Revival Fire - by Geoff
Waugh (a brief overview of revival since the 18th
The decade of evangelism
and harvest in the 1990s (saw) astounding revival fire
throughout the world, unprecedented in all history. Church
history and current revivals include times when God moves
in great power with mighty visitations. We are living
through that now, and there's more to come.
* The early church
saw it. Read Acts! At Pentecost 3,000 were won in one day.
Soon after that there were 5,000 more. Then great
multitudes of men and women. They had the reputation of
turning their world upside down (Acts 17:6).
* Missionary expansion continued
to see it. For example, Patrick in Ireland and Augustine
in England saw strong moves of God and thousands converted
with many signs and wonders reported.
* The Moravians saw
it. On Wednesday 17 August 1727 the Moravian colony in
Germany was overwhelmed and filled with the Spirit at
their communion service. Their leader, 27 year old Count
Nicholas Zinzendorf, said it was like being in heaven.
That month they began a continuous prayer meeting called
the Hourly Intercession with people praying in teams for
an hour at a time day and night. That non-stop prayer
meeting went for 100 years. Within 25 years they had sent
out 200 missionaries, more than all the Protestants had
done in two centuries.
* The American colonies
saw it. 50,000 were converted in 1735. Jonathan Edwards
described the characteristics of that move as, first, an
extraordinary sense of the awful majesty, greatness and
holiness of God, and second, a great longing for humility
before God and adoration of God.
* 1739 saw
astonishing moves of God in England. On 1st January the
Wesleys and Whitefield and 60 others, Methodists and
Moravians, met in London for prayer and a love feast. The
Spirit of God moved powerfully on them all. Many fell to
the ground, resting in the Spirit. In February 1739
Whitefield started preaching to the Kingswood coal miners
in the open fields with about 200 attending. By March
20,000 attended. Whitefield invited Wesley to take over
then and so in April Wesley began his famous open air
preaching (which continued for 50 years).
* David Brainerd,
missionary to the North American Indians from 1743 to his
death at 29 in 1749 saw a powerful visitation of God in
October 1745. Whole communities were changed by the power
of the Spirit. Crime and drunkenness dropped, idolatry was
abandoned and marriages repaired.
* Powerful revival touched America
in 1800, especially the frontier territory of
Kentucky. Thousands were converted. Many strange reactions
accompanied the move of the Spirit then, including strong
shaking and loud cries.
* John Hunt, a
pioneering Methodist missionary in Fiji, wrote in his
journal about revival there in October 1845. The Spirit
fell on the people in meetings and in their homes. There
were loud cries of repentance, confession, long meetings,
simultaneous praying aloud, and some being overwhelmed (Birtwhistle
* Jeremiah Lanphier,
a city missioner, began a weekly noon prayer meeting in
New York in September 1857. By October it grew into a
daily prayer meeting attended by many businessmen. By
March 1858 newspapers carried front page reports of over
6,000 attending daily prayer meetings in New York and
Pittsburgh, and daily prayer meetings were held in
Washington at five different times to accommodate the
crowds. By May 1859, 50,000 of New York's 800,000 people
were new converts. New England was profoundly changed by
the revival and in several towns no unconverted adults
could be found! Charles Finney preached in those days.
* During September 1857,
the same month the prayer meetings began in New York, four
young Irishmen commenced a weekly prayer meeting in a
village school near Kells. That is generally seen as the
start of the Ulster revival of 1859 which brought
100,000 converts into the churches of Ireland.
* Throughout 1859
the same deep conviction and lasting conversions revived
thousands of people in Wales, England and Scotland. One
tenth of Wales became new converts. Charles Haddon
Spurgeon, the Baptist prince of preachers, saw 1859 as the
high water mark although he had already been preaching in
London for five years with great blessing and huge crowds
in a church where people prayed continually and had seen
* From October 1904 Evan
Roberts in his twenties, formerly a miner and blacksmith,
saw God move powerfully during the Welsh revival in
answer to his and others' persistent prayers. 100,000 were
converted in Wales during 19045. Churches filled from 10
a.m. till after midnight every day for two years, bringing
profound social change to Wales.
* William Seymour began a
Mission at Azusa Street in Los Angeles on Easter
Saturday, 14 April 1906 with about 100 attending, both
blacks and whites. It grew out of a cottage prayer
meeting. Revival there drew people from around the nation
and overseas and launched Pentecostalism as a world wide
* Revival in Korea
touched the nation in 1907. Presbyterian missionaries,
hearing of revival in Wales, prayed earnestly for the same
in Korea. 1500 representatives gathered for the annual New
Year Bible studies in which a spirit of prayer broke out.
The leaders allowed everyone to pray aloud simultaneously
as so many were wanting to pray. That became a
characteristic of Korean prayer meetings. Revival
continues there now.
* In the Communist
Soviet Union the Spirit of God moved in great power
from the revolution of 1917 to 1927 and churches grew and
multiplied rapidly. Baptists in the Ukraine, for example,
grew from a few thousand to 100,000 in that decade, which
was followed by savage persecution.
* The famous cricketer and
missionary, C T Studd reported on revival in the
Belgian Congo in 1914: 'The whole place was charged as
if with an electric current. Men were falling, jumping,
laughing, crying, singing, confessing and some shaking
terribly. ... This particular one can best be described as
a spiritual tornado. People were literally flung to the
floor or over the forms, yet no one was hurt. ... As I led
in prayer the Spirit came down in mighty power sweeping
the congregation. My whole body trembled with the power.
We saw a marvellous sight, people literally filled and
drunk with the Spirit' (Pratney 1984:267).
* The famous East
African revival began in Rwanda in June 1936 and
rapidly spread to the neighbouring countries of Burundi,
Uganda and the Congo (now Zaire), then further around. The
Holy Spirit moved upon mission schools, spread to churches
and to whole communities, producing deep repentance and
changed lives. Anglican Archdeacon Arthur PittPitts wrote
in September, 'I have been to all the stations where this
Revival is going on, and they all have the same story to
tell. The fire was alight in all of them before the middle
of June, but during the last week in June, it burst into a
wild flame which, like the African grass fire before the
wind, cannot be put out' (Osborn 1991:21).
* The Holy Spirit fell
dramatically on a small prayer group of 8 people in Argentina
in 1948, and their church immediately exploded with many
signs and wonders and healings. Some converts in that move
of God were in Bible College in June 1951 when the Spirit
fell on them there. The college prayed for 4 months with
intense weeping, and many astounding prophecies including
that the largest stadiums in Argentina would be filled
soon for Christian meetings. That happened in 1954 with
the visit of Tommy Hicks. The largest stadium seating
110,000 was filled for weeks as 300,000 made commitments
and hundreds were healed each night for three months.
* God moved upon the
mountain town of Soe in Timor on Sunday 26
September 1965. That night people heard the sound of a
tornado wind and flames above the Reformed Church building
prompted police to set off the fire alarm. Healings and
evangelism increased dramatically. Hundreds of thousands
were converted. About 90 evangelistic teams were formed
which functioned powerfully with spiritual gifts. The
first team saw 9,000 people converted in two weeks in one
town alone. In the first three years of this revival
200,000 became Christians in Timor, and on another small
island where few had been Christians 20,000 became
* God's power visited Asbury
College in Wilmore, Kentucky, on Tuesday 3 February
1970 at the regular morning chapel commencing at 10
o'clock. The auditorium filled with over 1,000 people. Few
left for meals. By midnight over 500 still remained
praying and worshipping. Several hundred committed their
lives to Christ that day. Teams of students visited 16
states and saw several thousand conversions through their
witnessing in one week. Over 1,000 teams went out in the
first six weeks.
* The Jesus Movement
exploded in 1971 among hippie and counter culture youth in
America in the early seventies. Thousands were baptised in
the ocean. Vital new groups like Calvary Chapel led by
Chuck Smith emerged and multiplied rapidly. Newspapers of
the movement included the Hollywood Free Paper which grew
from a circulation of 10,000 to over 150,000 in two years;
Truth merged with Agape and printed 100,000. Right On!
grew from 20,000 to 100,000 circulation (Pratney
* In 1971 Bill McLeod, a
Canadian Baptist pastor, invited the twin evangelists
Ralph and Lou Sutera to speak at his church in Saskatoon.
Revival broke out with their visit which began on
Wednesday 13 October. By the weekend an amazing spirit
gripped the people. Many confessed their sins publicly.
Meetings had to be moved to the Civic Auditorium seating
2000. This spread to other churches as well.
* In September 1973 Todd
Burke arrived in Cambodia on a one week visitor's
visa, later extended. Just 23 years old, he felt a strong
call from God to minister there. By the end of September
he had seen hundreds healed and saved. A virile church
grew rapidly, later buried after the communist coup of
1975. By 1978 a million Cambodians had been killed. Still
the decimated church survives, and is growing again.
* In 1979 John Wimber
began pastoring a fellowship which his wife Carol had
begun in their home. Their Vineyard Fellowship grew
rapidly with their prayerful worship, powerful evangelism
and a growing healing ministry. On Mother's Day in May,
1981, a young man gave his testimony at the evening
service and called on the Holy Spirit to come in power.
Revival broke out at that service as hundreds were
dramatically filled with the Spirit. In the next four
months they baptised 700 new converts. The church grew to
5,000 in a decade and commenced many other Vineyard
* The church in China continues
to see God's strong move amid great persecution, torture
and killing which still continues. David Wang tells of a
pastor imprisoned for over 22 years who left behind a
church of 150 people scattered through the hill villages
in northern China. On his release in the 1980s he
discovered the church in that area had grown to 5,000.
Three years later it had trebled to 15,000. Evangelists
who saw 3040 converted in each village they visited in the
eighties now report 300400 or more being converted in
their visits. Some villages are experiencing a visitation
of God where the whole village becomes Christian.
* Nagaland, a state
in the NorthEast of India, began to experience revival in
the 1960s and has continued in revival. By the early 1980s
85% of the population had become Christians (Mills
* Missionaries were
expelled from Burma in the 1960s but the church
continues to grow. A baptismal service at the Kachin
Baptist Centennial Convention in 1977 saw 6,000 people
baptised in one day.
* During the 1980s the 200
missionaries of the Philippine Missionary
Fellowship each organised daily prayer group meetings at 7
p.m. to pray for the growth of the church. They report
that within a couple of years this directly resulted in
the formation of 310 new churches (Robinson 1992:13).
* Revival has been
spreading in the Pacific Islands, especially in the
Solomons since JulyAugust 1970 when God moved powerfully
in the nation, especially in meetings with Muri Thompson a
Maori evangelist. The Spirit came in power, producing deep
and loud repentance, much confession, signs and wonders,
and transformed churches. Teams have gone from the
Solomons to many other countries, sparking many other
* Engas in the Baptist
mission area of the Western Highlands of Papua New
Guinea had a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit from
Sunday 16 September 1973, as the village pastors preached
in their services after attending meetings during the
previous week led by visitors from the Solomon Islands.
Many were saved. Many were delivered from evil spirits.
Many were healed. The church grew rapidly.
* The Huli speaking people
of the United Church in Tari in the Southern Highlands
of Papua New Guinea also experienced revival from
August 1974, with much confession, many tears, and
deliverance from spirit powers. That revival spread to
surrounding areas also.
* On Thursday afternoon 10
March, 1977 at Duranmin near the West Irain border of
Papua New Guinea, Diyos Wapnok the principal of the
Baptist Bible College spoke to about 50 people. They were
all filled with the Holy Spirit and great joy. Keith and
Joan Bennet of Gateway were there. 3,000 were converted in
the next three years. They had daily prayer meetings in
the villages and many healings and miracles.
* Australian Aborigines on
Galiwin'ku (Elcho Island) experienced revival from
Wednesday 14 March 1979. Djiniyini Gondarra had returned
from holidays that day and people met in his manse for
prayer that night where the Spirit fell on them, as at
Pentecost. They met all night and many were filled with
the Spirit and many healed. The movement spread rapidly
from there throughout Arnhem Land.
* In the Sepik lowlands
of northern Papua New Guinea a visitation of God burst
on the churches at Easter 1984, sparked again by Solomon
Island pastors. There was repentance, confession, weeping
and great joy. Stolen goods were returned or replaced, and
wrongs made right.
* Jobson Misang, an
indigenous youth worker in the United Church reported on a
move of God in the North Solomons Province of Papua New
Guinea in 1988. For 8 weekends straight he led camps
where 3,500 took part and 2,000 were converted.
* The Evangelist Training
Centre of the Lutheran church in the Eastern Highlands
of Papua New Guinea had a visitation of God on
Thursday night 4 August 1988. Crowds stayed up most of the
night as the Spirit touched people deeply, many resting in
the Spirit, others praying in tongues. Students went out
on powerful mission igniting fires of the Spirit in the
* On Saturday 6 May 1989
the Spirit of God fell on Waritzian village in Papua
New Guinea's Eastern Highlands. For three days the
people were drunk in the Spirit. Healing and miracles
occurred. On the Monday they burned their magic and
witchcraft fetishes. The area had been a stronghold of
spirit worship. Students from the Lutheran Training Centre
were involved that weekend.
Harvest in the 1990s
* The CBNTV
(Christian Broadcasting Network) 700 Club with Pat
Robertson reported 6 million conversions in their work
worldwide in 1990, which was more than the previous 30
years of results combined.
* Revival swept Cuba in
1988. One A.O.G. church had 100,000 visitors in 6 months!
In central Cuba a miraculous healing in one church led to
nine days of meetings in which 1,200 people were saved.
The pastors were imprisoned, but the revival continued. In
another church over 15,000 accepted Christ in three
months. In 1990 an A.O.G. pastors whose congregation never
exceeded 100 meeting once a week suddenly found himself
conducting 12 services a day for 7,000 people (Robinson
* In the 1980s Christians
in East Germany started to form small prayer groups
of ten to twelve persons to pray for peace. By October
1989, 50,000 people were involved in Monday night prayer
meetings. In 1990, when these praying people moved quietly
into the streets, their numbers swelled to 300,000 and the
wall came down (Robinson 1992:14).
* In 1990 a bloodless
revolution freed Mongolia from Russian rule. Within
two years more than 500 people became Christian in that
formerly resistant nation. A young girl was the first in
her area to accept Christ. Now churches are growing in
Mongolia where there were none before 1990..
* Christians in Iran have
recently grown in number from 2,700 to over 12,000
according to Abe Ghaffari of Iranian Christians
International. An additional 12,000 Iranian Christians
live in Western nations. Disillusionment with harsh
Islamic law has opened Iran to the Gospel (United Prayer
Track News, No. 1., Brisbane, 1993).
* Harvest has begun among the
Kurds who have been hounded into refugee camps where
Christians have helped and comforted them. The first
Kurdish church in history has resulted. Many Kurds are
open to the Gospel (United Prayer Track News, No. 1,
* The church in the
Sudan is suffering under Islamic edicts. Missionaries
are expelled, pastors imprisoned, and Christians
persecuted. Despite the persecution there has been
phenomenal church growth reported, especially in the south
and the Nuba mountains region.
* A church leader wrote
from Asaba, Nigeria, in 1992, telling how their
church had increased from 700 to 3,200 within 6 months. A
team of just over 100 went on outreach, first in Sokoto
State where they started 5 churches involving 1,225
converts within 3 months. Then they went to Bomu State
where 3 branches were planted with over 1,000 converts in
all. Many Moslems were converted in spite of severe
* Reports indicate that
more Muslims have come to Christ in the past decade
than in the previous thousand years. 'New believers are
immediately tested to a degree incomprehensible to us.
Many are imprisoned and some have been martyred by
governments or relatives. Yet the persecution seems only
to strengthen their determination and boldness. In one
country, where all Christian meetings are illegal,
believers rented a soccer stadium and 5,000 people
gathered. Police came to disperse the meeting and left in
confusion when the Christians refused to leave' (United
Prayer Track News, No. 1, Brisbane, 1993).
* The church in previously
resistant Nepal in the Himalayas is growing
steadily. David Wang tells of a former Lama priest
nicknamed Black Bravery, who has been an illiterate pastor
for 15 years. By the nineties he led 43 fellowships with
total of 32,000 people. Another pastor in a remote area
has 40,000 Christians in his region. Most conversions in
Nepal involve casting out demons to set people free (Asian
Report, May/June 1991).
* Eric Alexander of the
Bible Society in India wrote in 1993, 'I was in
Amedabad in the month of February and was delighted to see
a great revival in the Church there. I was surprised to
hear that 30,000 people have accepted the Lord Jesus as
their personal Saviour in the Diocese of Gujarat (Church
of North India). Thousands of new converts are in the
Methodist, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and Pentecostal
churches. There are thousands and thousands!' (Sharing
Australia, SOMA Newsletter, March 1993, p. 2).
* In OctoberNovember 1990,
one small island in Indonesia saw 30,000 converted
and 45,000 were baptised in another region in
JanuaryFebruary 1991. This growth is among former
* Ruth Rongo from Vanuatu
told of three months of evangelism ministry in 1991 where
the power of God touched many villages and shocked the
villagers with miracles just as in the New Testament. The
church grew rapidly. Ruth was then involved in a prayer
group which met after the Sunday night service. They began
at 10.30 p.m. and prayed every week to 1 or 3.30 a.m.
* From May 1993 the Christian
Outreach Centres in Australia have experienced a
strong move of the Spirit, with much repenting, and many
resting in the Spirit or drunk in the Spirit for hours, or
days. Many have received visions and prophetic insights,
including young people and children in the schools.
Beginning at the headquarters in Brisbane it spread to
their churches. It brought a new zeal for evangelism and
outreach. Similarly Christian Outreach Centres overseas,
especially in the Pacific, are experiencing powerful moves
of the Spirit and rapid growth.
* Evangelist Rodney
Howard-Browne has led meetings in the eighties and
nineties with hundreds of thousands touched afresh by the
Spirit of God and many thousands converted. That has
sparked powerful moves of the Spirit in thousands of
churches, including the Toronto Airport Christian
Fellowship since 20 January, 1994. An estimated 100,000
visited that church in 1994 and the revival continues.
Over 7,000 churches in Great Britain have been reported to
have experienced this current blessing, including a
Brethren church on which the Spirit fell one Sunday
overwhelming the people who then found themselves praying
* Latin America continues
to experience revival. Many healing evangelists now speak
to hundreds of thousands in massive crusades, and churches
continue to multiply. Some evangelists there fast and pray
in an area before commencing crusades until the
strongholds in that area are broken. then they report
astounding moves of the Spirit of God. An estimated 3.5
million a year become Christian in Latin America now.
* Reinhard Bonnke
continues to have massive healing evangelistic crusades in
Africa, often with hundreds of thousands attending in the
open air. In February, 1995, in spiritually resistant
Ethiopia, up to 115,000 attended his meetings daily. In
five days more than 100,000 made commitments to Christ and
as many were filled with the Spirit and thousands received
healing. Around 10 million a year are becoming Christians
* An estimated 12 million a
year are becoming Christian in China now with
unprecedented moves of God's Spirit, healings, miracles,
and visions of Christ. In the eighties teenage evangelist
reported on 30-40 people being converted when they
preached in a village. Now they report on 300-600 being
converted in a village. Evangelical Christians numbered 1
million there in 1950. Now estimates exceed 100 million,
with over 12 million becoming Christians each year now.
* The Jesus Film,
based on Luke's gospel, has been seen by an estimated 503
million people in 197 countries, and 33 million or more
have indicated decisions for Christ as a result. It has
more than 6,300 prints in circulation and around 356,000
video copies. The world's most widely translated film, Jesus,
has been dubbed into more than 240 languages, with 100
more in progress (National & International Religion
Report, May 3, 1993, p.1).
Christians are now more than one third of all the
1,260,000 practising Christians in the world today, just
one indication of how the Spirit of God is moving.
We continue to pray that
the Lord will thrust us out into his harvest. To God be
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(c) Waugh, G. ed.
1995. Anointed for Revival. Brisbane: