The Welsh Revival of 1904-1905
By Rev. Oliver W. Price
During the spring of 1904 a young Welshman named Evan Roberts was repeatedly awakened at 1:00 a.m. He met with God until 5:00 a.m. The Welsh revival followed. Churches were packed for prayer meetings. In a prayer meeting for young people, Pastor Joseph Jenkins asked for testimonies. A young girl named Florrie Evans, who had only been a believer a few days, rose and with a trembling voice said simply, "I love Jesus with all my heart." The other young people's hearts were melted. A powerful spiritual awakening that brought 100,000 people to Christ was under way.
On November 7th, 1904 Moraih Chapel was filled to capacity for a prayer meeting that lasted until 3:00 a.m. Soul winning spread through the coalmines. Profane swearing stopped. Even the miners' horses were puzzled when their masters stopped cursing.
Orders to the Bible Society "for Scriptures from Wales during November and December, were over three times the amount for the corresponding months of 1903..." The Times said this resulted from the Welsh revival, adding that this demand showed no sign of falling off.
"The mighty and unseen breath of the Spirit was doing in a month more than centuries of legislation could accomplish" the pastor of Saint John's-Wood Presbyterian Church declared on Sunday, January 1st, 1905 according to the London Times.
The Welsh revival "had a great effect" in healing spiritual carelessness among Christians and "the growing bitterness which has accentuated our unhappy divisions", the Bishop of Bangor declared on January 2nd, 1905. He called "congregations to meet together often for united prayer."
The Times added that "the religious revival in Wales continues...with unabated zeal." Huge crowds were attending the meetings. Bible verses covered the doors down in the coalmines. "At Swansea the Poor Law guardians...dealt with revival cases in which people...have taken their parents from the workhouse."
"The Welsh revival movement has shown no sign of flagging...", The Times pointed out on January 10th. Entire congregations were on their knees in fervent prayer and "for the first time there was not a single case of drunkenness at the Swansea Petty Sessions."
On January 11th The Times noted that David Lloyd-George, who later became the British Prime Minister, said the Welsh revival gave hope "that at the next election Wales would declare with no uncertain sound against the corruption in high places which handed over the destiny of the people to the horrible brewing interest...".
Lloyd-George even saw one of his political rallies taken over by the Welsh revival. He was impressed as a young girl prayed in the presence of 2,000 people. He said in one town the tavern sold only 9 cents worth of liquor drinks on Saturday night!
The Times observed that "The whole population had been suddenly stirred by a common impulse. Religion had become the absorbing interest of their lives. They had gathered at crowded services for six and eight hours at a time. Political meetings and even football matches were postponed...quarrels between trade-union workmen and non-unionists had been made up..."
"At Glyn-Neath a feud had existed for the past 10 or 12 years between the two Independent chapels, but during the past week united services have been held in both chapels, and the ministers have shaken hands before the congregations."
The Salvation Army set apart January 19th, 1905 for a day of confession, humiliation, and prayer throughout England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. All day prayer meetings were held in many of the principal cities of the British Isles, according to the London Times. The meeting was marked by "fervent prayer and any one who felt called upon to pray." Fires of spiritual revival and moral recovery were spreading.
Coal miners crowed into prayer meetings that lasted till 3:00 a.m. and then washed, ate breakfast and returned to work. Many drunkards confessed their sins and received Christ.
According to the London Times of February 2nd, 1905 due to the Welsh revival many men abandoned dins of iniquity. Employers noticed a great improvement in the work produced by their employees. A judge named Sir Marchant Williams said that his work was much lighter especially regarding drunkenness and related offenses.
The revival fires burning in Wales in 1904-05 spread through England, Ireland and Scotland. Prayer meetings multiplied. As many as 2,000 attended a prayer meeting in the city of Bradford. In the City of Leeds, Samuel Chadwick reported that his church was never empty all day. An amazing work of grace transformed life in a factory.
In 1905 a week of united prayer meetings in an English town called Nuneaton led to a "glorious revival". The Prince's Theatre was packed each Sunday night after church with 1500 praying believers and many unsaved seekers. In Bulwell, many of the most degraded drunkards were converted. In the Bedfordshire villages, whole nights devoted to prayer prepared for powerful evangelism.
Joseph Kemp, pastor of Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh, visited God's mighty work of revival in Wales in 1904. Back in his home church on New Year's Eve, 1905, an unusually fervent prayer meeting led to conviction of sin. A powerful revival that continued for over two years was under way. A strong work of evangelism began. 1,000 inquirers received counseling.
The Irish Presbyterians issued a Call to Prayer. Noonday and evening prayer meetings multiplied. The Irish Methodists and other denominations experienced an unusual spirit of grace and supplications. In Lurgan, revival meetings packed both the First Presbyterian and the Methodist churches. The taverns were emptied while people who had not attended church before come in record numbers and received Christ.
Revival fires spread through Bangor University resulting in "only a third or fourth of the students attending some of the classes... Beginning with a spontaneous outburst of praise and prayer among the men students, the movement spread...at a united prayer meeting...some...broke down sobbing."
In 1905 when Fred C. Gibson became pastor of 1st Presbyterian Church in Tobormore, County Londonderry, Ireland the little town was morally and spiritually dead. So he signed a covenant with God to seek revival by his preaching and his prayers. In spite of strong resistance, God moved in special meetings that changed the Christians and resulted in remarkable conversions of hardened sinners.
God can do it again. Join with others all over the world in praying for spiritual awakening. Gather a group to pray on the first Monday of each month.
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