Could I be gut honest for a moment?

Many of us have been praying for awakening and revival for a long time. As our nation grows spiritually darker, the need for renewal blazes brighter.

What’s being called a revival broke out at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, on February 8, 2023. As of this writing, it has now lasted twelve days, and has spread to several states and even countries. Many have questioned if it is “real,” as we should. After all, the Bible tells us to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1).

I have not had the opportunity to be there myself, but I have read everything about it I can find. It seems most everyone who attends comes away weepy, touched by the power of God’s love they experienced. God, not man. Nothing fancy, just humility and a hunger for God. No screens, no lights, no fog machines. Not a lot of instruments, no particular worship leader, no popular prophet or preacher. Many have stood out in the cold or rain for hours waiting to get in. Once inside they sit on hard seats or stand because there are no seats left. They’ve gone without sleep and without food, hungry only for God.

I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. Isaiah 57:15 NKJV

It’s ironic that the very generation we’ve been trying to attract with loud music, fancy lights, and fog machines is the very generation who is responding to God’s Spirit without any of those things. Just a simple contrite spirit, repentance, and a sincere yearning for God’s love and mercy.

Is that not real enough?

As I pondered the skepticism, the thought came to me, do people not think it’s real because it’s not what’s familiar to them, what they’re used to? Many Christians seem to have their own version of cancel culture these days. We cancel each other when others don’t do things like we do them in our church. The enemy loves this.

We’re so used to “doing” church the way we’re used to doing church in our particular denomination, we think we’re the only one getting it right.

I don’t think any of us have it completely right.

Respectfully, we don’t need fog machines, not because of whatever we think of fog machines and their place in the church, but because a lot of the church has been in a bit of a fog for a while. In the documentary, Sheep Among Wolves, about the growing Church in Iran, a Christian Iranian couple who came to the United States returned to Iran after several months. The reason? They said, “There’s a satanic lullaby here. All the Christians are sleepy.”

The lukewarmness that threatened their hunger for God outweighed severe persecution and possible death.

While many of us here remain in a fog—and not because of fog machines.

Too many of us go to our timed service, sing our three planned songs (and they better be ones we like), listen to announcements of our upcoming activities, hear a pep talk (in too many cases), and quickly leave so we can get to lunch, or let the next group of weary wanderers in for another prearranged service and pep talk.

What room is there for the Holy Spirit?

I leave hungry, not for lunch, but for a real move of the God’s Spirit among His people.

Could this be what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote about those who have “a form of godliness, but deny its power”? (2 Timothy 3:5).

Not to mention how the world keeps us distracted and consumed all week long, making it difficult to spend much real quality time with God outside of church.

I can’t help wondering:

Do we really know what being in the Lord’s presence is like anymore? Or do we just know what it feels like to be in church?

Are we so afraid it may only be an “emotional experience” that we’ve swung in the total opposite direction and have quenched the Holy Spirit instead?

Do we really love Jesus, or just the songs about Him?

A packed Wilmore area hotel remarked that they “were not prepared for a revival.” Are we?

I have little doubt what’s going on at Asbury is real. But I am concerned for many of us. If revival does not start in our own heart, we will not be the one to recognize it when it comes, no matter our denomination.

Let’s not forget, the religious of Jesus’ day didn’t recognize Him as the Messiah either.

If you’re one who has been wanting to go visit the revival at Asbury, let’s seek to have revival visit us—in our own heart, in our own church, in our own town. And we don’t have to wonder if it’s real with the people at Asbury. We only need to be sure it’s real in our own heart.

As I sit here reading about a revival I have long prayed for, I do wish I could be there. But I don’t need to be. Oh Lord, revive my heart right here, right now. I cry out with the Psalmist, My soul thirsts for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1 NLT).


What are your thoughts?

I believe awakening and revival is our only hope for our nation and our world (as per 2 Chronicles 7:14, which is talking to believers). And it looks like revival could be here. Let’s get ready! Pray it comes to your area and your heart.


We talked about revival on our podcast, Seeds of Hope, last week here.


Listen to “Lord Send Revival” song here.


If you would like to revive your prayer life, check out the book, Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World, here.


Thanks for stopping by!



  1. Ava Pennington on February 20, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    Thank you for this, Penny!

  2. Karen on February 20, 2023 at 1:54 pm

    So thankful you wrote about this … your questions are good – what we all wondered at times! Yes to wanting to go but why there why not here. Open our hearts Lord to You!

  3. Penny Cooke on February 20, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    Thank you, Ava!

  4. Penny Cooke on February 20, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Yes, open our hearts, Lord. Help the fire to burn in our hearts and spread in our area as well.
    Thanks, Karen!

  5. Jeanne Roberson on February 20, 2023 at 7:06 pm

    What a blessed time we live in to recognize the Glory of God amongst these young people. Thank you, Penny, for bringing this amazing event to the forefront of your readers. Praise God!! May this revival spread like wildfire out of control across this country! Hallelujah, Hallelujah!!
    Jeanne Roberson

  6. Loretta Beasley on February 23, 2023 at 1:33 am

    Very profound, and on target. Thanks again Penny!

  7. Del Bates on February 23, 2023 at 1:39 am

    I agree.. great things to ponder upon.. I love the part, As I pondered the skepticism, the thought came to me, do people not think it’s real because it’s not what’s familiar to them, what they’re used to?… Hmm.. that could be it!

  8. Penny Cooke on February 24, 2023 at 3:02 am

    Yes! Amen! Our young people are hungry and I pray they truly find Jesus.
    Thanks, Jeanne.

  9. Penny Cooke on February 24, 2023 at 3:03 am

    Thank you, Loretta. Let’s keep praying.

  10. Penny Cooke on February 24, 2023 at 3:07 am

    Thanks, Del. I pray it is genuine and lives are changed and our churches get packed. In Jesus’ name!
    Our young people so need it

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