Catching Sleep and Catching Revival

John Starke | July 8, 2015

The irony isn’t lost on me—I’m using the imagery of “catching sleep” to describe spiritual awakening. But I’m going for it nevertheless.

When I read the New Testament, it seems folks were either experiencing revival or longing for it. You have stories of mass conversion or prayers for God to do more than we could imagine. Longings for revival and spiritual awakening in the history of the church have produced all kinds of practices and manipulations to get the experiential fruit. But the New Testament doesn’t give us a guide for producing renewal. It doesn’t give us steps or principles. Maybe most frustratingly, it gives commands to Christians like, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18), as if I’m supposed to go to my local Christian bookstore and get some. Instead, it just gives us stories and prayers. And so we pray and dream, hoping our churches can become part of the stories.

Active Welcome 

But even though our churches are only able to be the object of revival rather than its producer, I don’t think our waiting is as passive as it seems. In James K. A. Smith’s Imaginging the Kingdom [review], he has a little excursion on “catching sleep” while interacting with…

To read the rest of this article, visit