In the essay “Salvation” by Langston Hughes, he refers to a religious revival. He starts his essay with:
I was saved from sin when I was going on thirteen. But not really saved. It happened like this. There was a big revival at my Auntie Reed's church. Every night for weeks there had been much preaching, singing, praying, and shouting, and some very hardened sinners had been brought to Christ, and the membership of the church had grown by leaps and bounds.
With this, Langston Hughes describes a typical church revival. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a church revival is “an often highly emotional evangelistic meeting or series of meetings.” Generally, revival services are intended to bring believers back to a renewed commitment and spirituality—or to revive their internal spirituality. Revival services can last for several days or even one to two weeks. Many times, the church will also ask an evangelist from another church to speak.
Revival services are generally marked by interaction with the congregation, as people come up to the alter or just stand where they are in the pew to shout or to share their stories. In fact, revival services are also generally characterized by a more fervent energy level than at other prayer services, with people singing loudly and often swaying to the rhythm of the songs and the preacher’s words and sermon. This is why the writer says, “Every night for weeks there had been much preaching, singing, praying, and shouting.” As the energy level rises at a revival service, people sometimes lose their inhibitions and shout in response to the preacher’s words or to the music.
Generally, the purpose of the revival service is to lead people to salvation, as the service awakens their spirituality and joyful religious fervor. In fact, Langston Hughes continues to say that,
Then just before the revival ended, they held a special meeting for children, "to bring the young lambs to the fold."