As part of the Revival 1972 series, we’ve featured church leaders who experienced the inception of the Charismatic Renewal, as well as the generation that came after them.ย 

Following on from that, we’ve put together even more responses based on the transcripts from unaired footage of the Revival 1972 documentary.

But this time, the questions are a little more personal and practical:

  1. What does revival mean to you?
  2. How can we get ready for it?

Pastor Pacer Tan grew up in the church as a second-generation Christian distant from God and uninterested in Him. That continued until he was 15 years old, when a personal revival transformed him from the inside out and convinced him that life should be led for Jesus.

Revival is a very important thing in the Christian journey. Everyone needs to be revived by God.

When we speak about revival โ€” whether that’s the Azusa Street Revival or the revival that happened here in 1972 โ€” we’re speaking about the Holy Spirit moving in unprecedented ways.

That’s when many people are touched, and something really explodes in their spirit. That’s when they begin to exhibit spiritual tongues and show fervour and zeal.

Basically, revival is when the Spirit of God touches humanity. That is when you begin to see the flourishing of kingdom values and the flourishing of the Gospel.

Revival requires a hunger, thirst and desperation for the Lord.

If people are not thirsty and hungry; if Christians are not excited to see what the Lord can do; if we’re in that mindset that says, “it happened in the past, it happened long ago, it’s never going to happen again”, then very likely there’s not going to be this situation where people will come together desperately praying, crying out to see the Lord intervene on behalf of the nation.

If you really want revival, then you need to start with prayer. We cannot make prayer to be mechanical.

Prayer is times with the Lord, you bare your heart to the Lord โ€” the same as King David.

We see David’s vulnerability, his raw spirit, how he is a man after God’s own heart.

He cries out to God for Israel, he cries out to God for righteousness, he calls out the name of the Father.

Revival starts with prayer, and revival can start with you.

If you want to see revival in your school, in your homes, in your workplace, in this wonderful nation called Singapore โ€” it really starts with you being revived.

You need to be set on fire for the Lord.

You and I need to become people who say: “We don’t want to look at culture. We don’t wait for other pastors or elders of the churches. It starts with us. It starts where we are.”

So, come to the Lord. Open up your arms. Lift up your hands. Pray: “Lord, I want to be the sacrifice, like in the days of Elijah, and when Your fire comes, burn me so that I’m a living sacrifice.

“As Hebrews says, I want to be holy and acceptable to You, and I want to be used greatly for Your kingdom work”.

Revival starts with prayer, and revival can start with you.

When revival hits, we’re gonna see appetites completely change.

When we see people of God beginning to cry out and hunger for Him, we’re gonna see a lot of worldly appetites go down.

Desire for food, drink, entertainment โ€” desire for all these things will begin to diminish.

But the desire for godliness, the desire to see the Lord move in powerful ways, for the Gospel to be shared to the nations โ€” that will come very strongly.

Once this happens, friends, it’s really awesome. You can fan the flame, and you will begin to see more people on fire.ย 

You can spark this, and you will see the Lord use that fire like a blazing fire that sweeps across the land.

A lifelong Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) boy since Primary 1, Peter Tan became a Christian through The Boys’ Brigade in 1973. Decades later, he eventually came back to serve as ACS (Junior) principal at the end of 1999 and later as principal of ACS (Barker Road) in 2008 for 10 years before moving on to Queensway Secondary School.

To me, revival comes when there is a turning of hearts back to God.

Revival comes when there’s that willingness to recognise that He is the Almighty and we are prepared to abandon everything we have for God’s purposes.

Revival needs to start in everyone as an individual. Then when all the different burning coals come together, it can burst into a huge flame.

That was what happened in 1972. Many of the students were just having a great desire for God. And that’s why they gathered at a clock tower to pray before school during recess.

When all the coals came together, they just burst into this mighty flame that happened towards the end of 1972 that’s became known as the Clock Tower Revival.

Until her retirement last month, Rev Dr Lorna Khoo had been a Methodist pastor for over 42 years. She has fond memories how her traditions, paradigms and practices were challenged by the move of the Holy Spirit in her life.

I think revival has to do with the opening of eyes, opening your eyes to see that this is about kingdom.

It’s not about size. It’s not about evangelism in a particular way. It’s about seeing: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

And that includes people of different social backgrounds, people of different races and even animals โ€” the whole of creation is created to praise the Lord, to give glory to God.

Revival for me is the opening of eyes to see people and creation the way God sees, and to bring that understanding to Earth.

I think the key word is openness โ€” openness to the Spirit of God โ€” because the revival might not come the way we think.

We always think of revival as people praying a lot, people having long worship sessions.

But if their eyes are open, and they are able to see as God does โ€” seeing value in people who they don’t think very much about, in helpers, migrant workers, prisoners, the old, the very young, the handicapped โ€” and their hearts are moved to move in a certain direction to make the kingdom real here, then I think revival has happened.

I don’t see it in very “church” terms. I think that might be the usual way we see it.

One of the things that I’m quite concerned about is how when we talk about revival, we always think about God reviving the young people.

We see the next generation as the young people. But I would see it as the next generation, not in terms of age.

What if God skips the young adults and the youth โ€” and it’s the kids? What if it’s the kids who move in the power of the Spirit to pray for the sick?

Revival for me is the opening of eyes to see people and creation the way God sees, and to bring that understanding to Earth.

Or what if God wants to start a revival through the old people โ€” the ’80s and above whom we think are over the hill?

I look at Scripture and I realise that when God wants to do something big, He doesn’t choose the younger ones.

Surprisingly, he chose Abraham. He chose Moses. He chose the very old ones.

Who knows? Maybe the Caleb generation will be the ones that He would raise as the first fruit of the revival.

We just need to be open to allow the Lord to do things in a different way.


Many recognise him for his time on TV singing contest The Voice, but nowadays God’s voice is what Isaac Ong is singing about in his role with FOPx. The 1972 revival is a precious reminder for him of how God loves Singapore and how believers must contend for the move of God right here and right now.ย 

What revival means for me is people coming into relationship with the Lord and right into that sweet intimacy with Him.

From that intimacy with Him, we will see fruits all across our world: Whether that’s with mum and dad in the home. Whether it’s in school with your teachers and your friends.

Whether it’s on the streets, seeing somebody in need and going above and beyond. Whether it’s in church, serving and loving. Whether it’s in the nation’s revival.

Revival to me is this: Abide in Him and He in us, and we will bear much fruit.

In 1981, Pastor Benny Ho had his own encounter with the power of the Holy Spirit during an evangelistic meeting โ€” a moment that changed everything.

He has been in awe at the moves of God through Singapore, from the Charismatic Renewal of the ’70s and ’80s, to the revitalised focus on teaching and expounding the Word of God in the 90s and 2000s.

He longs to see revival and believes the best is yet to be, where God brings the two streams of Word and Spirit back together again in our churches.

When we use the word revival, it implies that something was alive and well, and then it became dead or dormant, and now we’re reviving it.

The Charismatic Renewal was really such an important milestone for our city.

During those years when the revival was really moving, we saw so many wonderful things happen. We saw churches that were dead become vibrant again โ€” they came back to life!

We saw people being so fired up to actually reach out to the lost. We saw so many wonderful initiatives that happened both in churches as well as in the marketplace.

All these are signs of revival.

These signs tell me that things are happening in the hearts of individual believers as well as in in the churches.

My prayer is that we will continue to see more and more of this in the years to come.

I pray that God will pour out a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us. I think it can only come through one way, and that is through our hunger.

My prayer is that our next generation will begin to hunger for the manifested presence of God, and that He would, in certain times and in different ways, begin to make His presence so tangibly felt.

I pray that we will hunger and thirst, such that it would cause the manifested presence of God to come down for God do His thing among us!

This story is part of a series of articles we are publishing based on the transcripts from unaired footage of the Revival 1972 documentary.

For the rest of August, we will explore obstacles and pitfalls to seeing revival happen, and hopes and dreams for the next generation.

  1. What does revival mean to you?
  2. What does the Bible say on revival? How do these scriptures apply to your life?
  3. How can you be used by the Holy Spirit to transform and impact the world around you?