One of the prominent ministers of the Welsh Revival (1904-1905) was Evan Roberts.
It was a supernatural experience to be in an Evan Roberts’ meeting. He carried the ability to usher in the presence of the Holy Spirit as almost a tangible force. He made the common church-goer aware of the spirit world, especially in the area of purity and holiness toward God. Since he rarely preached, Evan allowed three female singers – Anna Davies, Maggie Davies, and S. A. Jones – to travel with him. Many times they sang an inspired message from God to the congregation. Evan would rebuke anyone who tried to hush the singing. He believed the Holy Spirit should be given the primary role and that no one had the right to interrupt Him. He felt that so doing invited the wrong kind of authority and control.
To Evan, the Holy Spirit wasn’t some unseen force, but a Divine Person who must be praised and adored in His own right and totally obeyed. It even came to the point that when one or two people in the congregation wouldn’t participate, Evan would stand up and say, “The Spirit can’t be with us now.” Then, many times, he would leave the service.
It was common in Evan Roberts’ meetings for members in the congregation to suddenly fall on their knees and pray aloud. Waves of joy and sorrow would flood the congregation. Women fell on their knees and men laid in the aisles weeping, laughing, and praying. All the while, there was no Bible reading or instruments playing. A few were inspired to stand and sing hymns. It was even said that the people were so caught up in God that they would forget to go home for Sunday dinner. This was unheard of in southern Wales in those days. As the day progressed, the evening service would become a continual prayer service. Evan could be seen walking up and down aisles swinging his arms, clapping his hands, and jumping up and down.
Though his success had become the talk of the nation, many still didn’t know what to think of Evan Roberts. They were used to the fiery eyes of the old-time preachers, and Evan never raised his voice. Sometimes, he was called the “silent preacher.”
As a result of the Welsh Revival, local stores couldn’t keep Bibles in stock. The Welsh coal mining industry also took on a new look. Their workhorses had previously been trained to respond to instructions that included profanity. But with the coal mining crew now born again in the Revival, they found that their horses had to be retrained because the animals didn’t know how to follow normal commands without a curse word in it.
(Excerpt from God’s Generals by Roberts Liardon, Albury Publishing, © 1996 by Roberts Liardon, pages 87, 89).
Unlike most revivals, the Welsh Revival was not known for its great preachers, but rather for the presence of God.
Shouldn’t we hunger for the same today?
(Continued in Part 5…the full series to date can be read here.)