Why is it that some children seem to be born with a predisposition toward a specific focus in life? My only explanation for this is that God makes it part of their DNA. Such was the case for Evan Roberts, a young revivalist from Wales with an unquenchable passion for the presence of the Lord. Born on June 8, 1878, he was part of a family of Calvinist-Methodists. I surmise that God intended this to be, so that his hunger for revival would be encouraged. As was the case with most men who lived in Southern Wales, Evan's father worked in the coal mines. When he was in a mining accident, Evan was taken out of school to work in the mines. However, his love of the Lord and of God's Word was the foundation upon which he built his life. His Bible went to the mines with him daily. He even shared a Scripture with the workers as they went down into the mine and encouraged them to meditate on it during the workday.
It was at age 13 that Evan had an encounter with God at his church named Moriah Chapel. He became obsessed with living a life that pleased the Lord and regularly asked himself the question, "What would Jesus do?" Evan's life as a teenager was marked by fervent prayer. His dedication to God and desire for intimacy with Him brought him spiritual power. He felt called to enter full-time ministry and focused his long prayers on asking God to bring revival to his Welsh community. He told the congregation at Moriah Chapel, "I have reached out my hand and touched the flame. I am burning and waiting for a sign." (Page 82, God's Generals by Roberts Liardon)
On October 31, 1904, Evan's 13-year prayer burden was answered. He saw the fruit of his prayers through a revival that broke out among a group of young people who received Christ as their personal Savior. While the Holy Spirit was poured out in the southern part of Wales, God orchestrated revival in villages in north Wales. At Moriah, Evan shared his belief that God had promised to save 100,000 individuals. Revival meetings took place nightly. Those who attended the meetings were instructed by Evan to "Pray, believe, and wait." He also told them to pray a specific prayer: "Send the Holy Spirit now for Jesus Christ's sake."
Revival spilled out on to the streets and into homes, workplaces, and shops. Many traveled from England and Scotland to participate in the Wales revival. The bulk of their meeting time was filled with singing. But Evan was convinced of the priority of prayer. He said, "We may sing all night without saving. It is prayer that tells, that saves, and that brings heaven down among us. Pray, friends, pray!"
The consistent, fervent, unending prayers of a young man transformed the southern part of Wales and spread revival around the country and into others. Evan believed that the Holy Spirit of God would bring revival as the prayer bowls in heaven were filled. Oh, how I desire to see that conviction fall upon our nation! I believe that only the Lord can change the destructive path we are on and bring us back to the godly foundations from which we have fallen. Evan Robert would pray: "Bend the church and save the world. Bend me. Bend me." Let us join together in this prayer to fill the bowls in heaven so that they overflow and pour revival upon us.
Joan E. Mathias