"Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:24)
Pictured above is Evan Roberts who is credited with helping to ignite the Welsh Revival in 1904.
One of 14 children born to his parents, Henry and Hannah Roberts, Evan worked as a coal miner in Wales for a period of time. But, feeling a call to the ministry, Evan enrolled in seminary.
At one point, Evan and his fellow seminary classmates sought and received permission to skip classes so they could travel to a nearby town and hear evangelist Seth Joshua preach. At that meeting, Evan heard Seth Joshua pray, "O God, bend us."
Moved by the Spirit, Evan went forward in the service and in great agony prayed, "O God, bend ME!"
Returning to his seminary, Evan found he was unable to concentrate on his studies. As he prayed nightly from 1 am to 5 am, Evan kept hearing the Spirit prompting him to go home and speak to the young people in his home church.
Evan's director at the seminary, sensing this was the Spirit's prompting, allowed Evan to travel to his home town of Loughor. There he asked his pastor permission to preach. Evan was told he could talk to those who wanted to remain after a Monday evening prayer meeting. Seventeen people stayed and heard Evan tell them he had a message from God. His message contained just four points:
First, you must confess any known sin to God and put any wrong done to others right.
Second, you must put away any doubtful habit.
Third, you must obey the Spirit promptly.
Finally, you must confess your faith in Christ publicly.
Despite the simplicity of the message, it came with such anointing that those 17 people were deeply moved to wholehearted obedience. And the impact on their lives was so significant that the pastor asked Evan to speak at other services that week and also the following week.
The result was that widespread revival, like a tidal wave, broke out! Within six months 100,000 people throughout Wales had responded to the Gospel for the first time! Crime dropped, and drunkenness virtually disappeared. Due to lack of crime, to stay busy, police began to form singing quartets that would perform for groups!
The impact was not limited to Wales. It spread to Britain, Scandinavia, Germany, North America, Australia, Asia, Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Chile.
While the positive impact was huge, there are also lessons we must learn from the Welsh Revival. Whenever God moves in power, Satan will do his utmost to interfere with the work of God. If he can't get us to forsake God explicitly, he may allow even our strengths to trip us up.
Evan was extremely diligent in his passion for God. So diligent that he may have placed too much of the burden for the revival on himself. Balance in the Christian life takes the entire Body of Christ working together to avoid extremes.
Tragically, after seeing God move mightily in Wales and elsewhere, Evan ultimately became exhausted with the schedule he chose to keep and suffered a mental and physical breakdown. While he continued in prayer, he lived much of the rest of his life in relative seclusion, dying in 1951.
What lessons can we learn from the Welsh Revival? 1. God is the only one who can bring and sustain revival. 2. God responds when we as Christ's followers individually are revived and begin to pray earnestly for revival. 3. For revival to be sustained, we need to keep our eyes on the Reviver, and resist the temptation to focus on ourselves or the exciting phenomena of revival. 4. Everyone of us has blindspots. We need brothers and sisters in Christ to lovingly encourage us to walk in the truth of the Word as we do the same for them. 5. God's heart is not willing for any to perish and He uses times of revival and awakening to bring many to a saving knowledge of Him.
We firmly believe God longs to bring revival and spiritual awakening to greater Grand Rapids. Will you pray daily for this to happen and that God will empower many men and women in our day to emulate the heart of Evan Roberts, that we will allow God to use us as He pleases for the sake of seeing Jesus move powerfully in our churches, our city, our nation and our world?
Our Next Grand Rapids area Grand Awakening gathering for multi-denominational Revival Prayer is next Tuesday night, January 17, at 7 pm at Crossroads Bible Church, 800 Scribner NW, Grand Rapids. Please join others from all over our community to cry out to God for Him to move in power!
Manna Media just released a sequel to trehe video we shared previously about our family. This new one talks about how our children are missionaries to a time we ourselves will never see.Click to watch it.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)