Editorial: When Revival Comes to Town
Everyone talks about the revival of 1970. If you were in Wilmore for the 1970 revival, it left its mark. God’s powerful movement in that time meant you were never the same.
Nearly 30 years later, I was born in a tiny town far away from Kentucky. Some of my classmates at seminary grew up hearing tales of the revival, but I only heard of it when I started at Asbury. I couldn’t help but hear about it. Every time there was a corporate prayer gathering, it involved prayer for revival. Certainly, I’ve experienced such prayer before, but it felt different at ATS. Here, it was the pleading of a people who saw God move so clearly, and who hoped and prayed beyond hope that He would do it again.
The kind of stories we tell about ourselves say a lot about who we are. Many institutions of Christian higher education (Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary among them) tell stories of God’s provision against all odds. One such story entered the repertoire of ATS over 50 years ago. As I write, another one is entering the history books.
Asbury University’s chapel service on February 8, 2023, started at 10am, and went on for over two weeks. People from near and far entered Hughes Auditorium to worship in prayer and song. God has been saving some, healing others, and relieving burdens in a stark, obvious way. There are very able summaries of how this movement of the Spirit began and what God has done – those desiring more details can likely find them.
When we pray for revival, what are we actually asking for? I wrestled with this since starting seminary last fall. Are we praying for 1970, or for a fresh move of the Spirit? Will we recognize God working in new ways, even if it doesn’t look the way we expect?
The obvious danger is that of so many Jews in Jesus’ day. They were so fixated on what they thought the Messiah should look like that they missed Him. However, God’s action is often unscripted – He comes in ways that we would not expect. He speaks in the gentle whisper, and He comes as a helpless baby, not to conquer militarily, but to die as a ransom for many.
Another question that has plagued me since hearing about what God has done is this: We have prayed for revival, but will we embrace it when it comes? I’ve wondered if perhaps our culture is too distracted and impatient to really be stoked to renewed life in Christ. But, praise be to God, I was wrong. No apathy or hostility is so great that He cannot overcome it. God is doing something in Wilmore, KY – please keep us in your prayers, and prepare your hearts for when this fresh move of the Spirit comes to you. He has moved before, and He is doing it again. Thanks be to God!
This article is written by Julia Hotchkiss, Alumni Office Student Worker.
We thank God for this great awakening in our generation. May we pass it on to the next generation.
I was in both the 1958 and 1970 revivals at Asbury. Now after 53 years barren from such a surge in the academic community, I rejoice in the spontaneous student-led revival at Asbury University again! And I praise God!