God always seems to look for someone to intercede and act as forerunner to prepare the way for His moving.
In April 2009, we took a worship and intercession team to Wales. Many wonderful things happened as we heard the stories and the history of Wales. One of those stories I feel has strategy in it for us.
We have all probably heard the story of Evan Roberts and the 1904 Revival, but not many of us have heard the story of the forerunner behind this move of God. Seth Joshua was that man. Here is the story:
One day, Seth Joshua's son Peter decided he would skip school and go fishing. While fishing, he heard his father Seth coming down the path. Peter ran into the bushes and hid so his father would not see him. As his father passed by, Peter heard his father praying. His prayer was this: "Give me Wales, God. Give me Wales, God." Peter went home and asked his mother, "What is wrong with father? I heard him crying and saying, 'Give me Wales. Give me Wales, God.'" His mother told him that one day he would understand.
Not only did Seth pray this prayer, but he would also pray, "Raise up a lad from the mines or fields of Wales, not one from Cambridge or Oxford, who would pander to the people's pride."
In September 1904, Seth Joshua was preaching in Blaenannerch, Wales. A young man by the name of Evan Roberts came to that meeting, having heard that there was a move of God.
Here is the account of that first meeting:
"O Lord, Bend Us"
On Thursday, September 29th, Evan Roberts and some twenty students started out at 6:00 a.m. to attend a 7 a.m. meeting at the Blaenannerch conference. Along the way they sang, "It is coming, it is coming, the power of the Holy Ghost; I receive it, I receive it, the power of the Holy Ghost." As they broke for breakfast, Seth Joshua concluded his preaching with a prayer in Welsh, "O Arglwydd, plyg ni"--"O Lord, bend us." Evan Roberts was deeply and visibly moved by this prayer. According to Roberts, "'That is what you stand in need of,' said the Spirit to me. And Oh! In going through the door I prayed within myself, 'Oh! Lord, bend us.'"
He refused to eat breakfast. On the way into the 9 o'clock meeting Seth Joshua commented, "We are going to have a wonderful meeting here today," to which Roberts replied, "I am just bursting." When the meeting resumed at 9 a.m., Roberts knew he must pray. As he waited for others to finish praying, he said , "I felt some living energy or force entering my bosom. It took my breath away, and my legs trembled exceedingly." Evan Roberts recounted the event himself, "I fell on my knees with my arms on the seat before me, the perspiration poured down my face and my tears streamed quickly--until I thought that the blood came out. Soon Mrs. Davies, Mona, New Quay, came to wipe my perspiration. . . It was awful on me for about two minutes. I cried 'Bend me, bend me, bend me; Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!' When wiping my perspiration Mrs. Davies said, 'Oh wonderful grace!' 'Yes,' said I, 'Oh wonderful grace!' It was God commending His love that bent me, and I not seeing anything in Him to commend. After I was bent, a wave of peace filled my bosom. When I was in this feeling, the audience sang heartily, 'I am coming, coming, Lord, to Thee!' What came to my mind after this was the bending in the day of judgment. Then I was filled with sympathy for the people who will have to bend in the judgment day, and I wept. Afterwards, the salvation of souls weighed heavily upon me. Seth Joshua wrote in his diary, "One young man was deeply moved." Indeed he was. Evan Roberts would always remember this day as "Blaenanerch's great meeting."
That was the crisis experience of Evan Roberts. When his burden lifted Roberts rose from prayer a changed man, "I felt ablaze with a desire to go through the length and breadth of Wales to tell of the Saviour; and had it been possible, I was willing to pay God for doing so." (Phillips, 125)
Some might say that God didn't give Seth Joshua Wales and I would have to disagree with that. Seth Joshua was an intercessor who knew the heart of God for a nation. God did give him Wales.
Our team visited this chapel in Blaenannerch. Believe it when I say that God's presence is still there. As we came in and sat in the chapel, many of us were stirred by God's awesome presence. I went right to the place where Evan sat when he was baptized in the Spirit. As I sat there, I was taken into intercession, and the presence of God was once again life changing. I will never forget the feeling of that move of God that I felt sitting in that place. Many of us cried that day in the chapel. We worshipped together and prayed for another move of the Holy Spirit.
Our purpose and strategy are clear. We are revivalists and He must bend us and save the world.
Let God put you on like a glove. Let your intercession be that sweet aroma to Him. He will come and is coming and the nations will love Him and they will be saved.
Phillips, D.M. Evan Roberts, The Great Welsh Revivalist And His Work. London: Marshall Brothers, 1906.
For further reading, see:
The Welsh Revival - Longing And Preparation (Maurice R. Smith)
The Welsh Revival of 1904-1905