While each revival throughout history has been unique, there are notable similarities between them, including a return to Biblical roots, worship, prayer, and more.
Every historic move of God has been birthed in and sustained through prayer. "God does nothing but in answer to prayer," is credited to John Wesley, one of the greatest revivalists of all time. God himself promises a blessing to those who will seek him in prayer - 2 Chronicles 7:14 reads, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
Jeremiah 29:13, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
2 Gifts of the Spirit
The restoring of the gifts of the Spirit is a sign of true revival and one that marked the Azusa Street Revival. To revive means in essense to bring back to life that which was dead. Throughout church history, the church has gone astray from her First Love and the Love of God woos the church back to intimacy with God through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. According to 312Azusa.com, "Perhaps the most important legacy of Azusa Street was the renewal of the charismata (gifts of the Spirit) for the modern church. For centuries, Western churches, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, had adopted the view that the gifts of the Spirit had ceased at the end of the Apostolic Age."
3 Focus on Jesus
Like the last point, revival continually leads the Church back to her first love, Jesus Christ. For example, the Toronto Blessing, a revival that started in 1994 in Toronto, Canada emphasized a return to the love of God, intimacy with Jesus and a return to the Father Heart of God. People travelled from around the world for a fresh touch of the love of God.
The word holiness means to be set apart by and for God. Personal holiness is the result of revival, not necessarily a means to attract revival. Many times, when God moved through the ministry of Charles Finney or John Wesley, deep repentence and manifestations of the conviction of sin would fall on their hearers. God was indeed reviving dead men and women, awakening them to who He is and calling them to a life of consecration before him. Ajith Fernando writes in Desiring God, "The revivals associated with the Wesleys and Jonathan Edwards had people falling down with somewhat violent reactions under deep conviction of sin. We need to be open to God’s surprising works and be careful about stifling them."
The Brownsville Revival in the '90s became known for its radical and passionate calls to repentence, conviction of sin, and turning from a life of compromise. Romans1015.com writes,
its emphasis on conversion and people weeping over conviction of sin, seems to be a revival in the long tradition of American native revivals dating back to the preaching of Jonathan Edwards. There’s heavy preaching on sin, repentance, conversion, and holiness. And there’s a lot more weeping and wailing over sin than there are the so-called exotic manifestations.
The Asbury Revival at Asbury University is an example of worship being the center of the revival that sparked a movement across the nation. The long protracted meetings in the University's chapel were characterized by continuous worship, prayer, and a hunger and thirst for the presence of God, drawing seekers and worshippers from around the nation and even world.