Revival Is Possible! Revival Is Needed!
The following excerpts are from the book The Great Revival In Wales by S. B. Shaw (1905).
"I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…" (Joel 2:28). "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour out My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring" (Isa. 44:3).
The author writes the following about the years leading up to the outbreak of revival in Wales in 1904-1905: For years many of God’s elect have been led out in the Spirit to cry unto Him day and night for a widespread, heaven-born revival of pure and undefiled religion – for a worldwide revival of Pentecostal power and glory, and have had the assurance of victory.
Never before have we known such faith and prayer among those who live in close communion with God, and now all can see that the spirit of faith and desire and expectancy is deepening and spreading, and in many places glorious revivals are already in progress. God has granted to His own very much of the spirit of prayer and intercession. Many have spent whole nights weeping and crying to God to revive His work, knowing in their own inmost souls the groanings of the Spirit that could not be uttered. Nor has the spirit of prayer been confined to any one class, or place, or denomination. That God is leading out His saints, and by His own right hand of power preparing the way for a general outpouring of His Spirit in this as in other lands, is blessedly manifest.
The author continues: To aid in this work we have gathered together various reports of the gracious and glorious revival now going on in Wales , believing that everywhere these reports go, God can use them to stir up other hearts to increased faith and prayer, and so hasten the coming of the glorious day for which we watch and pray. God help us all to lay hold upon God, and to "give Him no rest" till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth!
Reports from the Revival Area
From the London Methodist Times of 1905: Those who know Wales know how the denominations are duplicated, and how pronounced and even bitter have been denominational jealousies, especially in the small towns.
For the time being all these distinctions are forgotten. You find yourself talking to a brother minister, and in a few moments you are rejoicing with him in the Pentecostal power that has come upon his church and neighborhood. You don’t know to what denomination he belongs, and you don’t care, and when you have left him you awake to the discovery that whilst you have asked him many things it has not occurred to you to ask him that. Like you, he is anxious that the Spirit may be glorified and the community regenerated, and that is enough to satisfy your heart. The movement is as undenominational as the air, but the results are not. People are joining the churches in scores and hundreds. In many cases the membership is doubled. This is as it should be….
I see the crowds of men, and especially of young men, at these services…. Thousands of these men have got a blessing they will never lose, and an inspiration that will make them grand fishers of men. It will give to us all renewed faith in prayer, for this is emphatically a praying revival. Evan Roberts told me that prayer became so passionate and mighty at Caerphilly that at midnight a number of men formed themselves into a praying "Get-them-out-of-bed brigade," and in an hour or two three of the sinners prayed for became so miserable in bed that they dressed hurriedly and came on to the service and yielded to Christ then and there. After I have seen over and over again the complete abandonment with which men give themselves up to pleading, as if they were totally unconscious of any presence but that of Christ, and were quite unaffected by anything or anybody else, I can easily believe it….
At Cardiff a young man, who had been lost to his parents for three years, turned up at the very service where his father (a county magistrate) and his mother were praying for him. His father knelt at his side to help him to Jesus, but the son did not recognize him till they both rose to give praise! They then went together to find the mother, who in another part of the chapel was earnestly praying for her lost boy, and who was totally oblivious of anything and any one around her. The scene was indescribably pathetic, and the joy of all was ecstatic….
Never has the Spirit of God been felt in such a powerful manner before…. Many who have long been prayed for have yielded; backsliders have come back, and many wonderful cases of conversion have taken place. The football field, the dance, and the dramatic entertainment have been given up and other matters laid aside for the revival meetings….
Will It Last?
Someone asked a noted editor who visited the revival, "Will it [the revival] last?" He replied, "Nothing lasts forever in this mutable world. And the revival will no more last than the blossom lasted in the field in the springtime. But if the blossom had not come and gone, there would be no bread in the world today. And as it is with the [literal] bread…so is it with that other bread which is the harvest that will be gathered in long after this revival has taken its place in history. But if the analogy of all previous revivals holds good, this religious awakening will be influencing for good the lives of numberless men and women who will be living and toiling and carrying on the work of this, God’s world of ours, long after you and I have been gathered to our fathers."
George T. B. Davis, an American journalist, asked Evan Roberts, the young man whom some credited as the one God used to start the revival, for a message for America. Roberts’ reply was:
"The prophecy of Joel is being fulfilled. There the Lord says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh.’ If that is so, all flesh must be prepared to receive. (1) The past must be clear; every sin confessed to God, any wrong to man must be put right. (2) Everything doubtful must be removed once for all out of our lives. (3) Obedience prompt and implicit to the Spirit of God. (4) Public confession of Christ. Christ said, ‘I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me’ (John 12:32). There it is. Christ is all in all."
Davis gave this observation of the revival area: The movement "is sweeping over hundreds of hamlets and cities, emptying saloons, theaters and dance halls, and filling the churches night after night with praying multitudes. The policemen are almost idle, in many cases the magistrates have few trials on hand; debts are being paid, and the character of entire communities is being transformed almost in a day. Wales is studded with coal mines, and it is a common occurrence to have prayer meetings held a thousand feet under ground amid the tinkle of horses’ bells and the weird twinkle of the miners’ lamps."
A prominent preacher who visited the revival was quoted in the London Methodist Times of January 1905, as saying, "To work up a revival is to try to save the world by mechanics. The Heaven-sent revival, saves men by dynamics. The Gospel of mechanics is a cumbrous, costly machine; the Gospel of dynamics – power from on high, without machinery and guarantees – goes straight to the heart, and accomplishes that for which it is sent. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the dynamic of God unto salvation. And today the dynamic is working…."
Other Striking Stories
A report typical of churches in the revival says: "In one town, under the ministry of the resident minister, a new spirit has come over the church, which can be traced in every department; prayer meetings are largely attended, class meetings are alive and are remarkably powerful and blessed, open air services are held with manifestations of divine awe and influence…. The annual tea party in one place usually accompanied by innocent games had to be turned into a prayer and testimony meeting when souls were quickened and converted. An open air meeting was held in one of the market places preparatory to an indoor service, but such a wave of power came upon the crowd of some three hundred people that for two hours the meeting continued, believers singing solos, bearing their testimony, and praying in the Holy Ghost, some of whom have been silent and timid in the past. One class leader tells how the room was full of persons, but better still, the persons were filled with a divine enthusiasm, and it was impossible to close the meeting until after eleven o’clock…."
The story is told of a visit into the coal mines: "I descended the pit at six o’clock the other morning. Reaching the bottom…my guide piloted me to a recess in this seam where a number of colliers had assembled. Presently the numbers increased till over three hundred men, each with his safety lamp, were gathered in a strange crowd. Some were seated on the floor; others knelt, and numbers were standing. One of the number struck up [a chorus] which was taken up by the others, and repeated again and again. An elderly collier jumped up and told in Welsh how after five unsuccessful attempts to get a fellow workman to give his heart to God, he had at the sixth attempt the previous night triumphed. [The chorus] again rang through the galleries. Two men prayed simultaneously, one in English, and one in Welsh. Before they had finished, from the far end of the seam came the strains in a rich bass voice of ‘Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.’ In a moment everybody present was singing this beautiful hymn. Never did it sound as impressive as deep down in the bowels of the earth that morning. A dozen colliers of all ages testified at once and prayer followed prayer in quick succession…one marveled at this great change that had come over these men whose usual occupation before starting work was singing comic songs and indulging in coarse jest and vulgarity…. A brief address in Welsh was delivered by one of the men, who appealed for those who were on their way to glory to show lamps. Hundreds were hoisted aloft, and a few remained on the ground. The owners of the latter were immediately objects of pity and prayer. All went to their knees and sang, ‘For you I am praying…’ and as it was time to commence work, the benediction was pronounced, the men marching to their work, singing ‘Throw out the Life Line.’ The manager of this pit told me he had not heard one of the men swear for over three weeks. This scene is only one, typical of many that are daily taking place in South Wales coal mines, and at which many men are being converted."