These few pages are an attempt to describe a revolutionary experience in my own life, and in that of many others, of the way of continuous revival. I have known no other word from God which so simply and thoroughly reaches down to where ordinary folks live, and is found by us to be the secret of victorious living. By no means is it something which God has personally revealed to me. It has been the working secret which has been bringing continuous revival to thousands in East Central Africa over a period of sixteen years. It was the fact that there was such a thing as continuous revival which first caught my interest some years ago when I heard of this constant movement of the Spirit in the area of the Ruanda Medical Mission, a field of the Church Missionary Society, for I felt that was exactly what we, in the ranks of our own Society needed both at home and abroad. Various personal contacts with Africans and missionaries from the revival area deepened my conviction that God had given them the key we needed, for I saw some of our own staff transformed and quickened into marvelous newness of life and ministry through quite short contacts with them. Finally the door of opportunity was opened to me in 1950 to pay a short visit myself to Ruanda and Uganda. I had worked in Central Africa with C. T. Studd over a period of years and so had some understanding of African ways of life. What follows is an attempt to put into words what God taught me personally through that visit and what I have found to be a blessing to many others. First, it has meant a new discovery by me and many others of what we mean by "revival." When we come down to it in simplest form, it means the re-viving of dead areas in our lives. I remember when I first heard two from Ruanda speaking very quietly and simply for two days in our London Headquarters to about ninety of our staff. At the last meeting, they very quietly opened the door for any present to say anything that was on their hearts. Very soon one and another were bringing to the light areas in their lives where they had come face to face with sin unobserved by them before and were bringing them to the cleansing blood. I got a real shock at the end when one of the two quietly said, "I don't know if you realize it friends, but this IS revival!"
The transforming truth of that statement took time to sink in and is still sinking in! It began to shake me out of the misconception of years, that revival could only come in great soul-shaking outpourings of the Spirit. Thank God for such when they do come; they have been the great and precious hurricanes of the Spirit in the history of the Church. But I saw the defeatism and almost hopelessness that so many of us had fallen into by thinking that we could do nothing about revival except pray, often rather unbelievingly, and wait until the heavens rent and God came down. But now I see that "revival" in its truest sense in an everyday affair right down within the reach of everyday folk to be experienced in our hearts, homes and churches, and in our fields of service. When it does burst forth in greater and more public ways, thank God; but meanwhile we can see to it that we are being ourselves constantly revived persons, which of course also means that others are getting revived in our own circles. By this means God can have channels of revival by the thousands in all the churches of the world! And this is just what I found in Africa, and what I am attempting to describe in these pages; not, all glory and praise to God, just the passing on of a mere theory, but what has come to me by living with and seeing continuous revival in action among communities of hundreds in Africa; by experiencing the same working of the Spirit in my own life; by examining and grasping in some measure the Scriptural basis of this continuous revival, and finally by seeing God move in revival in many others through the presentation of the message and testimony. It has been a matter of seeing, learning, experiencing and transmitting, and now endeavoring to outline in print.
The truth is that revival is really the Reviver in action, and He came two thousand years ago at Pentecost. Revival is not so much a vertical outpouring from heaven, for the Reviver is already here in His temple, the bodies of the redeemed; it is more a horizontal outmoving of the Reviver through these temples into the world. It is a horizontal, rather than a vertical movement, and the importance of this fact will be seen later.