By David Smithers
The seeds of revival are always nurtured in the hearts of the humble. And so it was with the great Welsh Revival of 1904. It was in a young coal miner named Evan Roberts that God imparted a burning vision for spiritual revival. Evan Roberts did not possess the gifts of a great intellect or eloquent speech, but simply a burning passion for Jesus. While other young men were sailing boats in the bay, young Roberts was faithfully attending prayer meetings.
Though only 26 years old, Evan Roberts had no time for youthful entertainment and pleasure. "Day and night without ceasing, he prayed, wept and sighed for a great spiritual awakening . . ." Roberts writes, "for ten or eleven years I have prayed for revival. I could sit up all night to read or talk about revivals." Eventually Evan Roberts was turned out of his lodging by his landlady who thought that in his enthusiasm he was possessed or somewhat mad. "He spent hours praying and preaching in his room until the lady became afraid of him, and asked him to leave."
The role of Evan Roberts in the Welsh revival was anything but conventional. Often he would simply lead the people in prayer or read the Scriptures. Then at other times he sat silent, while, one after another, people confessed their sins or gave testimony of Christ's victory and power. There were also glorious times of worship which lasted literally hours. Roberts merely gave humble instruction from time to time and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. He was a constant example not of how to preach, but of how to be led by the Spirit.
The Welsh revival was a mighty invasion of the Spirit; God's Kingdom radically manifested on earth. "The earnings of workmen, instead of being squandered on drink and vice, were now bringing great joy to their families. Outstanding debts were being paid by thousands of young converts. Restitution was the order of the day. The gambling and alcohol business lost their trade and the theaters closed down from lack of patronage. Football during this time was forgotten by both players and fans, though nothing was mentioned from the pulpits about it. The people had new lives and new interests. Political meetings were cancelled or abandoned. They seemed completely out of the question since nobody was interested. The political leaders from parliament in London abandoned themselves to the revival meetings. The man-made denominational barriers completely collapsed as believers and pastors worshipped their majestic Lord together." One of the outstanding features of the revival was the confession of sin,not among the unsaved only, but among the saved. All were broken down and melted before the cross of Christ.
Throughout the revival, Evan Roberts constantly stressed the necessity of dealing honestly with sin, complete obedience to the Holy Spirit, and the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Evan Roberts was instrumental in bringing healing to an entire country because he cared and wept and prayed. He embraced the broken heart of God and offered it back up to Him through prayer and intercession. As a result "wherever he went, hearts were set aflame with the Love of God!"