You’ll recall, from my last post, that I promised to allude to the role of prayer in the incredible revival that was see on the island of Lewis-Harris in the early 1950’s. The following excerpt is taken from the transcript of a taped message, preached by Duncan Campbell (a Scottish preacher with the United Free Church of Scotland and the Faith Mission) in 1968, on the topic of the Hebrides Revival.
(formatting & emphasis mine)
Now I am sure that you will be interested to know how, in November 1949, this gracious movement began on the island of Lewis. Two old women, one of them 84 years of age and the other 82 (one of them stone blind), were greatly burdened because of the appalling state of their own parish (where) …not a single young person attended public worship. …They spent their day perhaps reading or walking but the church was left out of the picture. …Those two women were greatly concerned and they made it a special matter of prayer.
They were so burdened that both decided to spend much time in prayer, twice a week. On Tuesday they got on their knees at 10 o’clock in the evening and remained (there) until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning–two old women in a very humble cottage.
One night, one of the sisters had a vision… she saw the church of her fathers crowded with young people, packed to the doors, and a strange minister standing in the pulpit… (she) said to (their) minister, “You must do something about it. And I would suggest that you call your office bearers together and that you spend, with us, at least two nights in prayer in the week. Tuesday and Friday if you gather your elders together… and as you pray there, we will pray here.”
…that continued for almost a month and a half, until one night… they were (all) kneeling there in the barn, pleading this promise,
“I will pour water on him that is thirsty, floods upon the dry ground”
…when one young man, a deacon in the church, got up and… said, “It seems to me to be so much humbug to be praying as we are praying, to be waiting as we are waiting, if we ourselves are not rightly related to God.”
…he lifted his hands and prayed, “God, are my hands clean? Is my heart pure? “ But he got no further. That young man fell to his knees… into a trance. At that moment, he and his other office bearers were gripped by the conviction that a God-sent revival must ever be related to holiness. …and an awareness of God gripped the community such as hadn’t been known for over 100 years.
I shall never forget the night that I arrived… The minister turned to me and said:
“I know Mr. Campbell that you are very tired-you have been traveling all day, …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…”
We got to the church about quarter to nine to find about 300 people gathered… Nothing really happened during the service: A sense of God, a consciousness of His Spirit moving but nothing beyond that. So I pronounced the benediction… When I went to the door of the church I saw a congregation (outside) of approximately 600 people. …Where had they come from? I believe that that very night God swept in Pentecostal power-the power of the Holy Ghost.
Where’d they come from?
Over 100 young people were at the dance in the parish hall and they weren’t thinking of God or eternity… 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 and 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.
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… But God took the situation in hand and became His own publicity agent. A hunger and a thirst gripped the people. 600 of them now are at the church standing outside.