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The Domains of Revival

by Doug DeFord | Published March 18, 2023

See Part 1 – What is Revival

One of the definitions of domain is, “a sphere of activity, concern, or function.” There are several different domains or sphere of revival, in that broad sense of the word.

The individual domain

Revival can happen on an individual level. For several reasons, I believe this is the most important domain. 

First, because you cannot have revival on any other level without individual revival. It’s like worship. You cannot have corporate worship if individuals are not worshipping. You can have individual worship without corporate worship. You can worship on Sunday morning even if no one else is. But if there are no individuals worshipping then there is no corporate worship. You can have individual worship without corporate worship, but not the other way around. You can have individual revival without corporate revival. But you can’t have corporate revival if individuals are not revived. 

Second, it’s the only level of revival that you can directly control. Now, in no way am I suggesting that you can pull yourself up by your own spiritual bootstraps. But, by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit, you can have individual revival. Moreover, God wants you to have spiritual revival and has already given you the resources to accomplish it. 

Third, though we might rightfully acknowledge the need for revival in other people, it will never happen as long as we all think revival is only needed by others. Our primary focus must be our own need. We are often guilty of thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. We need embrace the attitude portrayed in the old Spiritual, “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer!” Revival will never start if it always has to start with others. It’s like how everyone wants to “clean out” Congress but keeps voting for their own congressman. He’s not the problem. It’s everybody else’s congressman who’s the problem. It’s the same kind of thing with revival. “Boy, if only everyone else would just get revived.” In other words, “If only everyone else was like me.” That attitude has to go.

The corporate domain

There’s also corporate revival, by which I mean the revival that can happen in any given local church. Individual revival is bound to affect the whole church. Obviously, the more individuals experiencing revival, the greater impact on the church. All churches need to experience revival to where all idolatry is becoming increasingly overcome and they are increasing devoted to their God. 

The universal domain

The third domain or sphere of revival is universal revival. By “universal” I don’t mean anything that hints of universalism, the idea that all people will be saved and go to heaven. Rather, I’m suggesting that the Universal Church – the family of God beyond the local church – can experience revival. 

Let’s just keep it simple and stick to the church in our own country. I do not hesitate for one moment to say that the church in America is in desperate need of revival. There’s no question the American church was once much less idolatrous than it is now. I’m not saying that the church in America ever attained (not even close). But at the same time, the church in America is not what it once was. We need a revival to bring us back to and beyond where we were.

The national domain

The fourth domain I want to be careful with. It’s national revival. We often hear people say, “America needs revival.” They’re thinking in terms of the country as a whole, not just the church in the country. There’s a point to be made here, but this differs from the other levels of revival significantly. 

The first thing we have to ask ourselves is, “Was America ever truly a Christian nation?” I for one am not prepared to say so. Debating that point is beyond the scope of this article. I will say this: America was founded on the basis on Christian principles which we’ve not merely strayed from but have absolutely rejected as a nation. In that sense, we certainly need revival. We need to be restored to our foundations. But don’t think for a moment there was ever a time in America’s history where everybody was a Christian. I think we restore our foundations and still not have the majority of Americans believe in Christ. 


Let us pray that God will bring revival to all four of these domains!

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