The Bright and Shining Revival
by Kathie Walters
An account of the Hebridean Revival
Notes from the Welsh Revival
This is revival! (quote from Rev, Owen Murphy), "When men in the streets are afraid to open their mouths and utter godless words lest the judgment of God should fall; when sinners, overawed by the presence of God, tremble in the street and cry for mercy; when, without special meetings and sensational advertising the Holy Ghost sweeps across cities and towns in supernatural power and holds men in the grip of terrifying conviction; when every shop becomes a pulpit; every heart an alter; every home a sanctuary and people walk softly before God - this is revival!
The Welsh Revival of 1904, continues Rev. Murphy, "Was like a mighty tornado. The Spirit of God swept across the land until mountains and valleys, cities and villages were filled with the mighty manifestations of God. Churches were crowded and meetings went on day and night. Prayer, singing and testimonies would sweep over congregations in torrents and hundreds turned to Christ. Never in the history of Wales had such indescribable scenes been witnessed."
Dr Campbell Morgan, after witnessing the scenes of revival in Wales, returned to Westminster Chapel in London and declared, "Here is revival that comes from heaven; there is no preaching, no order, no hymn-books, no choirs, no organs, no collections and finally no advertising! Now think of that for a moment! There were organs - but they were silent. There were ministers - but there was no preaching - they were among the people praising God! Yet the Welsh revival is a revival of preaching, for everybody is preaching. No order and yet it moves from day to day, county to county with matchless precision, with the order of an attacking force. No song-books, but- ah me, I nearly wept over the singing! When the Welsh sing they abandon themselves to the singing. No choir did I say? It was all choir..... Wales is ablaze for God, already 50,000 converts have been recorded and the great awakening shows no signs of waning. It is sweeping over hundreds of villages and cities, emptying saloons, 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. Everywhere men are talking about God.
Fire Breaking Out
If you could stand above Wales, looking down over it you would see the fire breaking out here and there and yonder, and somewhere else, without any pre-arrangement. It is a divine visitation from God - 0h let me say this reverently, "God is saying to us, ĎSee 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.í"
Like a tree shaken by a mighty storm, Wales was moved by the power of God until almost every home in the nation felt its impact. Newspapers in bold headlines carried the news of the amazing scenes taking place. So great was the fear of God, and conviction gripped the people, that in some communities crime disappeared - Magistrates were presented with a blank paper, no cases to be tried. And, to commemorate the occasion they were presented with white gloves! In more than one place the Post officeís supply of money orders were exhausted as people sought to make restitution by paying their debts.
Saloons and theaters were closed and stores were sold out of Bibles and New Testaments. Members of Parliament, busy attending revival services, postponed their political meetings: Theatrical companies coming into districts found no audience, for all the world was praying.
God Can do it Again
This is revival - A mighty God moving on behalf of men and women who have cried out to Him Can God do this again - I believe He is waiting to release His awesome power - He is now preparing the way through dedicated and praying, believing people. There is a time to pray and then there is a time to receive Godís answer, for prayer is not a one-way communication. The men and women who prayed in the wonderful revival in the Hebrides Island got hold of Godís promise - and the fact that He was a covenant-keeping God who kept His word. This story is meant to encourage you to do the same as they did - for God has not changed, His word has not been voided - He is still waiting to respond to a praying, believing people who will not let Him go.
The Hebridean Revival 1948-1952
The Hebrides Islands are a small group of islands off the West coast of Scotland. In 1949 -1952, God poured out His Spirit in response to a handful of praying men and women. It doesnít take multitudes to move the hand of God - but those who were determined to "push through the crowd" and touch the hem of His garment.
The First Stirring
At a meeting of the Church of Scotland, in Stornaway, a group of men discussed the awful condition of the church in their communities. The worldly places were crowded and the church were virtually empty. The young people had just about disappeared and it seemed that many churches were about to close their doors. No-one at the meeting dreamed that this would be the preliminary of an amazing spiritual awakening.
Among the many people who were concerned about the state of the church, was a small group of men from Barvas, the district that was to become the center of the revival.
They agreed to meet in a small barn by the side of the road, to pray. They were given the revelation that God was a covenant- keeping God who had made covenant promises! "If this is true," they reasoned, "We can enter into this covenant and if we keep our part then He must keep His. Has God given us a covenant promise for revival?" Immediately the words of 11 Chronicles 7:14, came to them, "If My people which are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land."
That same night they entered into a solemn covenant with God to pray for the community and to humble themselves in prayer until revival came.
For months they prayed and waited on God - three night, three times a week they wrestled and prayed until 4am or 5am. Finally one night, a young deacon arose from his knees and began to read Psalm 24, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy place? He that has clean hands and a pure heart - he shall receive the blessings of the Lord."
In response to this searching challenge from God they fell upon their knees in confession and re-dedication and began to pray even more earnestly. An hour later three of them were laying prostrate on the floor - they were exhausted. By five o-clock revival had come! The barn was suddenly filled with the glory of God, and the power that was let loose filled that little barn, shook the whole community.
The Praying Sisters
Around the same time in a little cottage in the village of Barvas, two elderly sisters - Peggy and Christine Smith, were also praying. Peggy was almost blind, and Christine was bent over with Arthritis. They were 84 and 82 years old. They also had been seeking God for revival, and to them came the promise, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground."
One night, knowing that the others had gathered together to pray in the barn, they had gathered around their little peat fire to spend the night in prayer. Peggy suddenly had a vision of the church, crowded again with young people. She sent for the minister, Rev. James Murray Mackay, and told him what God had shown her, asking him to encourage his elders and deacons to come together for special times of waiting upon God.
On the same night when the presence of God visited the barn, the glory swept into the little cottage and God spoke to the two women, revealing to them the name of the man God wanted to use in the visitation - The Rev. Duncan Campbell, a Presbyterian minister and a great man of prayer. God said, "In two weeks I shall send upon this community the greatest spiritual awakening it has known."
A wire was sent to Duncan Campbell, who was ministering in the Highland town of Skye, but it was discovered that he was already booked for another meeting. He sent a reply, "It is impossible for me to come at this time but keep praying and I will come next year." When the reply came back and was told to the sisters they answered, "That is what man has said, but God has said that He will be here in two weeks." In the meantime Duncan Campbellís meetings in Skye were cancelled, due to the fact that the tourist board had monopolized the accomodation for the convention. Within two weeks he was in Barvas!
Duncan Campbell comes to Barvas
Duncan Campbell crossed the Minch in the Loch Seaforth. He was planning to stay for 10 days in Barvis. Little did he know what awaited him. As the ship docked and Duncan stepped ashore, he was met by the Rev. James MacKay and two of his elders. One of the elders greeted him and asked, "Mr Campbell, are you walking with God?" "Well at any rate I can say that I fear God," was Duncanís reply.
The First Meeting
The first meeting was held in the old parish church. Many people had gathered in a great expectancy but nothing exceptional happened at that meeting. Duncan Campbell appeared discouraged and so one of the deacons went to him and said, "Donít be discouraged, it is coming. I hear the rumbling of heavenís chariot wheels. We will have another night of prayer and then we will see what God is going to do!"
They went to a nearby cottage and about thirty knelt in prayer and began to travail before the Lord. About 3 am God swept in and a dozen or so were laid out prostrate on the floor, and lay there speechless. Something had happened - God had moved into action as He had promised. Revival had come and men and women were about to find deliverance.
As the group left the cottage they found men and women seeking God. Lights were burning in the homes along the road - no one seemed to be thinking about sleep. Three men were found lying by the roadside in a torrent of conviction, crying out for God to have mercy on them! The Spirit of God was moving into action and soon the parish of Barvas was to be stirred from end to end.The Second Stirring
On the second night buses came from the four corners of the island, crowding into the church. Seven men were being driven to the meeting in a butchers truck when suddenly the Spirit of God fell on them in great conviction and all were saved before they reached the church building! As the preacher preached his message, tremendous conviction swept down.. Tears rolled down the faces of the people and men and women cried out for mercy from every corner of the church. So deep was their distress that some of their cries could be heard outside in the road. A young man beneath the pulpit cried out, "Oh hell is too good for me."
The meeting closed when the people began to move out. As the last person was leaving a young man began to pray under a tremendous burden of intercession. He prayed for three quarters of an hour and as he continued to pray people kept gathering outside until there were twice as many outside as there had been inside. When the young man stopped praying the Elder gave out Psalm 132 and as the great congregation sang the old hymn, the people streamed back into the church again and the meeting continued until 4am.
The moment the people took their seats, the Spirit, in great conviction began to sweep through the church, and hardened sinners began to weep and confess their sins.
The Police Station
As the meeting was closing someone excitedly hurried to the preacher, "Come with me! Thereís a crowd of people outside the police station; they are weeping and in great distress. We donít know whatís wrong with them but they are calling for someone to come and pray with them."
The minister described the scene outside the police station; "I saw a sight I never thought possible. Something I shall never forget. Under a starlit sky, men and women were kneeling everywhere, by the roadside, outside the cottages, even behind the peat stacks, crying for God to have mercy on them."
Nearly 600 people, making their way to the church, suddenly experienced the power of God falling upon them in great conviction, and like Paul on the road to Damascus, fell to their knees in repentance.
Revival had come in power - for five weeks it swept across that one parish. Duncan Campbell conducted four services every night; in one church at 7pm, in another at 10pm and a third at midnight and then back to the first one at 3am - then home between 5-6am - tired - but happy to be in the midst of such a wonderful move of God.
After this, the revival began to spread to other towns and what had happened in Barvis began to happen in other places.
Men and women throughout the island began to plead to God in desperate intercession and prayer for revival. The Spiritís power began to increase.
God Visits Arnol
Arnol was a small community which came within the path of the spiritual tornado. Because of the spiritual indifference it was reckoned that hardly a young person darkened the doors of any house of God; the Sundays being given to drinking and poaching etc. News of the revival spread and an opposition meeting was held. Although the church was crowded, it was because many people came from various parts of the island - there were very few actually from Arnol.
The little band of prayer warriors made their way to the farmhouse to plead the promises of God. Just after midnight Duncan Campbell asked John, the local blacksmith, to pray. John rose to his feet with his cap in hand and prayed a prayer that will never be forgotten by those who were present.
In the middle of his prayer he stopped and raised his right hand to heaven and continued, "Oh God, you made a promise to pour water on the dry ground, and Lord itís not happening." He paused again and then continued, "Lord, I donít know how the others here stand in your Presence; I donít know how these ministers stand, but Lord, if I know anything about my own heart, I stand before you as an empty vessel, thirsting for thee and for a manifestation of Thy power." He halted again and after a moment of tense silence cried, "Oh God your honor is at stake; and I now challenge you to fulfil your covenant engagement and do what you promised to do."
The Prayer of Faith
Here is a man praying the prayer of faith that heaven must answer. There are those in Arnol today who will verify the fact that while the brother prayed, the dishes on the dresser rattled as God turned loose His mighty power. Then wave after wave of divine power swept throughout the room. Simultaneously the Spirit of God swept through the village . People could not sleep and houses were lit all night; people walked the streets in great conviction; others knelt by their bedsides crying for pardon. As the men left the prayer meeting the preacher walked into a house for a glass of milk and found the lady of the house with seven others down upon their knees, crying out for God.
Within 48 hours the drinking house, usually crowded with drinking men of the village, was closed. 14 young men who had been drinking there were gloriously converted. Those same men afterwards could be found three times a week with others down upon their knees before God, praying for their old associates and for the spread of revival. It was in this village that within 48 hours, many young people had surrendered their lives to Christ, and could also be found in the prayer meetings!
Among those converted the following night was a young boy of 16, named Donald Mcphail. Donald became an outstanding prayer warrior and was asked often to pray in the meetings. One day Duncan Campbell found him in the barn with his Bible open. When interrupted he quietly said, "Excuse me a little Mr Campbell, Iím having an audience with the King."
The Power of Prayer - Bernera
Some of the most vivid outpouring came when Donald was asked to pray. In the police station one night in Barvas, he simply stood up, clasped his hands together and uttered one word - "Father." Everyone melted into tears as the presence of God filled the station. In Callenish, he prayed until the power of God laid hold of those who were dead in sins, transforming them into the living stones in the temple of God. One of the most outstanding anointings of prayer happened when he was in Bernera, a small island off the coast of Lewis. Duncan Campbell was assisting at a communion service; the atmosphere was heavy and the preaching difficult, so he sent to Barvas for some men to come and assist in prayer. They prayed, but the spiritual bondage persisted, so much so that half-way through the sermon, Duncan stopped preaching. Just then he noticed Donald, visibly moved under a deep burden for souls. He thought, "This boy is in touch with God, and living nearer to the Savior than I am." He said, "Donald, will you lead us in prayer?" The young lad rose to his feet and made reference to the fourth chapter of Revelation which he had been reading that morning. "Oh God I seem to be gazing through an open door. I see the Lamb in the midst of the Throne, with the keys of death and hell at His girdle." He began to sob, then lifting his eyes toward heaven, cried, "Oh God there is power, let it loose!" The Spirit of God swept into the building and the heavens were opened. The church resembled a battlefield. On one side many were prostrated over the seats weeping and sighing; on the other side some were affected by throwing their arms up in the air in a rigid posture for an hour. God had come!
Outside, startling things were taking place. The Spirit of God was sweeping over the homes and area surrounding the village, and many people came under the convicting power of the Spirit. Fisherman out in their boats; men behind their looms; men at the pit bank; a merchant out in his truck; school teachers examining their papers were gripped by the power of God and by 10 -0-clock the roads were streaming with people from every direction, making their way to the church.
As the preacher came out of the church the Holy Spirit swept in among the people in the road like a wind. They gripped each other in fear. In agony of soul they trembled; many wept and some fell to the ground under great conviction of sin. Several men were found laying by the side of the road in such distress that they could not even speak - yet they had not been anywhere near the church!
So great was the supernatural moving of God that most of the homes did not escape the conviction of the Spirit, and the routine of business was stopped, that the island might seek the face of God like Ninevah of Bible Days. The town was changed, lives and homes transformed and even the fishing fleet, as it sailed out into the bay took with it a Presenter, to lead them in prayer and worship singing.
Supernatural Manifestations of God
So overwhelming sometimes was the Presence of God, that people were afraid to open their mouths lest they utter words that would bring judgment upon themselves. People walked quietly before God and, as in every true revival, many shops became a pulpit, many homes a sanctuary, and hearts became an alter.
Another outstanding manifestation of this revival was the great conviction of sin that came upon the people. A visiting minister of Lewis declared, "So tremendous has been this sense of an awareness of God, that I have known men out in the fields, others at their looms, so overcome that they fell prostrate on the ground! One outstanding trophy of grace was converted while crossing a field. He testified, "So great was the sense of Godís presence, that even the grass beneath my feet and the rocks around me seemed to cry out, ĎFlee to Christ for refuge.í"
Even the most hardened sinners and notorious characters of the district have literally been found lying helpless by the roadside, stricken with conviction as in the great Welsh revival of 1904. Another remarkable feature was the persistent nature of the Spirit in following men and women until decisions were made.
Trying to Escape from God
It was known that some people even left the Island altogther, in order to avoid the searching presence of God. Such was the case of a young man who found that like Jonah of old, it was impossible to escape from God. One night, after being spoken to about his personal need of salvation, conviction gripped him and he began to tremble. "This wont get hold of me," he muttered, "Iíll get away from here and drink my way out of it." Entering the drinking place he ordered a drink, but to his consternation he overheard a group of men discussing their own great need and fear of being lost. He trembled even more. "This is no place for a man who wants to shake this off," he growled. "Iíll go over to the dance and Iíll dance my way out of it." He hadnít been in the dance hall for very long when a young lady came up to him exclaiming, "Oh! Where would eternity find us if God should strike us dead tonight?" Tremendous conviction swept down upon the young man and he surrendered himself to Christ.
Donald Smith told me that in 1949 the angels were heard singing at Barvas and at Point, and throughout the Island. One of the elders who heard them was Colin Nicolson. At Kinloch, Angie Maclead, one of the elders from the church, also reported hearing the angels singing as they were going over to Barvas. One night after a prayer meeting in Shader the angels were heard singing so the people followed them until they stopped singing. They went into a house nearby and some women were on their knees praying to the Lord to have mercy on them.
These dear ladies became shining lights in the village until they died.
Five young ladies reported seeing lights going down chimneys and on one of the churches in Shader. They are still alive today, one in Glasgow and four in the Island of Lewis. They are still following the good shepherd and the flock. Donald told me that he recently had heard the sound of angels singing as he drove past the barn where the men used to pray. His car was full of the sound of angelic song.
The Sisters Request
The sisters, Peggy and Christine continued to pray for the revival - One day Peggy sent for Duncan Campbell, asking him to go and hold meetings in a small isolated village. The people of this village were not in favor of the revival. Duncan questioned the wisdom of her request. "Besides," he added. "I have no leading to go to that place." She turned in the direction of the voice, her sightless eyes seemed to penetrate his soul. "Mr. Campbell, if you were living as near to God as you ought to be, He would reveal His secrets to you also." Duncan felt like a subordinate being reprimanded for defying his General. He humbly accepted the rebuke as from the Lord and asked if he and Rev. Mackay could spend some time praying with them. The sisters agreed. As they prayed together, Peggy prayed, "Lord, you remember what you told me this morning, that in this village You are going to save seven men who will become pillars of the church of my fathers. Lord, I have given your message to Mr Campbell, but it seems he is not prepared to receive it, Oh Lord, give him wisdom because he badly needs it!" "Alright Peggy, Iíll go the village," Duncan said. Peggy replied, "You had better - and God will give you a congregation."
The Seven Men
Arriving in the village about 7pm they found a large single storey house, already crowded to capacity with many others outside. Duncan gave out a Bible text, "The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men everywhere to repent." When he was through preaching, a minister beckoned him to the other end of the house to speak to a crowd of people who were weeping and mourning over their sins, among them - Peggyís seven men!
In some districts there was hardly a soul who was not affected by the revival. One man who had very little time for God was driving along the road when he suddenly saw before him a vision of hell. Startled and afraid, he jammed on his brakes, pulled his car to the roadside, then, kneeling down he surrendered his life to Christ.
Sometimes conviction rested upon sinners for days, causing great distress of mind. Such was the case of a man so convinced of his godless life, and seemingly unable to get peace of mind in spite of repentance, that he rushed down to the sea-shore, and hiding behind the rocks, prepared to commit suicide. A young women in her home, while kneeling in prayer, had a vision of this man: God showed her exactly where the man was and what he was about to do. Rising quickly, she called her minister, instructing him where to find the unfortunate man. The minister arrived just in time to save the man, not only from physical death, but also eternal hell.
Some of the men who were saved became great trophies of Godís grace. One of them was out in the field working, when great conviction fell on him. He began to tremble violently. "Youíre not a sissy, whatís the matter with you?" he said to himself. The voice of God seemed to thunder into his soul. "You are a poacher and a Sabbath-breaker." He knew what God meant - he had been breaking he law - poaching. He was a drunkard, a real godless fellow, and this was a new experience to him. Feeling miserable and wretched because of the burden of sin, he went along to the church and was gloriously converted.
Another man sitting in a hotel was met by God in the same amazing way. Stretching forth his hand to pick up a beer, he suddenly became conscious of Godís presence. He began to tremble and great conviction took hold of him as the voice of God began to thunder in his soul, and he put down his beer. Shortly afterwards he was gloriously converted to Christ and became a great witness for Jesus.
There was a young women used by God during the revival in powerful visions and trances. One night she had a vision of a women in agony of soul twenty miles away. Duncan was informed that he ought to go and see this women. Without hesitation he motor-cycled to the village and found the women. He witnessed to her and brought deliverance, and introduced her to the savior. Not one message given by this woman proved false. Duncan did not encourage nor discourage these trances, but he recognized it was God and warned people not to interfere or associate it with any demonic activity.
Whenever Duncan Campbell was in the Islands after that he never left without visiting the praying men who had helped so much in the revival, and with whom he had such an affinity of Spirit. He marveled at their discernment and worldwide vision. They prayed for nations they knew little about - but they heard from God and obeyed the calling of the Spirit.
Here is the kind of revival that we need - the supernatural power of God gripping the hearts of men and women in soul-shaking conviction - even while they are dabbling in their sins! Many who came under this strange manifestation of God were stricken with conviction and left helpless where they had fallen, while others have cried in repentance for days before finding peace with God. Such was the tremendous heart-searching conviction that comes upon men and women during a heaven-sent visitation of God - sometimes it is terrible to behold.
The Effects of Visitation
The impact the revival made in the districts that were visited brought much lasting fruit - but as in other revivals, there were districts that were not touched.
Quoting from the Keswick Journal in 1952 - "More people are attending prayer-meetings in Lewis today that attended public worship on the Sabbath day before the outbreak of revival..Social evils were swept away as by a flood and in the communities touched by this gracious movement you have men and women living for God. Family worship in nearly every home; five or six prayer meetings a week in the parish; pastors and elders building up men and women in the faith. Of all the hundreds who turned to Christ in the first wave of the Holy Spirit, until now, only four young women have ceased to attend the prayer meetings."
The converts were numbered by their attendance at the prayer meetings. Absence from the prayer-meeting meant a doubted conversion! (Here is a standard very few churches would dare to adopt. If we judged our converts or church members by their attendance at prayer meetings, what would happen?
During the revival over 80 new hymns were written and although the emphasis of the Holy Spirit was on the conviction of sin, and warnings of judgment, almost every hymn was centered on the love of God.
One time a crowd of people had gathered to listen to one of the leading Socialists, but he failed to make his appearance. Searching everywhere, his associates finally found him beside his bed in prayer. "Whatís the meaning of this?" They demanded, "The people are waiting to hear you speak." Turning a tear- stained face toward them, he replied, "Go and tell them that I have business with God, and if any of them know how to pray, tell them to pray for me because I need it." Needless to say the political rally broke up in confusion.
The happy people of the Hebrides Isles had made the discovery of a lifetime - they discovered the reality of God and the great things he had been waiting to do for them.
The Secret of the Visitation
The Hebrides revival was a manifestation of God! Something greater than organization, something more wonderful than simply a new approach to evangelism - this was God at work! God in action, independent of special personalities, but behind the irresistible power of God there was a "secret." One minister and seven members of his church, in a little wooden barn by the side of the road, who were prepared to stand in faith, praying and believing, and who got hold of God - that revival might come.
What was the secret of these men?
Faith in a Covenant-Keeping God
These men were fully persuaded that revival lay within their grasp through the covenant promises of God. Had not God Himself declared, "If my people, who are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin, and heal their land" (11 Chron. 7:14).
A covenant is an agreement, binding on both parities. The praying men knew that if they kept their part of the agreement then the agreement was binding upon God - for He is not a liar. His word must come to pass and they could absolutely depend upon it. God has promised revival therefore He is waiting to send it - if this was true then revival did not depend on God but on His people keeping the conditions of the covenant! Staking everything upon this fact, three times a week the men met in the little barn by the roadside to keep the conditions of the covenant promise and hear from heaven.
Each night, as they knelt in the straw, they would renew their faith by remembering the promise, and declare before the Presence of God the certainty of the coming revival. Nothing, including the long weary months of waiting could weaken their confidence that God would keep His promise.
"If My People..."
"If My people will humble themselves..." God is Holy and humanity must humble itself before Deity. Before men can stand on Holy ground, he must be clean. Watch the drama of the barn unfold itself as one night, one of the men slowly rose from the straw and began to read from Psalm 24.
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Who shall stand in His holy place? He that has clean hands and a pure heart; who shall not lift up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully; he shall receive the blessing of the Lord."
Like flames falling from the lips of a Holy God , every word seemed to burn into the hearts of the men gathered to do business with God. Before the challenge of this declaration, unhesitatingly, they fell to their knees in unreserved dedication and surrender to God. They were prepared to meet every demand, whatever the personal cost might be - that revival might come. The price - brokenness before God, an emptying of self, a forsaking of sin and habits.
Prevailing PrayerEvery revival that has broken upon the face of the earth has been preceded by men and women upon their knees travailing before God. Undeterred by cold and the discomforts of the barn; undeterred when there appeared to be no answer; undeterred by the fact that no-one else seemed concerned about revival and the world was as godless as ever, they travailed and prayed, kneeling in the straw or upon their faces in agony of soul, they cried before the throne. No half-hearted, sentimental, religious, half- doubting prayers to which the church is so accustomed today and which accomplish so little. These men wrestled with God, drawing into the spiritual conflict every power and energy they possessed.
The men who had covenanted to stand for revival PRAYED! They stormed the throne of God. God imparted to them a burning passion of the lost and confidence in God gripped every word that fell from their lips. What depths of reaching out to God! They prayed until they travailed and travailed until they prevailed - they prayed until God answered. Travail must always precede "prevail." "When Zion travailed she BROUGHT FORTH."The Challenge
Godís Power V FormalismThe wonderful visitation of God to the Hebrides Islands, is not only one of he most stirring and faith building events of our generation, but also represents one of the greatest spiritual challenges to us now. Its scenes of divine power reveal the tremendous potential of a genuine move of God in our churches and communities. The pattern of events which led up to the visitation, amplified by the declarations of the Word of God, makes it very evident that what has taken place in the Hebrides can be experienced anywhere else in the world. There is no town, city or village that is exempt from the covenant power of the covenant-keeping God. Was the Hebrides a great city? No! Was the group praying a large company of experiences prophetic intercessors? No! Did they pray for years and years? No! They prayed for five months.
Gathered with the men in the barn was their elder/ minister, a symbol of every minister who is prepared to join with his people in seeking the face of God. Standing in the shadows behind the revival is another minister, Rev. Duncan Campbell, the man God chose to preach during this time of divine visitation.
Burdened because of the spiritual indifference of the ungodly; grieved at the decline of spiritual life in the churches; feeling utterly helpless in the face of such a challenge, he knelt in his study crying to God. Suddenly, but quietly, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and before him there appeared a vision of a dying world plunging into an abyss of eternal darkness, and multitudes of men and women speeding on to Christ less graves. Then came the revelation that was to transform his ministry - God was a Covenant-keeping God who made covenant promises to His people! Like a great flash of light he suddenly saw that there was a great realm of potentiality, power and blessing within his grasp through the covenant promises of God. He could enter into a covenant with God. If he kept his part he could have more of the power of the spirit in his ministry. From that moment, through surrender to the Lord, and constant waiting on God he entered into a ministry that was to cause men and women to feel the impact of the Presence of God. Fearlessly preaching the judgments of God against sin, and emphasizing the faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God, hundreds, stricken by great conviction of sin, turned to God.
The Power of God Vs Formalism
Formalistic preaching never raised the dead. Only a demonstration of Divine power can do that. Such it was in the days of Whitfield, when it was a common sight for sinners to cry out. Under his anointed preaching, some were struck pale as death and fell prostrate to the ground; others sank into the arms of friends.
Born in New Hampshire in 1810, John Wesley Redfield, an old-time evangelist had great and powerful demonstrations of the power of God in his ministry, One time after weeping before God, he heard God speak to him, "You may prepare for the greatest display of My power that you have ever witnessed in this church."
That night before he had finished preaching, people flocked to the alters crying for mercy. Another time the church was suddenly filled with an awful sense of the Presence of God. Like a thunderclap the power of God broke upon the meeting and hundreds, panic stricken with fear crowded the alters pleading for mercy
The biggest hindrance to revival is not Communism or any other "ism" but dead religion that gives people a substitute for the Presence of God Himself. Churches and leaders pray for a visitation of God but then draw back in fear when God begins to show up in power. People look for the presence of God but when He comes, dynamic and sensational things happen. - and many leaders do not like the sensational! But, how can you have the demonstrations of Godís spirit without a certain amount of sensational things happening. Jesus ministry was certainly sensational. How can you raise the dead, cast our devils, bring miracles of healing and turn the world upside down and not disturb the world around you? To quote Rev. Owen Murphy, "When Jesus healed the sick, and raised the dead; when Peter and John brought deliverance and healing to the lame man outside the temple; when the Spirit of God was poured out upon Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, causing thousands to be converted - did not these acts cause sensation - certainly they did. Yet these acts were not "fanaticism." They were the acts of a miracle working God manifesting His divine power that the eyes of the people night be turned to Himself".
The Bible is full of accounts of sensational acts of God - in deliverance, judgement, healing, miracles. I think the parting of the Red Sea must have been a pretty sensational sight donít you? Or Jesus walking on the water would be mind-boggling. As Owen Murphy points out, "God cannot work where there is unbelief but He requires our faith as a vehicle to work through. The Old Testament cries out, "Ye have limited the Holy one of Israel," and its echo in the New Testament is, "Because of unbelief, He (Jesus ) could do no mighty works."
Shall we be guilty of unbelief through our fear of God maybe working in an unorthodox way? We are happy to read in the Bible about Moses, Joshua, Elijah and the Apostles; but what would have happened if they had doubted God? Nothing! If fear of the sensational had gripped them we would never have read about the parting of the Red Sea, the walls of Jericho falling down or fire falling upon Carmel. If Jesus and the Apostles had not dared to step out and obey God, we would never have read about the prison doors opening, the blind seeing, the deaf hearing and the lame walking!
If we desire to see the same kind of revival today as they saw in Wales in 1904, in the Hebrides in 1948, and in many other times in history we must rid ourselves of our unbelief and complacency. We must get hold of God and in obedience do what He says. We must believe He is a covenant-keeping God. He is not a liar - He promised to come and "heal our land" if we would keep our end of the promise, to humble ourselves and pray, and to seek His face and turn from our wicked ways.. GODíS RESPONSE IS, "THEN WILL I HEAR FROM HEAVEN AND FORGIVE THEIR SIN AND HEAL THEIR LAND."
There must be the men and women who are not casual seekers of God, but those who mean business, like the men in the barn, who will not let go until they receive the confirmation that He has heard according to His own covenant
From the book "Bright and Shining Revival"- Kathie Walters (used by permission)
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He Alone Ministries and Paul Parsons