It’s true that revival starts with the individual: individual souls authentically turning to God, realizing their need, seeking His face, and repenting. One person, one family, one church, or one community. Just one soul experiencing revival is a miracle, in and of itself, and is worthy of our prayers.
Every now and then, however, we need to be encouraged by a story of major, widespread revival – the kind we seek here in America. In 1904-1905, Wales experienced exactly that type of revival. In those two years alone, an estimated 100,000 souls came to Christ.
Detailed accounts of the revival remain available to encourage us. Check out this excerpt from “Invasion of Wales by the Spirit through Evan Roberts” by James A. Stewart:
The effects of the revival in Wales were astonishing. For example, the correspondent for The Liverpool Daily Post reported in December 1904 that there had been no arrests for drunkenness in Rhos since the revival had started. The earning of the workmen, instead of being squandered in drink and vice, were now bringing great joy to their families. Outstanding debts were being paid by thousands of young converts. Restitution was the order of the day.
The gambling and alcohol businesses lost their trade and the theatres closed down from lack of patronage. Football during this time was forgotten by both players and fans, though nothing was mentioned from the pulpits about the evils of football. In this country, which had a general reputation of being “football mad,” the train for taking the crowds to the international trial match was found to be almost empty! The people had a new life and new interests.
The famous singing festivals of Welsh culture, which were always so popular in the land, somehow in these wonderful days sickened and died. The trained professional vocalists of Wales … came forth now with such hymns as “Throw Out the Lifeline” while the glory of God filled their souls. Even the few concerts which remained usually closed with both singers and audience singing together the songs which had become popular during the revival, such as “Tell Mother I’ll be There,” “Ride in Triumph, Blessed Jesus,” “Who is a Pardoning God Like Thee,” etc.
Political meetings were cancelled or abandoned. They seemed completely out of the question since nobody was interested. The political leaders, even from the parliament in London, abandoned themselves to the revival meetings.
One of the most significant results was that the old church prejudices were broken down. The man-made denominational barriers completely collapsed as believers and pastors of all denominations worshipped their majestic Lord together. The quarrels of local Christians were healed. One on the outstanding features of the revival was the confession of sin, not among the unsaved alone, but among the saved. All were broken down and melted before the cross of Christ.
How amazing is that? What would happen to America if God were to move in such a way here? We would love to find out. It keeps us praying. It gives us hope. If God could do that in Wales, He can do it here.
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