Revive Us Again is an old hymn that harkens back to the days of crackling speakers resounding through the outdoor sanctuary that was known as the “tent revival.” While the song gained popularity across the Church in the mid-20th century, its roots date back over a hundred years prior, to the pen of Dr. William P. Mackay who wrote the song after a long journey back to God.
Mackay was a well-known doctor in Scotland, who had abandoned his faith upon leaving his home for school. He became hostile toward his family’s faith, eventually leading the local group of atheists on his university campus. He had even pawned his own Bible, a gift from his dying mother, for whiskey. However, God was working to bring Mackay back to himself.
On one occasion, an elderly man came under W.P. Mackay’s care. During the duration of his medical treatment and until the end of his life the man had but one request – he continually asked for someone to bring “his book” to him. Shortly before he passed away, one of his family members arrived and brought this “book” that he had so longed to hold. He could not read it, as his eyesight was gone, but he held it close to him in his final days. As the man passed away, Dr. Mackay’s curiosity got the better of him and he asked a nurse what was the ever so important book that this man could not seemingly live, or die, without. The nurse told him it was the man’s personal Bible. Given the doctor’s scepticism of his previous faith, he explored further what might be so special about this Bible. He entered the man’s hospital room and picked up the Bible. As he opened the cover, he saw the familiar handwriting of his mother and his name, “William P. Mackay.” The dying man’s greatest treasure in life was the old Bible that Dr. Mackay had pawned. That night, the doctor returned to his study where he read prayers and notes from his mother throughout that old bible. In those moments, the Spirit of God brought him to new life and Mackay reveled in his newfound salvation. Dr. Mackay quit his medical practice and went back to school, this time to become a minister.
In 1863, he penned these words:
All glory and praise
To the God of all grace
Who has brought us,
And sought us, and guided our ways
As all of us, who claim Jesus as Savior, can in some way resonate with the words of Dr. Mackay, our hope is that the truth of these lyrics will stir your affections and ignite your worship for our life-giving God. As you listen to Revive Us Again, celebrate the Spirit of God who kindles and rekindles His holy fire within us.
Written by Worship Pastor Mike Price