Revival History – Billy Sunday

Billy SundayWilliam Ashley “Billy” Sunday was noted first as a professional baseball player, and then a more famous evangelist.

Born in Ames, Iowa, Sunday grew up the son of a single mother. The family endured significant poverty during his childhood. His father, also named William, enlisted in the Iowa Infantry Volunteers four months before Sunday was born. He died, a month after Sunday was born, of an unknown disease contracted in Missouri while on duty.

At the age of 12, Sunday and his older brother were sent to Soldier’s Orphanage in Glenwood, Iowa. Billy ran away from the orphanage two years later and ended up as a stable boy tending shetland ponies.

Cap Anson, future baseball Hall of Famer, saw Sunday play after being told by a coach that he should come see Sunday compete. Anson signed Sunday on to the league leading Chicago White Stockings. Although Sunday struck out his first thirteen times at bat he was acknowledged to be the champion sprinter of the National League. At one point Sunday raced, Arlie Latham, champion sprinter of the American League, and Sunday beat him by fifteen feet. Sunday played professional baseball for eight years for the Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia teams. Continue reading

Revival History – Jeremiah Lanphier & the Prayer Revival

Jeremiah LanphierOne Million Saved: With little human planning, a nation-wide revival broke out among God’s people in “union prayer meetings” beginning in 1857. In the awakening that followed, nearly 1,000,000 people accepted Christ and became involved in churches over a two-year period. Based on percentages of converts to the general population, a similar move of God in our day would result in 8-9 million people turning to Christ.

Great Need: The years leading up to 1857 were years of tremendous growth and prosperity for America. Population was booming. People and businesses were becoming wealthy. The “cares of the world” captured the minds and hearts of Americans choking out their interest in God and His kingdom. Drunkenness was rampant and the nation was divided by slavery. Ministering in the dark slums of Hell’s Kitchen, Lanphier poured himself into the lives of people people who were homeless, helpless and hopeless. Month after month he went door to door sharing the Good News, distributing tracts and holding Bible studies with whomever would listen  In addition, churches were declining in numbers, strength and influence. Continue reading

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). Continue reading

Revival in History – Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards

During our week of revival meetings there will be an article posted each day emphasizing revivals of past years. These articles are posted not to relive history in our minds, but rather to stir our hearts with what God can do once again at Bethel Baptist Church.

Jonathan Edwards was no stranger to revival. When he was just twelve years old (in 1715) the church his father, Timothy Edwards, pastored experienced a “remarkable stirring and pouring out of the Spirit of God resulting in an unusual number of conversions and many more awakened to the condition of their souls.” His maternal grandfather, Soloman Stoddard, also a minister, similarly enjoyed five distinct periods of spiritual awakening at Northampton, Massachusetts. young Jonathan was a teenager during the last two seasons of revival. Continue reading