Worship Planning: Revive Us Again

William MacKay
William MacKay
Words: William Mackay
Music: John Husband
Key: G major
Time Sig: 3/4
Tempo: 102 BPM
CCLI #: 7214957 | [copy]

“Revive Us Again” is a heartfelt cry for renewal that has been stirring souls and igniting revival fires for over 150 years. When you introduce this timeless song to your congregation, you’re not just teaching them a new song; you’re inviting them into a rich legacy of faith and a powerful encounter with the living God!

Hymn History: Revive Us Again

The tale behind “Revive Us Again” is one that will give you goosebumps and set your heart ablaze. It’s the journey of Dr. William MacKay, a man who went from spiritual drift to divine destiny, all thanks to a life-changing encounter with a dying patient and a long-lost Bible.

Picture this: MacKay, a young doctor, is tending to a gravely injured laborer. As the man’s life hangs in the balance, he makes a simple request – to have his landlady bring him “The Book.” MacKay soon learns that “The Book” is a Bible, and not just any Bible, but the very one MacKay’s mother had given him years ago – the same Bible he had sold when he was short on money! Faced with this divine coincidence and the patient’s unwavering faith, MacKay’s heart is forever changed.

As you share MacKay’s testimony with your team and church family, watch as eyes widen and hearts soften. It’s a vivid reminder that no one is too far gone for God’s reviving touch. When you explain how MacKay’s personal revival inspired him to pen these powerful lyrics, you’ll be setting the stage for your congregation to experience their own moments of spiritual awakening.

Call to Worship

Need help finding the right words to introduce a hymn? Use this sample “Call to Worship” as a starting point, or let it inspire you to create your a heartfelt invitation to praise in your own words!

“Revive Us Again” was born out of a life-changing encounter with God back in the 1860s, and its message is just as powerful today as it was then.

The author, William MacKay, was a doctor who had drifted away from his faith. But God used a series of incredible events to bring him back to his knees in repentance and devotion. While tending to a dying patient, MacKay was stunned to discover that the Bible the man had been reading was actually MacKay’s own long-lost Bible – the one his mother had lovingly inscribed his name in years before!

This divine encounter marked MacKay’s journey from spiritual drift to divine destiny. He gave his life back to God, became a minister, and penned the words of this hymn as a testimony of his own revival.

As we sing these words that flowed from MacKay’s heart, let’s make them our own prayer. Let’s ask God to do in us what He did in that Scottish hospital room so many years ago. Let’s believe that the same Spirit that transformed MacKay’s life is here to revive us again!

Lead with Confidence

As you lead “Revive Us Again,” know that you’re not alone. You’re joining a chorus of faith heroes who have seen this hymn spark spiritual awakenings and transform lives. From the Scottish revival halls to the Billy Graham crusades, this song has been a catalyst for countless God-moments!

Speaking of the Billy Graham crusades, here’s an interesting thing you might want to try with your congregation. In 1967, Cliff Barrows shared how they would often divide the audience into two sections for an unforgettable experience of antiphonal praise. One side would sing “Hallelujah!” while the other echoed “Thine the glory,” creating a stunning display of unity and devotion. Even without instrumental accompaniment, the result was a thrilling expression of worship that left hearts overflowing with joy!

So, don’t be afraid to get creative as you lead this hymn. Encourage your church to sing with passion, to cry out with sincerity, and to expect great things from our great God. As you faithfully steward this powerful hymn, may you see a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit that renews hearts, strengthens faith, and sets your community ablaze for Christ.

Blending Suggestions

Try using Revive Us Again in your worship set with these songs that fit thematically:

Rest On Us by Brandon Lake and Harvest Bashta. Just as Revive Us Again calls for God to “fill each heart with Thy love” and rekindle souls “with fire from above,” Rest On Us invites the Holy Spirit to “come fall on us” and “flood this place and fill the atmosphere.” Both songs earnestly seek the presence and power of God to bring spiritual refreshment and revival.

We Praise You by Brandon Lake and Phil Wickham. The hymn opens with the lines, “We praise Thee O God, for the Son of Thy love, for Jesus who died, and is now gone above.” Similarly, We Praise You declares, “We praise You, we praise You, we praise You, our God.” Both songs offer unashamed praise and adoration to God for His love, sacrifice, and the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Holy Spirit by Bryan and Katie Torwalt is another contemporary worship song that shares the heart of Revive Us Again. The hymn praises God “for Thy Spirit of light, who hath shown us our Savior, and scattered our night.” Likewise, Holy Spirit invites the presence of God to “come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.” Both songs acknowledge the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in revealing Christ and dispelling spiritual darkness.

Hymns can be tricky for younger generations. Remember to explain any archaic words, and cast vision for why these timeless songs are worth preserving.

When we invest in leading hymns well, we open the door for our congregations to experience the richness of our spiritual heritage and the boundless grace of our Savior.