Articles

This is revival from Heaven!
 
This is Revival from Heaven! - When men in the streets are afraid to speak godless words for fear that God's judgment will fall! When sinners, aware of the fire of God's presence, tremble in the streets and cry out for mercy! When, without human advertising, the Holy Spirit sweeps across cities and towns in supernatural power and holds people in the grip of terrifying conviction. When every store becomes a pulpit, every heart an altar, every home a sanctuary and people walk carefully before God - THIS IS REVIVAL!
 
Today the word "revival" has largely lost its true meaning. Since many Christians in this generation have never witnessed the mighty moving of God in nation-wide spiritual awakening, they have little concept of the magnitude of such a visitation.
 
Revival is often confused with evangelism. Heaven-sent revival is not synonymous with large religious gatherings where people come to hear outstanding preachers and musicians. Neither is revival the result of an effective advertising blitz that draws large crowds to special campaigns and conferences. In a God-sent revival, leaders need not spend money on advertising. People will come wherever there is the fire of God's presence. This is REVIVAL!
 
Revival is an acute awareness of God that impacts a whole community, including the streets, the bars and nightclubs, and the church. The result is that people repent of their sin and find salvation in Jesus Christ.
 
There is a vast difference between modern evangelistic campaigns and revival from heaven. In the former, hundreds may be brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and churches may experience God's refreshing. But as far as the community, city or region is concerned, little impact happens. Community transformation does not follow. Sin, crime, and lawlessness continue to devastate all levels of society and godlessness continues to advance.
However, when revival from heaven occurs, the fire of God's Spirit sweeps through society as a cleansing flame. Solemn conviction of sin touches people everywhere. The strongholds of the devil tremble and many public places of sinful pleasure close down because so many people are turning to Christ Jesus in repentance and faith.
 
THE AMERICAN REVIVAL OF 1857
 
This mighty 19th century visitation of God's presence, from which has flowed almost one and one half centuries of spiritual blessings, still represents a challenge. As a spiritual tornado, the Spirit of God swept through the land. New England became the center of an enormous awakening that resulted in great numbers of people experiencing forgiveness for their sins and the reality of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. In some towns it was reported as being "almost impossible to find anyone who had not been converted." Like a great spiritual epidemic, tremendous conviction of sin swept through the land, and thousands turned to Christ. Drunkards standing at the bars, gamblers at game tables, people gathered in churches, and even passengers on ships as they approached land found themselves suddenly aware of God's presence and holiness. Overcome before Him, they repented of their sins and found forgiveness and eternal life.
 
In many places bars, theaters, and gambling houses closed or emptied; new churches began to spring up; family altars were established or restored; and the spirit of prayer grew in intensity until anyone crossing the land could find a "mid-day" prayer meeting in almost any town. As many as 50,000 people a week experienced God's saving grace in Christ when this gracious visitation was at its height. Following in its wake came mighty preachers of God's Word such as D.L. Moody under whose ministry multitudes experienced salvation in Christ. Many pioneer missionaries were also commissioned to go with the gospel to the ends of the earth.
 
THE WELSH REVIVAL OF 1904
 
The year 1904 stands out in the history of Wales as a year that will never be forgotten. Fifty years later those who were privileged to live in those revival days still spoke of its supernatural scenes with the greatest awe.
 
The Spirit of God swept across the land like a mighty tornado, until mountains and valleys, cities and villages were filled with mighty manifestations of God. Churches were crowded and meetings went on day and night. Prayer, singing, and testimony would sweep over congregations in torrents, and hundreds turned to Christ. Never in the history of Wales had such indescribable scenes been witnessed.
G. Campbell Morgan, preaching on "Lessons of the Welsh Revival" in the Westminster Chapel on Sunday evening, 25th December 1904, declared:
In . . . the Welsh revival there is no preaching, no [leader-led] order, no hymn-books, no choirs, no organs, no collections, and finally, no advertising. Now, think of that for a moment, again, will you? There were the organs, but silent; the ministers [were there], but among the rest of the people, rejoicing and prophesying with the rest, only there was no preaching. Yet, the Welsh Revival is " the revival of preaching to Wales". Everybody is preaching. No order, yet it moves from day to day, week to week, county to county, with matchless precision, with the order of an attacking force. No [song] books, but ah me, I nearly wept tonight over the singing of our last hymn. . . .When these Welshmen sing, they sing the words like men who believe them. They abandon themselves to their singing. We sing as though we thought it would not be respectable to be heard by the one next to us. No choir, did I say? It was all choir.2
At year's end (1904), the Sunday schools, the Bible classes and the family devotionals were reaping their harvests.
 
Wales is ablaze for God. Twenty thousand converts were recorded in five weeks and fifth thousand in a few months. The great awakening shows no sign of diminishing. It's sweeping over hundreds of villages and cities, emptying taverns, theaters and dance halls, and filling the churches night after night with praying multitudes. Go where you will, into the bank, the store, the trains and everywhere people are talking about God. If you could stand above Wales, looking down on it, you would see the fire of God's presence breaking out here, and there, and everywhere, without any human planning. It is a divine visitation in which God - let me say this reverently - in which God is saying to us: "See what I can do without the things you are depending on. See what I can do through a praying people who are prepared to depend wholly and absolutely upon me."3
Like a tree shaken by a mighty storm, Wales was moved by the presence and the power of God, until almost every home in the nation felt its impact. Newspapers carried the news of the amazing scenes taking place. So great was the fear of God and conviction of sin that gripped the people that in some communities crime disappeared - judges were presented with a blank paper, as no cases waited to be tried. And to commemorate the occasion, they were presented with white gloves. In more than one place the post office's supply of money order blanks were exhausted as people sought to make restitution by paying their debts! Bars and theaters closed while stores were sold out of Bibles and Testaments. Members of parliament, who were busy attending revival services, postponed their political meetings; theatrical companies coming into districts found no audiences, for "all the world was praying." Temperance workers saw the Spirit of God accomplish more in three months than they had accomplished in forty years.
 
Such then is REVIVAL - a mighty, sovereign "moving of God" in answer to the cries of men and women who have fallen on their knees to travail before God. Revival is a visitation of God through His Spirit pouring intense conviction of sin upon the ungodly, whether in the church or outside, until multitudes have turned in tear-stained repentance to Christ.
 
Revival from heaven affects the every day affairs of people and how they live their lives. Revival closes the places of iniquity, transforms the lives and homes of multitudes, fills the churches, and causes the influence of spiritual values to be felt throughout a whole nation. Revival is a genuine "moving of God" that lays a spiritual foundation for the blessing of God in future generations.
 
WHAT NEXT? 
 
With great revivals now past history, we ask can those events be repeated? Will God send a similar revival from heaven in our day? We are convinced that God can do more than that; He is waiting to do even greater things! In every generation the revival resources of God are waiting to be released when God finds people who will stand before him with desperate spiritual hunger, clean hands and pure hearts, true humility, persevering intercession, and bold faith that make revival possible. For those who travel the highways of the world, there are obvious and encouraging signs that God is again "preparing the way" for a new spiritual awakening. The Hebrides islands, off the coast of Scotland, have been not only the scene of some of the most stirring revival events in the mid-twentieth century, but also under the blessing of God are now challenging men and women everywhere to "stand in the gap" for revival in this generation.
 
The spiritual awakening of the Hebrides (1949-53) has stirred the hearts of God's people everywhere, not because of its size but because the fire of God's presence was openly manifest there. This remains a challenge for us today. In spite of the scattered nature of the country and its difficulty of transport, the rugged and unemotional nature of the people and its rather small population, large numbers of people have turned to Christ in life-changing conversions, 75% of whom were saved outside the church. This should inspire us with new faith for even greater awakenings in our own nations.
 
Just as the news of the great Prayer Meeting Revival of America in 1857 swept across the ocean and brought revival to Ireland in 1859, so it may be in God's strategy that attention has been focused on what God did in the Hebrides in order to challenge the church and its intercessors to pray UNTIL the flames of revival are kindled in America. Then His fire will sweep across this whole land in a mighty Holy Spirit outpouring.
 
GOD HAS SURELY VISITED HIS PEOPLE
 
Electrified by this conviction, the great crowd of people, drawn from every part of the earth to the world-famous Keswick Convention in England, began to slowly file out of the convention tent. Suddenly, a woman in an awe-struck voice exclaimed: "It was just as though God had stepped out of heaven!"
 
And so it seemed, for I, too, had sat spellbound listening to the most thrilling, faith-inspired message I had ever heard. The message was destined to sweep across the face of the earth, stirring men and women to seek the face of God as never before. The news was about the gracious visitation of God's presence to the Hebrides.
 
Never in its many years of history had the Keswick Convention been more mightily stirred, as it listened to the report of the amazing events that had taken place just a few hundred miles away. The reports were that "hundreds had been converted, many without a word being spoken to them. Drunkards were trembling under conviction in the drinking houses. While people gathered in churches to pray, great conviction of sin was sweeping over districts, causing sinners to fall helpless in the roads. Church meetings were lasting for hours, four services were being held nightly, and churches and communities were being transformed. A preacher was called at four o'clock in the morning to pray with men and women outside the police station, people who had been smitten with great conviction and were crying for God to have mercy on them!"
 
The vivid descriptions of the Hebrides at the Keswick Convention reminded the people of the great Welsh Revival of 1904. Their hearts were being gripped by what they were hearing! They remembered the amazing events of those historic days in Wales when meetings were held day and night, and churches were packed to capacity as thousands turned to Christ. Because of lack of patronage, theaters and taverns were closed. Thieves and murderers surrendered to the Lord, and police courts were idle. Sins were confessed and old debts were paid. Work was forgotten, and meetings frequently would last for days at a time.
 
Christmas 1904 was the first real Christmas many children in Wales, and even men and women, ever had. Instead of being spent in taverns, as before, hard-earned wages were used for groceries and toys. The poverty of former days had been replaced with joy and plenty, for Christ had been invited into thousands of homes. Virtually the whole of Wales was on its knees on Christmas Day. That revival lasted about three years and swept through England, Ireland, parts of Europe, and even crossed the oceans to Australia and America, changing the lives of thousands.
Spiritual leaders and workers from various denominations who were present at that unforgettable meeting in Keswick, England were stirred, as they had never been before. They returned to their churches to call their people to prayer, convinced that a great heaven-sent spiritual awakening was going to break forth in the world.
 
COMMISSIONED FOR AMERICA
 
As the large crowd was slowly leaving the convention tent, filling the long narrow streets of the little market town of Keswick, a man was standing at my side talking to me. He was the very man [Duncan Campbell] whom God had used so remarkably in the Hebrides awakening. I can still hear his final words of challenge to me:
When you return to America, rouse the people; tell them what God is doing! I believe every church can have what we are having in the Hebrides. There is no 'mystery', but there is a 'secret'. If God can find a people over there, prepared to 'pay the price' as they have over here, he will visit them in the same revival of power!
 
Every word that fell from his lips seemed to burn its way into my soul, as I became conscious that the Spirit of God was speaking to me and giving me a new commission. As I remembered the tremendous impact of the message upon that great crowd of people that afternoon at Keswick, a great conviction gripped me - here was the message that surely all ministers and churches throughout the world needed to hear. Canceling my evangelistic campaigns, I returned immediately to America to stir her people to seek the face of God so that a similar spiritual awakening might happen there.
 
The impact of this dynamic message about God's visitation in the Hebrides has been amazing. Powerful prayer groups have sprung up everywhere, and church prayer meetings have been revitalized. In many churches the "all-night" prayer meeting has been restored, or introduced for the first time, resulting in real moving of the Spirit of God in conviction and confession of sin and reconsecration - on the part of both ministers and congregations alike. In some towns the churches have held citywide all-night prayer meetings as they interceded before God for the whole community.
 
Devout ministers of all denominations, burdened for real revival, are seeking God in fasting and prayer on behalf of their churches. Many have witnessed gracious manifestations of God among their congregations. At times preachers have been unable to deliver their sermons. The Spirit of God has quietly swept through congregations, causing people to be convicted of their sin. Oftentimes groups of people spontaneously would stand and walk down the aisles to kneel sobbing at the altars and confessing their sins - without a word being preached to them.
 
The gracious manifestation of God's presence in the Hebrides, the intercession that preceded it and the community transformation that followed are a deposit of what God wants to do with the church today on a large scale. The Hebrides revival reveals the potential power of prayer for the greatest sovereign moving of God in revival power that our generation (perhaps any generation) has ever known.
 
We are a continuation of history. God is inviting His people in this generation to join with the history makers and shakers of past revivals to advance God's kingdom on the earth forward to its final goal. May you hear in The Fire of God's Presence a personal challenge to fervently pray for revival and transformation in the city of the earth where God has placed you.
 

This article is taken from the book, The Fire of God's Presence, by Owen Murphy and John Wesley Adams (Ambassadors Press, 2003), chapter one.

1 From a taped message by Duncan Campbell, originally delivered to the students of the Faith Mission Bible College in Edinburgh, Scotland.
2 G. Campbell Morgan, "Lessons of the Welsh Revival," in S. B. Shaw's book The Great Revival in Wales (Salem, OH: Allegheny Publications, 1988 reprint; originally published in 1905), pp. 74-75.
3 Scattered references from S. B. Shaw's book, The Great Revival in Wales (1905).
4 Ibid.
5 From a taped message by Duncan Campbell, originally delivered to the students of the Faith Mission Bible College in Edinburgh, Scotland.
 
Copyright  2005 Fusion Ministries, Inc

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