Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Calling of Evan Roberts

Leslie Basham: Do you feel like God could use you? Here's Mark Beardon.

Mark Beardon: God doesn't take the mighty, the powerful. God takes the simple, the usable. And you know what? It may be you that God wants to use to bring revival in your church.

Leslie Basham: It's Tuesday, November 16, and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Mark Beardon: When God starts revival, He doesn't start it with a whole church. He picks out one or two with a passion, a burden, and usually they are outside the camp in a sense. They're outside the programs of the church. They're carrying a burden that others don't understand.

You go back into Scripture. God picks out a shepherd and makes him a king. God picks out simple men and makes them prophets.

I mean, think about something. If Jesus were starting Christianity today in the twentieth century, if the Messiah came in this century and Jesus had to pick 12 men and had to say, "I am entrusting to these men the future of the Christian church, the message of the kingdom of God," you would assume that He would go to the seminaries, that He would pick out the brightest minds, the most dynamic communicators.

No, you know what He'd do? He'd go to the construction site and pick out twelve guys because that's in essence what He did.

Leslie Basham: That's Mark Beardon helping us understand how radical it was for Jesus to establish the church using a group of common fisherman. Nancy, that's often how God works.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: He sure does. Yesterday, we heard about a teenager who made a simple profession of faith. God used the statement of this ordinary girl to spark a passion among the young people of western Wales.

We're going to pick up that story today. It's the story of a revival that swept the principality of Wales 100 years ago this month. Here's pastor and historian Kevin Adams introducing us to another ordinary young man who was used by God.

Kevin Adams: Evan Roberts who became the leading light, the most well-known revivalist of the revival. He's born in 1878 by the sides of the Loughor River.

He was brought up a religious character. He says he was converted when he was thirteen years old. He went to church and chapel. He took that incredibly seriously.

He leaves school when he's twelve years old. He goes underground to work with his father. He's a coal miner and works very, very hard. It was a dangerous job. He nearly gets killed by a tram when an explosion occurred at the coal mine.

He happened to be off shift so his life was spared. But he had left his Bible in the coal mine. His Bible was burned. He kept this as a memento for years, and he would give leaves of this Bible to a number of his friends. But he'd read the Bible. This was characteristic of his whole spiritual stance.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Unlike many of his countrymen, Evan Roberts wasn't content just to go though religious motions. We heard from Mark Beardon earlier. Mark is one of several revivalists who is a part of Life Action Ministries. He leads a team of young people who minister in churches across the United States. Mark picks up Evan Robert's story.

Mark Beardon: Roberts knelt to pray before he went to bed. Suddenly, the presence of God so enveloped him that he began to rock against his bed. He was overwhelmed with the presence of God. His brother, in the next bed, thought he was sick. He got up and put his arm around him and was trying to help him.

Evan Roberts finished praying and went to bed. God woke him up at one in the morning. He prayed from one to five a.m. For three to four months after that, God woke Evan Roberts up at one every morning. And from one to five a.m. he spent in intercession.


At the age of nineteen he described an event where he stood on a mountain in Wales. He was overlooking the valley and reciting the Lord's Prayer out loud.

He said the phrase, "Thy kingdom come." It so overwhelmed him that he couldn't speak. He just stared. The phrase pounded in his heart, "Thy kingdom come, thy kingdom come." So this was a young man with a passion for the things of Jesus.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Here's Kevin Adams.

Kevin Adams: So he committed himself to prayer and Bible reading for the next thirteen years. Two of his main themes in prayer were personal filling of the Spirit. He called on God to fill him personally with His presence.

Secondly, He asked for a national revival in Wales. He called on God: "Revive Wales!" In the family Bible, Evan Roberts marked the verse 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That passage says: "If My people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Song: "Spirit of the Living God"

While working as a blacksmith's apprentice, Evan Roberts sensed that God was calling him to full-time Christian service. That led him to a seminary in western Wales. As we heard yesterday, that's where God had been doing something new in the lives of a few pastors and a group of young people. Here's Mark Beardon.

Mark Beardon: An evangelist by the name of Seth Joshua had come to Newquay, Cardigan, which was Joseph Jenkins's church, to preach some meetings for him.

He said that one night as he tried to close the service (which had continued until midnight) in a prayer, the service broke out again. He tried repeatedly to close the service and he said later he had, up to that point in his life, never seen the power of the Spirit so powerfully manifested as it was that night. So God was stirring.

The evangelist, Seth Joshua went on to a place called Newcastle, Emlyn where Evan Roberts was attending school. He preached some meetings there. He was preaching a few days later at a place called Blaenanerch.

Which is fun place to pronounce if you are Welsh.

Kevin Adams: Blaenanerch. And if you can say Blaenanerch than you were born to be Welsh. I can tell you that right now.

Evan Roberts turns up to the first meeting which is at seven o'clock in the morning. The preacher there, a man called Seth Joshua, is praying a prayer and here's the prayer: "O Lord, Bend Us. O Lord, Bend Us."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Dr. Edwin Orr reflects on that prayer.

Dr. J. Edwin Orr: The Welsh word "bend" is stronger than the English word. Everything that went into the chorus: Melt me, Mold me, Fill me, Use me would go into that word "bend."

Bend means "to shape," like shaping the clay on the wheel. Evan Roberts, after he prayed that prayer went forward and prayed with great agony. "O God, Bend Me."

Song: "Spirit of the Living God"

Kevin Adams: It was an experience of giving himself fully to God. It had been a struggle growing up. He wanted to serve God with all his heart, but he knew he needed to give himself in a deeper way.

He actually does bend over, he falls over the front seat and says, "O Lord, bend me, come into my life, bend me, bend us, O God."

Song: "Spirit of the Living God"

It's as if God empowers His servant. Everybody would say that Evans Robert, the young quiet man that they knew, at the end of that Thursday was empowered for service.

He wanted to reach everybody in Wales. He was so "on fire" that he got the young people together over the next two days and tried to work out how he could evangelize the whole of Wales.

It was an exciting time! They all felt that God was going to do something.

From then on throughout that month, he prayed the prayer that God would add 100,000 people to the churches in Wales. You have to remember that Evan Roberts is a total unknown at this time in Wales.

Nobody's really heard of him. He's not even a professional minister. He has just come out of an apprenticeship in a blacksmith's shop. And yet he began to believe that God was going to use himself and others in a mighty revival.

He writes this down before the revival comes: "There is a revival coming." It didn't take him by surprise. Some people thought he was a bit neurotic about all this. But the reality is, history tells us, that 100,000 people were added to the church of God.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You and I can pray the same prayer that was so meaningful to Evan Robert. "Lord, Bend Me." God may be wanting to use someone today just as he used a twenty-six year old coal miner one hundred years ago. Here's Mark Beardon.

Mark Beardon: You know, the romance of the Christian life is that God doesn't take the mighty, the powerful. God takes the simple, the usable.

And you know what? It may be you that God wants to use to bring revival in your church. You say, "I'm nothing, I'm just one person. My church doesn't have a heart for those things."

God doesn't start with the whole, He starts with the few, the few with a heart and a passion. Would you take a moment just to ask God: "Let it be me. Revive my heart. Let me be the light that You see to bring revival to our church, to our nation." Then cry out with the psalmist: "Lord, wilt thou not revive us again. That thy people may rejoice in thy name" [Psalms 85:6].

Leslie Basham: We've been exploring the Welsh Revival that took place exactly one hundred years ago. Nancy, when you realized that we were going to mark this anniversary, it gave you some ideas.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: One idea was to do a series on this revival for Revive Our Hearts radio. That's what we're hearing this week. The other was to come up with a way to call people to experience personal revival.

The result of that burden was that some of our staff at Life Action Ministries, where I serve, worked with me to put together a special workbook called: Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.

When we talk about personal revival, we're talking first about our relationship with God, making sure that it is clear, that there is nothing between our soul and the Savior.

Once we have a right relationship with God, then we can focus on having a right relationship with others, how to experience forgiveness, how to give forgiveness, how to have a clear conscience, how to be morally pure. Those are some of the themes we focus on in the book: Seeking Him, a twelve-week interactive study on personal revival.

Leslie Basham: And this is really more than a book. There's a section each day for individual study. There are also group questions. This would be perfect material for a small group in your home or in a church. For more information visit or call us at 1-800-569-5959.

We've heard a lot about the events leading up to the Welsh Revival. Tomorrow we'll hear about how it actually started. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

"Spirit of the Living God," Eden's Bridge, from the album Celtic Worship

"Psalm 86--Lief," Scottish Festival Singers, from the album Psalms of the Trinity Psalter

"Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah," Tune: Cwm Rhondda, John Hughes, 1907. Arranged by Brad Sondahl from the album Sacred Ground.

Thank you, Cheryl, for preparing today's Revive Our Hearts for the Internet.

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