13: How The Great Revival in Wales Transformed an Entire Country (w/ Jon Osterman)

The Audio

Show Notes

115 years may seem like a long time, but in many ways Christians in the Western world were facing many of the issues believers face today. This is especially true when it comes to all the distractions the wealth of the modern world brings. This period of history was just at the point when the 1st World emerged from an Agrarian, simpler way of life into an industrialized, busy way of life inundated with the distractions of materialism. So while the people of the early 20th century didn’t have to worry about smartphones or Netflix, they still found plenty of distraction in drinking alcohol and attending myriad entertainment events.

Yet, there was a faithful contingent of Christ-followers in the tiny nation of Wales who dedicated themselves to fleeing the distractions of the world and seeking God in prayer, day and night. It was from this faithful place of prayer that God unleashed one of the greatest moves of His Spirit in the last few centuries. One observer described it like independent wildfires breaking out all over the entire country. It was hard for anyone to point to a specific leader who was catalyzing it. The movement just seemed to spring up on its own in the form of spontaneous prayer and testimony services in virtually every town throughout Wales.

The results are shocking to anyone finding themselves struggling with apathy or faith. 100,000 people of this tiny land gave their lives to Christ in the period of six months. Pubs were closed down because no one was buying alcohol. Judges had no cases on the books and policemen started attending the meetings out of shear curiosity of why there was no crime. Countless stories of people reconciling, forgiving, and paying back old debts are common from the revival.

Though there was no leader who catalyzed the revival, there was a young man who, in humble faith, became the pure-hearted inspiration to many in the revival. His name was Evan Roberts and in this episode we dig into his story as well as recount many of the testimonies from the inspiring time in history.

If you’re curious about what revival looks like and how the Gospel can flat-out transform a society, listen along as Justin and episode guest, Jon Osterman, help each other tell the story of the revival.

  • The revival meetings were always packed to the gills with people trying to climb in through windows and stand outside, if need be.
  • Evan Roberts had an intense prayer life and even recounted a season of his life where he was being transported into heaven in the middle of the night.
  • While preaching wasn't a central piece of this revival, Welsh Christians were historically very dedicated to reading and practicing the Bible and Bible sales greatly increased as a result of the revival.
  • Interestingly, unlike the demographics of many modern Evangelical churches, the majority of the people who gave their lives to Christ in the Welsh Revival weren't women but poor, gruff, coal-mining men. Of course, many people from every walk of life, and from both genders, were touched, however.
  • One testimony from the revival tells of an anonymous woman who inspired the organization of thousands of prayer groups throughout England ahead of revival meetings in London scheduled by the famous R.A. Torrey. The meetings had some fruit, but certain spiritually discerning persons understood that these prayer groups were likely the spiritual match that actually lit the Welsh revival. However, the seasoned wood, so to speak, was in the neighboring area of Wales.