Day after day we go about our tasks on this sin-stained planet gathering one impurity after another, being forced to listen to blasphemies and language that is an offence both to God and all decent people. Because of this, how we need to breathe in the filtering freshness of the spiritual oxygen that comes to us through His Holy Spirit.
One of the great evidence of the Welsh Revival in 1904 when God’s breath blew over the Principality in a powerful way was the fact that people’s lives were cleaned up in the most amazing manner. Old debts were paid, bad language gave way to the praises of God and people would cross the valleys to each other’s homes in order to clear up any bad feeling that had been between them.
It is a well-known fact that miners who directed the pit ponies with swear words, after they were converted didn’t want to swear anymore, so they had to teach the pit ponies new and cleaner commands.
It was like this in the Hebrides Revival in 1959 too. A group of people were praying in church and some stood
up and read from Psalm 24: ‘Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.’
One of the congregation followed the reading with a prayer that went something like this, ‘O God, forgive us if our hands are not clean and our hearts are not pure.’ A young man immediately stood up and startled the congregation by crying out: ‘It is so much humbug to talk about our hearts and hands not being clean. We need to drop the ‘our’ and replace it with ‘my’.’
Then he proceeded to pray, ‘Oh, God, my hands are not clean, my heart is not pure…forgive me,’ and falling to the ground in repentance provoked others to follow in the same vein. People made their praying very personal and cried out to God in such a way that the Holy Spirit fell on the island ushering in one of the great movements of the Spirit in the twentieth century.
From chapter 3 of Spoken from the Heart – sermons by the author, published by CWR 2005