A Picture of Spiritual Revival by John Avery: 3rd Place Winner – 2016 45th Parallel Contest

Written by on May 1, 2016

Picture of Spiritual Revival

 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19, NIV).

Today’s post presents the third-place winner (tied) of The 45th Parallel Contest 2016. A Picture of Spiritual Revival  is a magnificent piece by John Avery. I found great joy as John stirred my heart to share my faith with others. I hope you will, too!


A glorious sunrise or sunset includes several ingredients apart from the sun. It usually features an interesting foreground of rocks, plants, or wave patterns. Often the scene includes a stunning vista. In the most beautiful, sunlight bursts through clouds. Revival comes like a sunrise. Every revival is a unique combination of the sun of His glory blazing over the changing landscape of history and radiating through whatever dark clouds shadow human life.

What is our part in revival? The answer is in the story behind the photograph.

In June 1980, I attended a Christian retreat. About ninety of us took over a Victorian mansion in England. One night I realized that the next day was the longest day. How cool it would be to see the earliest sunrise!

At 3:30 am I slipped from bed, dressed quietly and tiptoed downstairs in my socks. I unbolted a door, opened and closed it carefully to avoid creaking, and then put on my shoes. Once out, I was able to stroll through the deserted town to ocean cliffs. I quickly positioned myself to compose the best photos. At 4:30 am sunlight tore a hole between sea and sky, and splattered clouds and surf with scarlet.

Our role in revival is as insignificant as my part in the sunrise. Only God can create such beauty; our part begins with dissatisfaction with what we have and a hunger for more of Him. That hunger must motivate us to position ourselves to see what God is doing and to respond. Perhaps we need to rise early in prayer. He may relocate us. Maybe ours will be a lonely walk for a while.

But once we are in position, we will watch His work and glorify Him for it. If we are equipped and available, we can even join Him by sharing the beauty with others. That’s how Jesus lived; He did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19).

Spiritual revival comes when we surrender to the Father in trust and expectation, ready to receive what He is doing.



John Avery is the author of The Name Quest explore the names of God to grow in faith and get to know Him better (Morgan James Publishing, 2015). The Name Quest has been reviewed in Midwest Book Reviews and Christian News Northwest among others.

John is a trained teacher with over thirty years experience as a Bible teaching pastor, small group leader, and missionary. He has lived in England, Israel, Africa, and the Caribbean, ministering with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and local churches. He and his wife, Janet, now make their home in Oregon. John likes to hike, snowshoe, and cross country ski. John writes a Bible devotional on www.BibleMaturity.com one of which won the Oregon Christian Writers’ Cascade Award for published devotionals. He maintains a comprehensive resource for all the names of God at www.NamesForGod.net.

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  1. Susan   On   May 2, 2016 at 11:18 am

    John, not only is your photo stunning but how you brought it to life by reminding us of our part in revival. Well done. Thank you. Susan
    “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19)

  2. Victoria Boyd   On   May 4, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    This is an excellent post! I love this: “That hunger must motivate us to position ourselves to see what God is doing and to respond.” Thank you John for reminding us of how we partner together with what the Lord wants to do on the earth. – Victoria

    • Lynn Hare   On   May 4, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      Positioning ourselves strategically “on earth as it is in heaven!” A place for signs, miracles, and wonders to break forth, Vic!

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