(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Advent can mean “a coming or arriving,” according to Webster. We need the Holy Spirit to arrive on the scene with Pentecostal power! And Psalm 138: 6 through 8 is another Scripture with which to cry out to God for desperately needed revival:
Though the LORD is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The LORD will per- fect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, en- dures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.
On the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland, a few faithful Christians persistently cried out to God to revive their dead churches, and to especially touch their youth, most of whom were unconcerned with spiritual things! After months of prayer, God answered with a mighty revival under the leadership of Reverend Duncan Campbell. The story continues with the events starting on the sixth day of his coming to the island (from Mr. Campbell’s book, The Lewis Awakening 1949 – 1953):
“The events of the second night at Barvas will never be forgotten….Buses came from the four corners of the island, crowding the church. Seven men were being driven to the meeting in a butcher’s van, when suddenly the Spirit of God fell upon them in great conviction, and all were converted before they even reached the church! As the preacher delivered his message, tremendous conviction of sin swept down upon the people! Tears rolled down their faces, and from every part of the building came cries for mercy…”.
“After that, were at it night and day, with God drawing crowds of people. I remember one night it was after three o’clock in the morning, and a messenger came to say that the churches were crowded in another parish fifteen miles away; crowded at that hour in the morning! I went to join this parish minister along with several other ministers….We went, and I found myself preaching in a large church, a church that would seat a thousand, and the Spirit of God was moving in a mighty way! I could see people falling on their knees…hear them crying to God for mercy…hear them outside praying. And that continued for at least two hours, I’m sure.”
“Then, as we were leaving the church, someone came to me to tell me that a very large number of people…had gathered in a field. So, along with other ministers, I went to the field, and saw an enormous crowd, standing as though gripped by a power that they could not explain. The headmaster of a secondary school in the parish was lying with his face on the ground, crying to God for mercy, deeply convicted of his desperate need. On the other side of him were four young girls, about sixteen years of age…who kept saying to the headmaster, ‘Master, Jesus that saved us last night in Barvas can save you tonight.’ …those young girls were there that night to win their school headmaster, and they did. God swept into his life, I believe, in answer to the prayer of four young girls who had a burden for him.”
Soon the fire of blessing spread to the neighboring parishes.
The minister of the town of Carloway was assisting at services in Barvas, some miles away. Two musicians were to play at a dance in Carloway that evening, but they were there at Barvas and under great conviction of sin. The minister was led to go to the dance hall to witness. Leaving the meeting at Barvas, he arrived at about 3:30 AM. Almost immediately after he entered the hall the dancing ceased….He then prayed and followed with words of exhortation. Suddenly the power of God swept through…and…the music gave way to the cries of sinners seeking God….Soon the whole proceedings came to an end and those present went home bewildered and amazed. Campbell said in his book that only three people who were at the dance that night remained unsaved!
He further relates, “In the village of Weaver there was a row of seven cottages by the roadside, and in every cottage a loom and a weaver. One morning, just as the men were being called to breakfast, it was discovered that the seven of them were lying prostrate behind their looms, all of them in a trance. I can’t explain this. But…this was of God because six of the men were saved that day, and the other one the next day.”
In Bernera, a small island off the coast of Lewis, Donald, a 17 year old lad had received salvation by a pig-sty, and was wonderfully born again. Two weeks after, he was late coming home from the fields, and a search party found him face down in the heather repeating over and over, “Oh Jesus, I love you, I love you Jesus!”
Rev. Campbell was on Bernera some time later assisting at a service. The atmosphere was heavy and preaching difficult…so much so that halfway through his sermon Campbell stopped preaching. Just then he noticed this boy, Donald, visibly moved, under a deep burden for souls. He thought, “Well, now, here is a young lad nearer to God than you or me…here is a young lad who is in touch with God.” So…he said, “Donald, will you lead us in prayer?” The lad stood and…referring to the fourth chapter of Revelation which he had been reading that morning…said, “Oh, God, I seem to be gazing through the open door. I see the Lamb in the midst of the Throne, with the keys of death and hell at His waist.” He began to sob; then lifting his eyes toward heaven, he cried, “Oh, God, there is power there, let it loose! Let it loose!” Campbell states, “With the force of a hurricane the Spirit of God swept into the building and the floodgates of heaven were opened….On one side [of the church] many fell over in their seats, weeping and sighing; on the other side some were affected by throwing their arms in the air….” And they stayed that way for two hours! Campbell later said that more souls were saved through young Donald’s prayers than all the preaching of all the preachers in the revival!
The revival had gone on for quite awhile. It was now 1952. In the village of Arnol, just southwest of Barvas, indifference and even opposition to the revival was experienced, and very few people from Arnol came near any of the meetings. But about 30 believers gathered for prayer at a farmer’s house. About 1 AM, after what seemed to be hard going in prayer, Duncan Campbell turned to John, the local blacksmith (mentioned earlier in Advent – I) and said, “John, I feel that God would have me call upon you to pray.” Campbell describes what then happened – “That dear man…prayed for about half an hour…then looking up towards the heavens he cried, ‘God, do You know Your honor is at stake? You promised to pour water on the thirsty and floods on the dry ground, and, God, You are not doing it…You know that I’m thirsty! I’m thirsty to see the devil defeated in this parish! I’m thirsty to see this community gripped as you gripped Barvas! I’m longing for revival, and God, You are not doing it! I am thirsty and You promised to pour water on me….God, I now…challenge You to fulfill your covenant engagement!’ ”
In the next Gem we shall see the results of John the blacksmith’s bold prayer!