Experiencing Revival: 5 Documented Revivals in the History of the Church

Revival is spiritual reawakening. It renews a person’s love for God, increases passion for God’s word, and births holiness. When we seek God’s face for revival, we pray for a move that will change history.

Revival opens our eyes to see the truth in ways that we haven’t. The church has experienced several revivals from the time of the Pentecost to date. In this post, we will look at five documented revivals in the history of the church.

Documented Revivals in the History of the Church

The church has experienced so many revivals, encounters, and miracles. We would not have enough space if we decided to talk about every revival that has occurred to date. For this reason, we will focus our discussion on just five of these revivals in this post.

The Great Awakening (1734 – 1743)

A meeting during the Great Awakening

Source: illumeably

We have the first documentation of revival in the modern church in December 1734. This revival broke out in a church in Northampton where Jonathan Edwards was the pastor. Edwards had reported that he had experienced several months of fruitful labor before the revival with between five and six converts.

Jonathan Edwards

Source: Christianity Today

One of his converts was a young woman who rose to be one of the best company-keepers in the town. Edwards was afraid that this woman’s conversion would slow things down, but it did the opposite. Over the next six months, 300 individuals out of the population of 1,100 in the town had turned to Christ. The news of their conversion quickly spread and sparked similar revivals in more than 100 towns.

The Businessmen’s Revival (1857 – 1858)

The North Dutch Church located in New York asked Jeremiah Lanphier, a businessman, to be a missionary in 1857. Lanphier prayed to God, asking what He would have him do. He decided to make a provision for business people to pray by opening the church at noon.

Jeremiah Lanphier

Source: Bethel Life

The first prayer meeting for business people in New York was held on September 23, three weeks after the 1857 Bank Panic. Just six people attended the first prayer meeting, and it rose to twenty the next week, then forty. 

Soon, they changed from running the prayer meetings weekly to praying daily. Before long, there was no space to hold the attendants and other churches caught the fire. This revival soon spread to the rest of the United States and all over the world. Records have it that at least 1 million people were added to the American church.

The Urban Revivals (1875 – 1885)

Dwight L. Moody

Source: Christianity Today

Dwight L. Moody was a young businessman that had experienced and partook in The Businessman’s Revival of 1857. He conducted several meetings all through the British Isles, speaking to over 2.5 million individuals.

Moody returned to the United States in 1875 and began revivals in some of the biggest cities in the country. Several hundred thousand were converted during his meetings, and he inspired millions. D.L. Moody is regarded by many as the most outstanding soul-winner of his time. Despite being recognized in this light, he also came under a lot of criticism. He was even accused of using religion as the “opium of the masses.”

The Azusa Street Revival (1906)

This revival is one of the most popular that the church has experienced in modern history. An African-American pastor, William J. Seymour, went for a pastoral job in Los Angeles. Interestingly, he wasn’t allowed to minister in the second service after he preached for the first. 

William J. Seymour

Source: Revival Library

Seymour began prayer meetings somewhere close by, and God’s Spirit fell after several months of prayer meetings. Soon, the interracial crowds were so large that they needed to acquire a Methodist Church located at 312 Azusa Street. The daily prayer meetings continued here for another three years, and it birthed the “Pentecostal Movement” and the “Charismatic Movement.”

The Mid-1990s Revival 

Our world experienced widespread secularization from the time of the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s. However, God brought up several revivals in the mid-1990s, especially to Pentecostal and Charismatic groups. Some of these revivals include:

  • The Toronto Blessing (1995)
  • Melbourne Revival 
  • Modesto Revival
  • Brownsville Revival

Asides from these, several college revivals swept across the United States all through the mid-1990s. 


Revival always leaves a mark on any generation that experiences it. We have shown you five documented revivals in church history in this post. Check out GodKulture for other articles that show you how to experience personal revival.

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