Revival in History – Duncan Campbell & the Welsh Revival

Duncan CampbellAs an incentive to pray for revival, there could be few greater challenges than reading accounts of how God has graciously granted times of awakening in the past. A notable example of this can be seen in the life and ministry of Duncan Campbell who was so remarkably blessed and used by God in Scotland and many other places earlier in this century.

Campbell attended a convention in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was challenged to plead with God, “O Lord, give me back the years that the locusts have eaten,” and then, “Lord, make again Thy marred vessel.” He knew that there was only one way to resolve the issue and on returning home he gave himself to waiting upon God in prayer. During the night, his doubts and fears were at last removed as he recalled the glorious promises in God’s Word, “For the Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance” (Psalm 94:13), and “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases” (Psalm 103:3).

Thus it was that in January 1949, Duncan and his wife and family moved to Edinburgh where he was provided a base for his evangelistic work. He reported, “I am again fighting the old battle I fought twenty-five years ago, but enjoying it on the victory side.” As the power of the Gospel was at work in many hearts. Duncan was invited to lead an evangelistic campaign at the village of Barvas on the isle of Lewis. Spiritual awakenings had marked the religious life on the island on many occasions, most recently in 1938, and ten years later, some Christian there were earnestly praying that God once again visit them in revival power.

Duncan was quite unaware of these things and he intended to stay in Lewis for just ten days and then take a rest from his evangelism work. However, despite his tiredness, he immediately recongized the feeling of spiritual expectation amongst the people who had invited him to Barvas, and after the preaching service on the second evening he was there, the congregation lingered outside the church and were joined by others who had not attended the meeting. Many were moved to join him as a sense of deep conviction came over the crowd. The church was soon filled with people calling upon God for mercy and praising Him for His goodness, and even when they separated in the early hours of the morning, small groups went on praying in various parts of the village. The powerful awakening which swept through Barvas in the following days was not an isolated event, and although Duncan Campbell’s preaching was similarly blessed when services were hastily arranged in villages as Tarbert, Leurbost and Arnol, the revival was felt throughout the whole of Lewis, to such an extent that he later described it as “a community saturated with God.”

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