We are continuing from yesterday's meditation to look at the revival in Wales from 1904-1906. God gave Evan Roberts a vision for 100,000 people to be won to the Lord. He went at his task within the month, holding meetings all over Wales. There was very little preaching of the Word of God; many of his critics said this was why the revival petered out within three years. His emphasis was on four things as he went around Wales:
1. Confess all known sin
2. Deal with and get rid of anything 'doubtful' in your life
3. Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly
4. Confess Christ publicly
From the beginning, Roberts emphasized the importance of reliance on the Holy Spirit. "I never prepare the words I shall speak," he noted. "I leave all that to Him. Why should I teach when the Spirit is teaching? Why should I control the meetings? The Spirit that is in them controls them."
He believed in giving free rein to the leading of the meetings by the Spirit of God. The Welsh people had a humble, broken spirit at this time, with many praying often and then publicly sharing what God was doing in the meetings. Another aspect of the meetings was much heartfelt worship by the congregation, with the choir being all the people. Even young people of 10-14 years of age were seeking God and involved in their prayer meetings; such was the spiritual atmosphere in Wales at that time. People were changed in so many ways. The crime rate dropped, drunkards reformed, and pubs reported losses in trade. Foul language disappeared and never returned to the lips of many. It was reported that the pit ponies failed to understand their born-again colliers, who now spoke with clean lips, without curse and blasphemy. For many, even football and rugby became uninteresting in the light of the new joy and direction received by the converts. Over 100,000 people were added to the churches of Wales, just as the Holy Spirit had told Evan Roberts.
Again we see in the history of the Welsh Revival that the Holy Spirit fell when a body of people began to pray and be open and thirsty for more of God. They were also ready to lay down sin and be obedient to the Spirit’s working in them and through them. There was a resolve in Evan Robert's heart that he would have the power of the Spirit while faithfully praying and waiting upon God and attending Church. His faith would not let God go until He was blessed and received what he needed--to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
If there is a secret to being filled and controlled by the Spirit, it is in learning to obey the inner promptings of the Spirit. One way I have found to help distinguish the prompting of the Holy Spirit from my mind is to process a possible God thought that comes to see if there was a chain of successive thoughts or if the idea popped out of nowhere. If the thought came like a light bulb suddenly turned on, it could be the Spirit's prompting. The next thing to do is ask yourself, what would be the likely outcome of obedience to that thought? Is there a chance that God would be glorified out of this step of obedience? Would it be in accordance with the Scriptures? Is there a possible blessing that would come out of it? What is the worst-case scenario if all you hear is your thoughts or a result of indigestion, and it is not the Spirit's prompting? If the only thing to risk is a possible embarrassment, then go for it! Keith Thomas
These revival experiences are from a series I wrote on the Holy Spirit's working through His people. It is found on the All Studies page. Scroll down until you come to On Fire with the Holy Spirit. Click on study 4: Revival Comes to the Thirsty Keith Thomas.
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