“Revival for the Doctor meant more than evangelism that brings in converts, and more than cheerfulness, enthusiasm, and a balanced budget in the local church. What he was after was the new quality of spiritual life that comes through knowing the greatness and nearness of our holy, gracious Creator - something that in former days would have been called ‘enlargement of heart’, and that usually starts with a depended sense of the power and authority of God in the preaching of the biblical message. He had known a touch of this in his South Wales congregation, and had studied it in the recorded ministries of such as Whitefield and Edwards, and the annals of revival in Wales in 1859, and again in his childhood in 1904; and supremely he had perceived it in the New Testament witness to the intensity and depth of the post-pentecost era out of which the apostolic writings came. This and nothing less than this, was what revival meant to him.
The divine visitation that revives, he argued, cannot be precipitated by human effort, even though our not caring about it and not seeking it can effectively quench the Spirit and block it. To acknowledge our present impotence and cry to God for such a visitation is, as he saw it, a supreme priority for the Church today. But we shall not do this until we grasp the need for revival, and that will not happen until we see that nothing less can help us.”
J.I.Packer, foreword to ‘Revival’