The result was one of the most significant movements in Christian history. More than a million were saved in one year, out of a national population of only 30 million. 50,000 were coming to Christ every week. The revival continued into the Civil War, where more than 100,000 soldiers were converted. Sailors took the revival to other countries. Thousands of young people volunteered for mission service.
All because God’s people sought God in prayer, trusted his providence, asked for his provision and experienced his power.
The Fourth Great Awakening began in Wales in 1904 in the heart of a coal miner named Evan Roberts. He became convicted of his sins by the Spirit, and turned to God in prayer and repentance. He then began preaching to the young people in his church, calling them to prayer and repentance.
Prayer meetings broke out all over Wales. Social conditions were affected dramatically. Tavern owners went bankrupt; police formed gospel quartets because they had no one to arrest. Coal mines shut down for a time because the miners stopped using profanity and the mules no longer understood them.
The revival spread to America, where ministers in Atlantic City, NJ reported that out of 50,000 people, only 50 adults were left unconverted. In Portland, Oregon, more than 200 stores closed daily from 11 to 2 so people could attend prayer meetings. In 1896, only 2,000 students were engaged in missionary studies; by 1906, 11,000 were enrolled.
Now we find ourselves in circumstances similar to those of Nehemiah’s day. For reasons we’ll explore in coming weeks, our nation is facing a cultural, moral, economic, and spiritual crisis of the first magnitude. An Awakening is the spiritual answer to our nation’s situation.
That Awakening begins with you and with me. Gypsy Smith, a famous evangelist of the 19th century, was asked how to begin a revival. His advice: “Take a piece of chalk and draw a circle. Then get inside that circle and pray until everything inside that circle is right with God. Revival will then come.”
I will do that. Will you join me?