

Riots began on July 16, 1964, when a police officer killed a young black boy in Harlem.

December 19, 1964 First coordinated nationwide protests against the Vietnam War included demonstrations in New York City (sponsored by War Resisters League, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Committee for Nonviolent Action, the Socialist Party, and the Student Peace Union and attended by 1500 people), San Francisco (1000 people), Minneapolis, Miami, Austin, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, Boston, Cleveland, and other cities.

1964-1972 Major unrest and protests rage against the war by many including many college-aged young people.

On August 11, 1965, police used excessive force while arresting a black man in Watts, a black neighborhood in Los Angeles, for drunk driving.

1966, Pastor Bill McLeod begins praying for revival in his church, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Even a national political leader called out for prayer for revival on a national broadcast and others joined in prayer. He shared on a radio show, Revive Our Hearts that his church of 175 had no heart to win souls: “they didn’t have a heart to do it, and I started praying for revival.”

Five years before the revival in 1971, I got our deacons to meet every Saturday night at 9:00 for an hour or so to pray for revival. We had ten deacons in the church. We averaged about seven in attendance in those Saturday night prayers meetings. The first night we did this, the next day was Sunday.”

“Sunday morning in the church we had a powerful moving of the Holy Spirit of God. People were leaving the congregation during the service and trying to find a room where they could be alone to pray. It was if God was saying, “You are on the right track. Stay with it!” That was five years before the revival.

On another occasion, at a deacon’s meeting, I think all I said was something like, “We’re going to have a time of prayer. Brother, it’s not much use to pray if we have unconfessed sin in our heart.” God just broke in on the brethren.

I used to tell people about the prayer meeting: Miss Sunday morning if you have to, miss Sunday evening if you must, but don’t ever miss the prayer meeting unless you’re dead.”

[Read more here]

In Newark, on July 12, 1967, police beat a black cab driver while trying to arrest him.

In the early morning hours of July 23, 1967, Detroit police raided an after-hours bar and arrested 80 patrons. A crowd gathered outside and rocks were thrown at police cars, breaking their windows. The rioting increased and began to spread, with rioters outnumbering police.

1967 By most accounts, the Jesus People Movement began in 1967 with the opening of a small storefront evangelical mission called the Living Room in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district. Though other missionary type organizations had preceded them in the area, this was the first one run solely by street Christians.

Within a short time of these first stirrings, a number of independent Christian communities sprang up all across North America. In Seattle, the Jesus People Army was born in response to a vision experienced by evangelist Linda Meissner, who had seen an “army of teenagers marching for Jesus.” On the Sunset Strip, evangelist Arthur Blessitt opened the His Place nightclub and coffeehouse as a 24 hour way station for youth. At the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Jack Sparks and some other members of Campus Crusade decided to begin a countercultural outreach program called the Christian Liberation World Front (CWLF) directed towards reaching campus radicals.

Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) Assassinated

Bobby Kennedy was assassinated June 6, 1968, Los Angeles, CA

1969 Duncan Campbell preaches to Ebenezer Baptist Church. Bill explains on the same radio show: Pastor McLeod: We had Duncan Campbell with us in Saskatoon two years before the revival. He was a godly, godly person. It was so great to talk with him. There’s an old saying, “If you ever go through revival fire, you have the smell of revival smoke on your clothes until the day you die.” And that’s true. You’ll never forget it. No matter what happens, you’ll remember what you saw God do. Then you’ll know what God can do.

That was a challenge to us. We did see revival in the church when he came, but God used him in the congregation. Some people were wonderfully helped and blessed by his ministry at that time.

Dr. Henry Blackaby: Before he left he said, “I’m not given to visions, but God has given me a vision of revival fires breaking out all across Canada from one coast to the other.”

Nancy: This is Henry Blackaby, remembering Duncan Campbell’s visit and his hope for revival in Canada.

Dr. Blackaby: “When it will be, I do not know. But that it will be, God has given me full assurance.”

On February 3, 1970, students and faculty members had shown up at the college’s chapel, Hughes auditorium, for what they assumed would be one more routine meeting. One morning in 1970, without warning, all heaven broke loose during Asbury College’s 10 a.m. chapel service.

“When you walked into the back of Hughes Auditorium … there was a kind of an aura, kind of a glow about the chapel,” said Dr. David Hunt, a Louisville physician who was then a student.

“I always have been reminded of the verse ‘Take off your shoes, for you are standing on holy ground.’ You just walked in and sensed that God had indeed sent His Spirit.”

The service, a routine meeting, was scheduled for 50 minutes. Instead, it lasted 185 hours non-stop, 24 hours a day. Intermittently, it continued for weeks. Ultimately, it spread across the United States and into foreign countries. Some say it is being felt even today.

This year marks the 21st anniversary of the landmark 1970 Asbury College revival, an unplanned, unled display of fervor that has been compared to the Great Awakenings of 1740 and 1800.

[Read more here]

Jimi Hendrix died of a drug-related accident from barbiturate-related asphyxia: September 18, 1970 age 27.

Janis Joplin died October 4, 1970 of a drug overdose, aged 27.

On the morning of Saturday, July 3, 1971, Jim Morrison died of a heart attack, brought on by drugs, age 27.

FENTON MOOREHEAD led the youth ministry First Baptist West Palm Beach: His outreach ministry began in a two-story home near PBA’s campus that became known as the One Way House. Worship services were held there five nights a week, he said.

“People came to Christ every night that we were open,” Moorhead said.

During the summer of 1971, he gathered a group of students, set up tents, and spread the gospel at rock concerts across south Florida.

“It was just an unbelievable movement of God,” Moorhead said. “Thousands of people were flooding the tent, waiting to hear and read about the hope of Jesus Christ.

Southern Baptists mostly kept the hippies, even the new believers, at arm’s (and nose) length, but after Calvary Chapel, two of the most significant churches in the growing movement were First Baptist Church, Houston, with pastor John Bisagno, and First Baptist Church, West Palm Beach, Florida, and pastor Jess Moody.

September 1971 I (Randy Bell) fell under deep conviction of sin and was converted. Then called to preach by God during the early part of 1972, and without knowing it, God directed me to Palm Beach Atlantic in West Palm Beach for the fall 1972 semester where a part of the great revival was flowing from heaven.

And I did not realize at the time, but the powerful spread of the Canadian Revival was flowing across Michigan where I lived and many were falling under conviction. Over the next few years, we met many who were hungry for the things of God. 

[Read more]

Romans 3:19 (NLT) Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.

Romans 5:5 (NKJV) Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

October 13, 1971 Revival meetings begin at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Twin brothers Lou and Ralph Sutera led the meetings. Ralph writes, “We started the meetings in Saskatoon with about 190 people present. Not much happened that first night. The second night God got hold of a lady in the church who had been praying for a revival in Canada. God said to her: “How hypocritical can you be? You are praying for revival in Canada and you can’t even stand your own pastor’s wife.” The lady made things right with the pastor’s wife. Then God spoke to her husband. “What about your brother that you have not spoken to for two years?” He and his brother had a spat thirteen years earlier and for two years they had not spoken to each other. They used to sing together; now one was in a different church. One night in the basement of the church, one brother wanted to make things right and the other one said stiffly, “Well, it’s about time you made it right.” Bill McLeod tells how the workers prayed and quoted the Scriptures, and saw God break and melt those hearts to the glory of God. Revival was on! And it began to spread.” 

[Read more]

I (Randy Bell) don’t remember the exact year, but after the Sutera Twins were in Saskatoon they led meetings in Grand Rapids, MI, and my friends and I attended. It was a large church and lots of people were already packed in when we arrived. We ended up toward the back and got to our seats. After a few minutes, someone came to the podium and offered any who were in need of prayer to stand up and move to the sides. He also promised they would take them to a prayer room and counselors would help them. All my friends got up and left.

I sat through the service and nothing emotional or exciting happened. The message was clear and plainly spoken but conviction fell upon the people even more and when the invitation was given many others stood up who needed prayer. My friends later told me they were so convicted while just sitting there they hoped they would have a way to go pray. A mighty spiritual move was happening all around our area in Michigan and repentance was the result.

In the fall of 1972 Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama found themselves flooded in a spiritual awakening. “Erwin wasn’t the first spiritual voice in the story, though. A former home-builder named Wales Goebel became burdened for teenagers and visited area high schools to dare students to trust in Jesus.”

“One day he (Erwin) presented this Good News to the somewhat anger-filled football team at Woodlawn.”

“‘That day, we saw everyone come down out of the stands and give their lives to Jesus Christ,’ Erwin explains, still with astonishment in his voice more than 40 years later. ‘It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen. I spent the next two years with them.’”

And hundreds came to Jesus in the next 2 years…

[Read more]

August 9, 1974 On this day in 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommends that America’s 37th president, Richard M. Nixon, be impeached and removed from office. The impeachment proceedings resulted from a series of political scandals involving the Nixon administration that came to be collectively known as Watergate. And so with impeachment and removal by the Senate all but certain, on August 9, 1974, Nixon became the first president to resign.

Those years (71-75) stand as the greatest evangelistically in SBC history: over 400k baptisms every year. We have never seen more in a year than ’72, with 445k, including the highest number of youth ever (137k). Ronnie Floyd, SBC president, was baptized that year. We are reaching just over half that many teens today.

4/ Sin prevents us from being provided with this promised power. (Acts 2:38)

Acts 2:38-39 (NKJV) Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit39  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”


1/ EXAMINE YOURSELF WITH THE LAW OF GOD AND FACE YOUR JUDGE JUST LIKE YOU WOULD IN A COURTROOM (because the law of God creates guilt). [Exodus 20, Matthew 5-7, Galatians 5, Ephesians 2]

“Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.” [Romans 3:19 (NLT)]

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” [Gal 5:19-21 (NLT)]


“Come close to God and he will come close to you. Realize that you have sinned and get your hands clean again. Realize that you have been disloyal and get your hearts made true once more. As you come close to God you should be deeply sorry, you should be grieved, you should even be in tears. Your laughter will have to become mourning, your high spirits will have to become heartfelt dejection. You will have to feel very small in the sight of God before he will set you on your feet once more.” [James 4:8 (Phillips NT)]

3/ THEN FULLY REPENT AND FOLLOW JESUS [OBEDIENT LIKE A SLAVE], YOUR NEW LORD (because only deep godly sorrow creates true repentance).

“For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death].“ [2 Cor 7:10 (AMP)]

“Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need.” [Eph 4:28 (AMP)]

True repentance means first to stop your sinful crime and in our example of a thief that is only the first step because this is only partial repentance. Next, the thief must get a job and earn his money. But this is still partial repentance because it does not deal with the heart of the sin, GREED. A greedy person steals and cheats, but a fearful or careful greedy person just works hard to stuff his own pockets. Here the Bible explains that true and full repentance is only proven when the ex-thief makes a 180 and joyfully gives some of his hard earned money to needy people.


Dear God,

I realize you are the Almighty God, the Creator of all things, including me and the only one who is all powerful,  good and fair. Because of this, you have the right to establish the law of the world and I now bow to your authority. I have broken your law _________ [be specific and admit your sins by filling in the blank], and I am grieved and sad in how I have acted.

Please forgive me! I accept your offer of forgiveness through Jesus dying in the place of my judgment. I turn from all the sinful crimes I am practicing, I have no excuses, And I now am grateful for your mercy. I choose to follow my Lord Jesus by obedience to His commands all my days. AMEN

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