Last year I took the time to read a book called The Welsh Revival: Its Origin and Development. It was fascinating to read more about a major revival in church history which dates back to 1859. Here are a few extended quotes that give a taste of what happens when God awakens and revives His church.
The spirit of prayer has been poured out on the Christian churches in this town. The young people were among the first to enjoy it, but it has at length been given to all classes of professors. The revival shews itself in a deep concern for the salvation of souls, in a strong desire to see the Savior glorified, and in a strong faith in those great and precious promises which relate to these subjects. The character of the prayers offered, and the conversations among the people, are unmistakeable proofs that the Lord works savingly by His Holy Spirit in the souls of the people. There are clear signs of that which the Bible represents as conviction for sin – the pricking of the heart – a broken and contrite spirit – repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, in those who offer themselves as candidates for church-membership, and this is very evident in those who were previously immoral in their conduct.
“We may further regard the external circumstances of this movement, and compress the whole into a short compass. The prayer-meetings are very popular. They are attended not only by those who were in the practice of attending the means of grace frequently, but by many who had totally neglected the house of God. There is such a powerful charm in the prayer-meetings, that it is found difficult to terminate them at the usual time; and although they are held every night, without interruption, they often continue until midnight and even later. It is no uncommon thing to hear persons in the distress of their souls crying out for mercy. Some have experienced very deep convictions. In some cases there have been loud rejoicings in the services. The effects of this movement upon the town are very remarkable. You may observe a general seriousness of manner and deportment. Drunkenness has greatly diminished, and Sabbath desecration is now rare, when compared with former times.”
On every occasion care is taken to instruct the people in the true and unchangeable principles of religion. They are cautioned against resting in a mere outward profession. They are told that excitement is not conversion, that an awakening of the conscience to a sense of guilt and danger does not always result in a change of heart. It is strongly and constantly urged that whatever hope or confidence they may have in their own minds as to their having “passed from death unto life.” It is a mistake, a delusion, unless it is accompanied by hatred to sin, and a renunciation of it in every shape and form; love to holiness, and the practical discharge of every moral duty. They are told that the Bible is to be the standard of religious feeling, as it is of religious faith. In short, they are admonished to seek a thorough change of heart, and to furnish evidence thereof in holiness of life.