Many, if not all, of us recognize our need of revival. But how do we receive it? We know that we need more faith, more love, and more humility. But how do we cultivate these vital Christian graces? There is clearly more to this than simply asking God for His Holy Spirit. We talk a fair bit about prayer here; now, it is time to discuss receiving the Word, which contains the Holy Spirit when received by faith. This comprehensive, yet simple and flexible reading plan, which is based on several Spirit of Prophecy statements, will truly bring revival to anyone who diligently practices it every day. It is truly reviving me as I am coming to know and love the LORD more and more each day! I fully recommend this plan for you.
Note: We just want to emphasize that this reading plan is flexible. We do not want you to think that you must follow every aspect of it to the letter. If you want to read more or fewer pages, that is fine. If you want to switch the order of the readings or use a different, special reading from time to time, feel free to do so. Nothing at all is set in stone, save that the different elements of the plan should be the primary readings you use. For example, you may read a different book with your family for a month or so, but you should return to the readings given here, as God especially instructed us to read these books. They are the foundation of revival.
The Foundation of the Reading Plan
Before we get to the building plan in the audio below this, we need to lay the foundation from Scripture; then we will learn of a divine daily reading plan on how to build upon the Word in our daily devotional life that will totally transform us.
The Family Altar
We must establish the biblical model for what we call the “family altar”. Now, the family altar might have a physical aspect to it; it might have an altar table with a family Bible sitting on it. We have such a thing set up in a portion of a room that we dedicated to God for worship. We highly recommend having a sacred place that you worship at in the house as a family if at all possible, but it is also a real blessing to have special places that you meet with God out in nature individually, as Jesus practiced. Weather and pests do not always permit, which is often the case here in Minnesota, so that is why I often have my personal devotions at the family altar as well.
So, let us explore this concept of the family altar in the Bible. So, let us go to Genesis 12, where we see the family altar set up by Abraham in verses 7 to 8. Abraham is going into the typical promised land and he sets up an altar; here it is:
And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there he built an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he built an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the Name of the LORD.
Now, I believe that is significant. We need to call upon His Name – praise Him – because He is worthy to be praised. It does something to us. Praise is very important; it should be the foundation of our prayers.
Abraham’s family is the archetype of all the families of Israel. When they went into the Promised Land, this altar was set up. And when they neglected this altar, the whole nation suffered. But when they restored it, the nation prospered. So, that is a lesson to us. When we neglect the family altar, God may permit calamities to come upon us. Perhaps that is why God permitted Hurricane Dorian. God’s intention in His judgments is to bring people back to Him, back to life, through His Word.
The Family Unit
Let us now go to Genesis 18:19. We have established the family altar and now let us study the family unit.
For I know him [Abraham], that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.
So, the household is the family unit and is established here in the Law. It can only be commanded unto justice and judgment by God’s Word. The man of the household is the priest of the home and he instructs his family in the way of the LORD according to His Word. He also consecrates the family to God through their collective worship, whereby they may receive the blessings of God and be protected from curses of calamities and worldliness.
This is the foundation of the intricate Levitical sanctuary system that was later implemented for corporate Israel, being based on the Abrahamic family unit with its family altar. To Abraham was the everlasting covenant promised; thus, the organized system of the Law that came later is founded on it and not against it.
The Sacrificial System
So, let’s talk briefly about the sacrificial system. The priesthood that performed the sacrifices, particularly the High Priest, were representative of the whole nation of Israel. It was a representative system. The economy then was the earthly sanctuary; now we have the economy of the heavenly sanctuary. We have lessons to learn with duties enjoined upon us from this system in the Law. The priesthood represented all of the people that worshiped at the appointed times, including the mornings and evenings, for they could not all go to the temple each day or even each Sabbath. Many of them lived hundreds of miles away in the Diaspora.
But the priesthood did not represent all of Israel so that they would not have to worship morning and evening; they only represented what they were all doing – worshiping God. So, the altar in the sanctuary represented the altars of all the households of Israel. They all faced towards Jerusalem when they prayed at these times.
The priests ate the meat, food, and drink offerings in the temple. Again, this was representative, even of all Israel partaking of God’s Living Word. Jesus said in John 6:54, “Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life,” and then, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (v. 63). So, we find this principle in the Law, illustrated by the priesthood. Their eating the sacrifices (representing Christ) illustrated both Christ as High Priest bearing our sins that the sacrifices typically carried and God’s people who partake of the living, unseen word; the seen illustrates the unseen.
Therefore, morning and evening worship times for partaking of God’s Word is in the Law, just not as overtly as the seventh-day Sabbath. Everything is established in the Law.
The Shadows Point to the Reality
Though the daily/continual sanctuary system passed away the worship times remain. Morning and evening we are to individually worship God, with our hands, eyes, and hearts rising up in offering to the heavenly sanctuary, which also remains. This is also when the family unit gathers together to offer the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. Anciently, the priesthood offered sacrifices morning and evening, designating these times for prayer; but the Spirit of Prophecy confirms that these worship times remain unchanged and that it is our duty to observe them.
And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering. The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even.
— Numbers 28:3-4
In the morning the Christian’s first thoughts should be upon God. Worldly labor and self-interest should be secondary. Before leaving the house for labor, all the family should be collected together, and taught that they must respect and reverence the hour of prayer. The father, or mother in the father’s absence, should with humility and a heart full of tenderness, with a sense of the temptations and dangers before themselves and their children, plead fervently before God that he would keep the children through the day. By faith bind your children upon the altar, entreating for them the care of the Lord. Ministering angels will guard children who are thus dedicated to God. It is the duty of Christian parents, morning and evening, by earnest prayer and persevering faith, to make a hedge about their children.
— E.G. White, 4b Spiritual Gifts, p. 139
Purpose of the Reading Plan (VERY IMPORTANT)
And this is the life eternal, that they should know Thee, the only true God, and the One whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.
— Jesus, John 17:3
The goal should never be to merely attain a head knowledge, but it is to know God, through His Son, who also says, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me … that ye might have life” (John 5:39-40). To ‘search’ means to “think on what you read” (Manuscript 20, 1906) through diligent inquiry, so though we call this a “reading” plan, it is more than mere reading for the sake of reading. “Scriptures” simply mean sacred writings, which would include Spirit of Prophecy writings as well.
So, the reading should always be done for the primary purpose of knowing, or having an intimate relationship with, God. We are to diligently search to know Him, asking questions in prayer as we read and communing with Him who is the Life that the Scriptures convey.
“Time alone with GOD in His Word, to know Him—
nothing can replace it;
without that time,
everything replaces it.”
~ Dan Gabbert
Building Through the Reading Plan
(The Word Builds Us upon Christ)
Now that we have the foundation firmly under us, it’s time to build on it! I detail the Revival Reading Plan in this audio presentation, which is about 45 minutes long. The details are important though.
The Revival Reading Plan – AUDIO
Download the outline of the above presentation here: The Revival Reading Plan Outline.
Summary of the Revival Reading Plan
Morning Personal Devotion
- The Life of Christ (Gospels and Desire of Ages), especially the closing scenes
- The Love Chapter (1 Cor. 13)
- Bible Promises (Lev. 20:7-8, Luke 11:13, Gal. 5:22-23, etc.)
Morning Family Devotion
- Passage/chapter from the Hebrew Scriptures, Apocrypha, or Apostolic Scriptures
Evening Family Devotion
- Several pages from Testimonies for the Church.
Evening Personal Devotion
- The Law (passage or chapter from Genesis to Deuteronomy)
- Bible Promises (Lev. 26:40-43, Hos. 6:1-3, Zech. 10:1, 1 Cor. 12:8-11, Eph. 4:11-13, Joel 2:25-31, Mal. 4:4-5, etc.)
Reading Plan Resources
For your convenience, we have a checklist of Bible books that you can use to keep track for your family devotions. We also have a separate checklist for the Psalms, which may be useful for keeping track of the Psalms you have read. Also, if you are not yet doing so, you can try using our collection of Bible promises for your personal devotions, which includes the Love Chapter. Finally, for reading through the life of Christ, as said above, you should have a special focus on the closing scenes thereof.
It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.
— E.G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 83
We suggest focusing on the closing scenes by reading and meditating on them weekly. We have printouts using passages from the Gospels in chronological order and have organized them as follows, along with a suggested times to read them in accordance with the weekly timing of events:
- Last Supper and Gethsemane — Fifth day of the Sabbath/week, at evening
- Crucifixion — Sixth day of the Sabbath/week, at morning, or the latter part at ninth hour
- Resurrection — First day of the Sabbath/week, at morning
These could be read either in addition to or replacing the regular Life of Christ readings, with the Law reading in the morning instead of evening on the fifth day to make time for the evening Last Supper and Gethsemane reading. And some sixth days you may want to split the reading up so that that later scenes are read during the ninth hour of the day—the time of the crucifixion.
Reading Plans Within the Reading Plan
It is easier to engage in a plan when you have clearly defined goals everyday. Thus, we would like to share two reading plans to help you with part of this overall plan. We are thankful to the Lord for inspiring their creators with these ideas. The first is a plan for going through the life of Christ in a year using both the four Gospel books and The Desire of Ages. The second is a simple plan for reading through the Testimonies in 16 months.
Regarding the Testimonies reading plan, although we simply advise “several pages,” this plan is useful for maintaining consistency. You also get a sense of satisfaction in checking the boxes off, particularly if you must read on a screen because you can’t afford the books. If ten pages doesn’t work well for your family, though, don’t worry. You can always divide each set of pages into sections as suits the needs of your family. Just keep in mind that dividing them into more than three sections apiece will make the whole plan take more than four years. Really, though, follow whatever schedule is best for you and your family.
If the warnings and reproofs given in the Word of God and in the testimonies of His Spirit are not plain enough, what words would be sufficiently plain to bring about a revival and a reformation?
— E.G. White, Manuscript 108, 1901
Why the Apocrypha?
The list of Bible books includes the Apocrypha for a very important reason. It is that remnant of the Scriptures – separated and later removed from the other Scriptures by men led of Satan (according to an early vision of Sister White) – that is especially for the elect remnant people of God in these last days, on whom He shall place His seal. This is because the themes common in the apocryphal books are the wisdom of fearing God, holiness, and casting out all idols—the very themes that must be internalized by the remnant people. Thus, I strongly encourage you to listen to the following message on this subject (after hearing the main message).
The Remnant for the Remnant – AUDIO
Download the outline for the above presentation here: The Remnant for the Remnant Outline.
We have a PDF of the full Apocrypha of the Septuagint, as noted in the presentation above. It is called the Anaginoskomena, which contains three genuine Scriptures not in the original King James: 3 Maccabees, Psalm 151, and the Psalms of Solomon (in the appendix). Just ignore 4 Maccabees, which is a spurious book that was never in the Old Testament apocryphal Scriptures.
Each day you will have a balanced and nutritious spiritual diet. Other readings can be added for personal devotion time as this is just the minimum, but this should not replace long, fervent prayers. Additional reading might include a Sabbath school lesson, pioneer material (especially Jones, Waggoner, or Prescott), SOP material, mission stories, or other good books that aid in understanding the Bible; but none of these are substitutes for the Law and the life of Christ.
Don’t read on a screen, though; for writings that are not available in print, I recommend you print for yourself. Only do your readings in paper books, because research shows that people assimilate what they read much better this way. This will also help you avoid computer distractions. If you can, get hard cover or leather-bound books that will hold up. I will be reading out of The History of Redemption. This excellent volume contains multiple Ellen White books, namely the Conflict of the Ages series, Christ’s Object Lessons, Mount of Blessings and Steps to Christ.
Keep in mind, too, that there is nothing the devil fears more than that we shall wake up, dig into the Word and pray earnestly to God with the persistence that unlocks the power of heaven. When we do this, he’s through! So, he’ll do his utmost to get in the way and prevent us from engaging in this plan. Therefore, “A life of daily communion with God, a life that will shed light upon the path of others, cannot be maintained without earnest, persistent effort” (E.G. White, The Watchman, September 29, 1908). This is war, brothers and sisters. Never weary in the struggle!
Don’t Delay! Begin Today!
Are you ready to join us in this wonderful new adventure in God’s Word, beloved? Let’s seek the revival of the Holy Spirit together! I leave you with these poignant words from the pen of inspiration.
THERE IS MORE TIME SPENT IN EATING AND DRINKING THAN IN STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD, AND WE WANT YOU TO REFORM IN THIS.
— E.G. White, Manuscript 33, 1885