1904 - Monday 31 October - Loughor, Wales (Evan Roberts)
1906 - Saturday 14 April - Azusa Street, Los Angeles (William Seymour)
1907 - January - Pyong-Yang, Korea
1914 - Belgian Congo in Africa (C. T. Studd)
1921 - Monday 7 March - Lowestroft, England (Douglas Brown)
1936 - Sunday 29 June - Gahini, Rwanda (East African Revival)
Revival historian Edwin Orr observed: 'The early twentieth century
Evangelical Awakening was a worldwide movement. It did not begin
with the phenomenal Welsh Revival of 190405. Rather its
sources were in the springs of little prayer meetings which seemed
to arise spontaneously all over the world, combining into streams
of expectation which became a river of blessing in which the Welsh
Revival became the greatest cataract. ...
'The Welsh Revival was the farthestreaching of the movements
of the general Awakening, for it affected the whole of the Evangelical
cause in India, Korea and China, renewed revival in Japan and
South Africa, and sent a wave of awakening over Africa, Latin
America, and the South Seas.
'The story of the Welsh Revival is astounding. Begun with prayer
meetings of less than a score of intercessors, when it burst its
bounds the churches of Wales were crowded for more than two years.
A hundred thousand outsiders were converted and added to the
churches, the vast majority remaining true to the end. Drunkenness
was immediately cut in half, and many taverns went bankrupt.
Crime was so diminished that judges were presented with white
gloves signifying that there were no cases of murder, assault,
rape or robbery or the like to consider. The police became "unemployed"
in many districts. Stoppages occurred in coal mines, not due to
unpleasantness between management and workers, but because so
many foulmouthed miners became converted and stopped using
foul language that the horses which hauled the coal trucks in
the mines could no longer understand what was being said to them,
and transportation ground to a halt' (Orr 1975c:192193).
Touches of revival had stirred New Quay, Cardiganshire, on the
west coast of Wales where Joseph Jenkins was minister of a church
in which he led teams of revived young people in conducting testimony
meetings throughout the area.
Seth Joshua then held meetings there, then at Newcastle Emlyn
and at Blaenannerch, at which students from the Methodist Academy
attended including Evan Roberts.
At Blanannerch on Thursday 29 September, Seth Joshua closed the
7 am meeting before breakfast crying out in Welsh, 'Lord ... bend
us'. Evan Roberts remembered, 'It was the Spirit that put the
emphasis for me on "Bend us". "That is what you
need" said the Spirit to me. And as I went out I prayed,
O Lord, bend me.'
During the 9 am meeting, Evan Roberts eventually prayed aloud
after others had prayed. He knelt with his arms over the seat
in front, bathed in perspiration as he agonised. He recalled,
'I cried out, "Bend me! Bend me! Bend us! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh!" (Evans 1969:70).
The revelation, 'God commendeth his love' (Romans 5:18) overwhelmed
Evan Roberts. Soon a motto of the revival became 'Bend the church
and save the world'. Evan Roberts in his twenties was one of
God's agents in that national revival.
Monday 31 October - Loughor, Wales (Evan Roberts)
Soon after the impact of the Spirit on him at Seth Joshua's meetings,
he took leave to return home to challenge his friends, especially
the young people.
Back home in his small village of Loughor on the south coast of
Wales, Evan Roberts spoke after the usual Monday night meeting
to 17 people. The Holy Spirit moved on them all. He then spoke
every night to increasing crowds. By the weekend the church was
packed and invitations came for him to speak in other churches
and chapels. He usually took a small team with him to pray, witness
November 1904 saw the fires of revival spread throughout Wales.
Newspapers began describing the crowded meetings. By January
1905 the papers had reported 70,000 converted in less than three
The Spirit of God convicted people as Evan Roberts insisted:
1. You must put away any unconfessed sin.
2. You must put away any doubtful habit.
3. You must obey the Spirit promptly.
4. You must confess Christ publicly.
He believed that a baptism in the Spirit was the essence of revival
and that the primary condition of revival is that individuals
should experience such a baptism in the Spirit.
Easter Saturday 14 April - Azusa Street, Los Angeles
William Seymour, the Negro leader of The Apostolic Faith Mission
located at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles on Easter Saturday,
14 April 1906 began there with about 100 attending including blacks
and whites. It grew out of a cottage prayer meeting at Bonnie
Brae Street where the weight of the swelling crowds has broken
the front verandah, so they had to move.
Not only was the racial mixture unusual, but newspaper reports,
usually critical of these noisy Pentecostal meetings, drew both
Christians and unbelievers, poor and rich, to investigate.
'At Azusa, services were long, and on the whole they were spontaneous.
In its early days music was a cappella, although one or two instruments
were included at times. There were songs, testimonies given by
visitors or read from those who wrote in, prayer, altar calls
for salvation or sanctification or for baptism in the Holy Spirit.
And there was preaching. Sermons were generally not prepared
in advance but were typically spontaneous. W. J. Seymour was
clearly in charge, but much freedom was given to visiting preachers.
There was also prayer for the sick. Many shouted. Others were
"slain in the Spirit" or "fell under the power."
There were periods of extended silence and of singing in tongues.
No offerings were collected, but there was a receptacle near
the door for gifts. ...
'Growth was quick and substantial. Most sources indicate the
presence of about 300350 worshippers inside the fortybysixtyfoot
whitewashed woodframe structure, with others mingling
outside... At times it may have been double that. ...
'Thus the significance of Azusa was centrifugal as those who were
touched by it took their experiences elsewhere and touched the
lives of others. Coupled with the theological threads of personal
salvation, holiness, divine healing, baptism in the Spirit with
power for ministry, and an anticipation of the imminent return
of Jesus Christ, ample motivation was provided to assure the revival
a longterm impact' (Burgess & McGee 1988:3136).
The exploding pentecostal movement around the world usually traces
its origins to Azusa Street, from which fire spread across the
globe. For example, John G. Lake had visited the mission at Azusa
Street. In 1908 he pioneered pentecostal missions in South Africa
where, after five years he had established 500 black and 125 white
January - Pyong-Yang, Korea
Revival in Korea broke in the nation in 1907. Presbyterian missionaries,
hearing of revival in Wales, and of a similar revival among Welsh
Presbyterian work in Assam, prayed earnestly for the same in Korea.
1500 representatives gathered for ten days at the annual New
Year Bible study course in which a spirit of prayer broke out.
The meetings carried on day after day, with confessions of sins,
weeping and trembling. The leaders allowed everyone to pray aloud
simultaneously as so many were wanting to pray, and that became
a characteristic of Korean prayer meetings.
'The day before the course ended, the evening meeting seemed full
of the presence of God, many broke down confessing their sins,
and the whole congregation wept, confessed, prayed and praised
at the same time. According to those present, what might appear
to be chaos was actually a beautiful expression of the work of
God's Spirit' (Davies 1992:189).
Observers were astounded. The delegates of the New Year gathering
returned to their churches taking with them this spirit of prayer
which strongly impacted the churches of the nation with revival.
Everywhere conviction of sin, confession and restitution were
By March 2,000 were converted, and 30,000 by the middle of 1907.
Brutal persecution at the hands of the Japanese and then the Russian
and Chinese communists saw thousands killed, but still the church
grew in fervent prayer. Prior to the Russian invasion thousands
of North Koreans gathered every morning at 5 am. Sometimes 10,000
were gathered in one place for prayer each morning.
Early morning daily prayer meetings became common, as did nights
of prayer especially on Friday nights, and this emphasis on prayer
has continued as a feature of church life in Korea. Over a million
gather every morning around 5 am for prayer in the churches.
Prayer and fasting is normal. Churches have over 100 prayer retreats
in the hills called Prayer Mountains to which thousands go to
pray, often with fasting. Healings and supernatural manifestations
Now the city of Seoul alone has 6,000 churches, many with huge
numbers. Koreans have sent over 10,000 missionaries into other
Belgian Congo, Africa (C. T. Studd)
Africa has seen many powerful revivals, such as the Belgian Congo
outpouring with C T Studd in 1914. 'The whole place was charged
as if with an electric current. Men were falling, jumping, laughing,
crying, singing, confessing and some shaking terribly,' he reported.
'As I led in prayer the Spirit came down in mighty power sweeping
the congregation. My whole body trembled with the power. We
saw a marvellous sight, people literally filled and drunk with
the Spirit' (W.E.C. 1954:1215).
Accounts like that are typical of the continuing moves of God's
Spirit in Africa this century. Early this century an estimated
10% of the population was Christian. The Christian population
has reached 45-50% of Africa south of the Sahara. By the end
of this century the number of African Christians is expected to
be 400 million, half the population.
Local revivals are a characteristic of the worldwide growth of
the church this century.
Monday 7 March - Lowestoft, England (Douglas Brown)
Douglas Brown, a Baptist minister in South London, saw conversions
in his church every Sunday until he began he began itinerant evangelism
in 1921. Within eighteen months he then addressed over 1700 meetings,
and saw revival in his evangelistic ministry. The Lord had convicted
him about leaving his pastorate for mission work. Although reluctant,
he finally surrendered.
'It was in February 1921, after four months of struggle that there came the crisis. Oh, how patient God is! On the Saturday night I wrote out my resignation to my church, and it was marked with my own tears. ...
'Then something happened. I found myself in the loving embrace
of Christ for ever and ever; and all power and joy and blessedness
rolled in like a deluge. How did it come? I cannot tell you.
Perhaps I may when I get to heaven. All explanations are there,
but the experience is here. That was two o'clock in the morning.
God had waited four months for a man like me; and I said, "Lord
Jesus, I know what you want; You want me to go into mission work.
I love Thee more than I dislike that." I did not hear any
rustling of angels' wings. I did not see any sudden light' (Griffin
Hugh Ferguson, the Baptist minister at London Road Baptist Church
in Lowestoft on the East Anglia coast had invited Douglas Brown
to preach at a mission there from Monday 7th to Friday 11th March.
The missioner arrived by train, ill. However, he spoke Monday
night and at meetings on Tuesday morning, afternoon and night.
The power of the Holy Spirit moved among the people from the
beginning. On Wednesday night 'inquirers' packed the adjacent
schoolroom for counselling and prayer. Sixty to seventy young
people were converted that night, along with older people. Each
night more packed the 'inquiry room' after the service. So the
mission was extended indefinitely. Douglas Brown returned to
his church for the weekend and continued with the mission the
next Monday. By the end of March the meetings were moved from
the 700 seating Baptist Church and other nearby churches to the
1100 seating capacity of St John's Anglican Church.
March saw the beginning of revival in the area. Although Douglas
Brown was the main speaker in many places, ministers of most denominations
found they too were evangelising. Revival meetings multiplied
in the fishing centre of Yarmouth as well in Ipswich, Norwich,
Cambridge and elsewhere. Scottish fishermen working out of Yarmouth
in the winter were strongly impacted, and took revival fire to
Scottish fishing towns and villages in the summer. Jock Troup,
a Scottish evangelist, has visited East Anglia during the revival
and ministered powerfully in Scotland.
At the same time, the spirit of God moved strongly in Ireland,
especially in Ulster in 1921 through the work of W. P. (William
Patteson) Nicholson a fiery Irish evangelist. This was at the
time when Northern Ireland received parliamentary autonomy accompanied
by and tension and bloodshed. Edwin Orr was converted then, although
not through W. P. Nicholson. Orr wrote:
'Nicholson's missions were the evangelistic focus of the movement:
12,409 people were counselled in the inquiry rooms; many churches
gained additions, some a hundred, some double; ... prayer meetings,
Bible classes and missionary meetings all increased in strength.
... Ministerial candidates doubled' (Griffin 1992:87).
In Great Britain the Welsh Revival of 1904-5 impacted the nation.
Though not as widespread or as intense, the revivals of 1921-2
touched thousands following the devastation of World War I. Revival
flamed again in 1948-9 after World War II, especially in the Scottish
Sunday 29 June - Gahini, Rwanda (East African
Sunday seemed normal at the mission station built on the gentle
slopes of a hill at Gahini in north-east Rwanda. Pupils from
the day schools and the Evangelists' Training School attended
the service along with local people gathered in the whitewashed,
mud brick and corrugated iron roofed church. A ward service was
also held in the similarly built 30-bed hospital for patients
and visiting families and friends. A hundred pupils aged up to
late teenagers in the girls boarding school hostel met that evening
for their hymns and prayer.
About 9.30 pm the silence erupted into frightening shrieks and
pandemonium in the girls' hostel. A few girls who had been intensely
seeking to know God better seemed embroiled in demonic attacks
stirred up in others. Some furniture was smashed in the turmoil.
Mission staff ran to intervene, dragging girls outside to separate
and calm them. 'Slowly they calmed down. Even as they did so,
however, the sound of shouting and singing could be heard from
different parts of the hill. And it went on all night!
'At 3.30 am on Monday morning, the noise started again in the
girls' school ... Girls were shaking and crying uncontrollably
and some were very frightened. ...
'What could have caused such a disturbance? The teachers in the
school explained it simply. Four school-girls had been "in
dead earnest about getting right with God". While they were
praying quietly some non-Christian girls came in. They too were
seeking, but not for God; they were seeking contact with their
ancestral spirits. The atmosphere changed. ... Of one
thing there was no doubt: the pandemonium created was of the devil.
It was certainly not of God' (Osborn 1991:17-18).
Similar strange eruptions occurred in the hospital, boys' school,
Evangelists' Training School and among people visiting the mission
station, but without the destruction of property nor the satanic
atmosphere encountered that first night.
'In the days that followed people in many different circumstances
would suddenly begin to shiver, leading them at first to believe
that they had a fever of some sort. Then a terrifying sense of
their sin would overtake them and a fear of facing a holy God.
The existence of unforgiven sin became unbearable... [and] it
was not enough to repent of a sin unless that repentance was evidenced
by total rejection and removal of everything associated with that
sin. The blazing light of God's holiness required nothing less.
Then the joy and peace of forgiveness and liberation from the
guilt and power of sin became almost overwhelming and expressed
itself in wild singing and jubilation' (Osborn 1991:18-19).
The famous East African revival began in Rwanda in June 1936 and
rapidly spread to the neighbouring countries of Burundi, Uganda
and the Congo (now Zaire), then further around. The Holy Spirit
moved upon mission schools, spread to churches and to whole communities,
producing deep repentance and changed lives. Anglican Archdeacon
Arthur PittPitts wrote in September, 'I have been to all
the stations where this Revival is going on, and they all have
the same story to tell. The fire was alight in all of them before
the middle of June, but during the last week in June, it burst
into a wild flame which, like the African grass fire before the
wind, cannot be put out' (Osborn 1991:21).
That East African revival was sustained for forty to fifty years
and helped to establish a new zeal for enthusiastic holiness in
African Christianity. It confronted demonic strongholds, and
began to prepare churches to cope with the horrors of massacres
and warfare which erupted in later years.
(c) Geoff Waugh, Fire Fell: Revival Visitations. Brisbane: Renewal.
PO Box 629, Strathpine, Qld. 4077, Australia.
Reproduction is permitted as long as the
copyright remains intact with the text.