Sunday Talks

Prayer: The Key To Revival

Are you praying that we would see God move mightily in our church and community? Be encouraged that it is his desire to touch lives, draw people towards himself, and transform communities. Read below, in the words of Duncan Campbell, an account of one night during the Hebrides Revival of 1949 - a revival born out of prayer, particularly the prayers of the two elderly women mentioned. [And please don't forget to give thought to how you might participate in our times of corporate prayer from September, and sign up on the boards at church].

 

'I shall never forget the night that I arrived at the piers in the mail steamer. I was standing in the presence of the minister whom I had never seen and two of his elders that I never knew. The minister turned to me and said, "I know Mr. Campbell that you are very tired-you have been travelling all day by train to begin with and then by steamer. And I am sure that you are ready for your supper and ready for your bed. But I wonder if you would be prepared to address a meeting in the parish church at 9 o'clock tonight on our way home. It will be a short meeting and then we will make for the manse and you will get your supper and your bed and rest until tomorrow evening." Well, it will interest you to know that I never got that supper.

We got to the church about quarter to nine to find about 300 people gathered. I would say about 300 people. And I gave an address. Nothing really happened during the service. It was a good meeting. A sense of God, a consciousness of His Spirit moving but nothing beyond that. So I pronounced the benediction and we were leaving the church I would say about a quarter to eleven.

Just as I am walking down the aisle, along with this young deacon who read the Psalm in the barn. He suddenly stood in the aisle and looking up to the heavens he said, "God, You can't fail us. God, You can't fail us. You promised to pour water on the thirsty and floods upon the dry ground-God, You can't fail us!"

Soon He is on his knees in the aisle and he is still praying and then he falls into a trance again. Just then the door opened--it is now eleven o'clock. The door of the church opens and the local blacksmith comes back into the church and says, "Mr. Campbell, something wonderful has happened. Oh, we were praying that God would pour water on the thirsty and floods upon the dry ground and listen, He's done it! He's done it!"

When I went to the door of the church I saw a congregation of approximately 600 people. Six hundred people--where had they come from? What had happened? I believe that that very night God swept in Pentecostal power-the power of the Holy Ghost. And what happened in the early days of the apostles was happening now in the parish of Barvas.

Over 100 young people were at the dance in the parish hall and they weren't thinking of God or eternity. God was not in all of their thoughts. They were there to have a good night when suddenly the power of God fell upon the dance. The music ceased and in a matter of minutes, the hall was empty. They fled from the hall as a man fleeing from a plague. And they made for the church. They are now standing outside. Oh, yes--they saw lights in the church. That was a house of God and they were going to it and they went. Men and women who had gone to bed rose, dressed, and made for the church. Nothing in the way of publicity--no mention of a special effort except and intonation from the pulpit on Sabbath that a certain man was going to be conducting a series of meetings in the parish covering 10 days. But God took the situation in hand--oh, He became His own publicity agent. A hunger and a thirst gripped the people. 600 of them now are at the church standing outside.

This dear man, the blacksmith, turned to me and said, "I think that we should sing a psalm." And they sang and they sang and they sang verse after verse. Oh, what singing! What singing! And then the doors were opened and the congregation flocked back into the church.

Now the church is crowded--a church to seat over 800 is now packed to capacity. It is now going on towards midnight. I managed to make my way through the crowd along the aisle toward the pulpit. I found a young woman, a teacher in the grammar school, lying prostrate on the floor of the pulpit praying, "Oh, God, is there mercy for me? Oh, God, is there mercy for me? " She was one of those at the dance. But she is now lying on the floor of the pulpit crying to God for mercy.

That meeting continued until 4 o'clock in the morning. I couldn't tell you how many were saved that night but of this I am sure and certain that at least 5 young men who were saved in that church that night are today ministers in the church of Scotland having gone through university and college.

At 4 o'clock, we decided to make for the manse. Of course, you understand, we make no appeals--you never need to make an appeal or an altar call in revival. Why, the roadside becomes an altar. We just leave men and women to make their way to God themselves--after all, that is the right way. God can look after His own. Oh, God can look after His own! And when God takes a situation in hand, I tell you He does a better work. He does a better work.

So we left them there, and just as I was leaving the church, a young man came to me and said, "Mr. Campbell, I would like you to go to the police station." I said, "The police station? What's wrong?" "Oh," he said, "There's nothing wrong but there must be at least 400 people gathered around the police station just now."

Now the sergeant there was a God-fearing man. He was in the meeting. But people knew that this was a house that feared God. And next to the police station was the cottage in which the two old women lived. I believe that that had something to do with the magnet, the power that drew men. There was a coach load at that meeting. A coach load had come over 12 miles to be there. Now if anyone would ask them today, why? How did it happen? Who arranged it? They couldn't tell you. But they found themselves grouping together and someone saying, "What about going to Barvas? I don't know, but I have a hunger in my heart to go there." I can't explain it; they couldn't explain it, but God had the situation in hand.

This is revival dear people! This is a sovereign act of God! This is the moving of God's Spirit, I believe in answer to the prevailing prayer of men and women who believed that God was a covenant-keeping God but must be true to His covenant engagement.

I went along. I went along to that meeting. As I am walking along that country road-we had to walk about a mile-I heard someone praying by the roadside. I could hear this man crying to God for mercy. I went over and there were four young men on their knees at the roadside. Yes, they were at the dance but they are now there crying to God for mercy. One of them was under the influence of drink, but a young man he wasn't 20 years of age. But that night God saved him and he is today the parish minister, university trained, college trained, a man of God. Converted in the revival with eleven of his office bearers. A wonderful congregation. Well, he was saved that night.

Now when I got to the police station, I saw something that will live with me as long as I live. I didn't preach--there was no need of preaching. We didn't even sing. The people are crying to God for mercy. Oh, the confessions that were made! There was one old man crying out, "Oh, God, hell is too good for me! Hell is too good for me!" This is Holy Ghost conviction! Now mind you, that was on the very first night of a mighty demonstration that shook the island. Oh, let me say again, that wasn't the beginning of revival--revival began in a prayer barter meeting. Revival began in an awareness of God. Revival began when the Holy Ghost began to grip men and that was how it began.'

(Taken from a transcript of a taped message by Duncan Campbell in 1968, 'Revival in the Hebrides', http://www.revival-library.org/pensketches/revivals/hebrides.html)