History of Revival and Awakening

History of Revival and Awakening in America


1st Great Awakening

  • Traced back to the Moravian community called the “Lords watch.”
  • Under the leadership of Nikolas Count Ludwig Von Zinzendorf, the Moravian community began a 24 hr a day prayer movement. This 24 hour prayer movement lasted over 100 years.
  • The Moravian community sent out over 300 radical Missionaries to the rest of the world, including America and England.
  • Began in America in 1734 in North Hampton, Massachusetts and New Jersey
  • Theodore Frelinghuysen, a Dutch reformist was one of the first preachers of the awakening. Signs and wonders followed his preaching.
  • Jonathon Edwards was the one of the main leaders in the awakening.
  • Revival spread to all denominations, cities and peoples.
  • This awakening was also preached by Gilbert Tennant whose father founded Princeton University. Princeton was established to produce Ministers.
  • In 1739 George Whitfield then came to America and began preaching the awakening with signs following.
  • In 1739 John Wesley also began ministry in the United States for the great awakening. Out of his ministry, 40,000 plus sermons were preached, 233 books written, 750 preachers in England and 350 preachers in America and with his brother wrote over 9000 hymns.
  • Affects of Awakening
  • Lasted from 1727 until 1766, the beginning of the American Revolution.
  • Mass weeping and repentance, falling to ground prostate, falling out of seats, crying out for God, fainting, shrieking, convulsions etc…
  • 150 new congregational churches
  • 9 universities
  • Thousands added to church and colonies were thoroughly  Christianized
  • This awakening was simultaneously happening throughout the world and became the greatest event of the century in England

2nd Great Awakening of 1792

  • Began in Yorkshire England in prayer meetings
  • Began in America in 1792 and lasted 30 years
  • Began as a prayer movement when John Erskine republished Jonathan Edwards plea for revival prayer
  • This book was sent to the Baptist in England and they set aside a day to pray for revival which led to the “Union of Prayer” movement
  • This led to the prayer meetings for revival in England and Scotland moving to all other denominations so that every denomination was praying for revival.
  • It spread through all areas, to every part of England and denominations
  • Began in America in 1792 and lasted 30 years
  • First signs of awakening in America began in First Baptist church in Boston
  • 1n 1794, Isaac Backus sent a letter to every denomination in America asking them to begin prayer meetings and cry out for Revival for America because conditions were so bad
  • All of the denominations accepted and began to pray for revival in America
  • In 1796 awakening began
  • Jonathan Edwards grandson took over Yale College and most of the college was converted
  • Affects
  • Churches overflowed all over America
  • People would be convicted on the spot wherever they were about what they were doing and go the churches to find out what they needed to do to get right with God
  • Kentucky and Tennessee were totally lawless and known as Sodom and Gomorrah
  • If anyone committed crimes in America they could go there and be left alone
  • In 1799 a man named James McGrady went there and started a church and prayer meetings. He was known because of his ugly face
  •  In 1800 an outpouring of the Spirit of God came and suddenly 17,000 people showed up at once for a communion service
  • This was followed by services outside called “Camp meetings” where over 25,000 people showed up
  • Later when George Baxter went to Kentucky and Tennessee, he said these were the most moral communities he had ever been in
  • This spread to the entire United States
  • This led to the abolition of slave trade led by William Wilberforce
  • The Royal Navy was then used to hunt down slave traders
  • Shaking, trembling, weeping, shouting, fainting, hundreds falling at once and many salvation’s
  • Societal reform
  • Out of 180 colleges in United States, 144 colleges were started by those who were a part of this revival
  • World missions evolved
  • American Bible Society, American Tract Society, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and many others were founded during this awakening.


The Third Great Awakening of 1830

  • Began in Boston, New York and other places and lasted around 12 years
  • It swept through the country
  • The Presbyterians and Congregationalist got together tearing down denominational lines and started seeing revival break out in their churches
  • Churches, regardless of denomination started praying and fasting for an outpouring
  • Churches began to overflow and people began getting saved by mass
  • This awakening also spread through the slave communities and thousands were saved
  • One of main differences is the conversions stuck unlike typical modern day evangelistic meetings
  • This was evidenced by lives that were changed forever that affected entire towns, cities and states and nations.
  • Boston reported the cloud of God’s glory was resting over the city while in New York, masses were being added to the church on a daily basis, sweeping through all denominational lines
  • In Charles town Massachusetts revival swept the area and began with prayer by ministers
  • Charles Finney was used greatly spreading revival to many areas.
  • He began in Rochester, N.Y.
  • Entire towns would be converted
  • People in churches would fall out of their seats unto the floor weeping and wailing for God’s mercy and to  get right with God
  • In one factory he visited, upon entering a room filled with by some estimates 300 or so seamstress’s he walked around and one by one the women started falling under the power of God and repenting… the owner walked in the room where this was happening and he himself was unsaved. The power of God fell on him and they had an evangelistic meeting right there at the factory in which nearly everyone was saved.
  • Revivals swept the colleges like Yale, Brown and nearly all of them in the United States where the majority of students were born again
  • People wept, trembled, shook, fell out for hours under the power of God
  • Church membership doubled in the United States
  • Hawaii was nearly entirely converted and the King of Hawaii drew up a constitution declaring the country of Hawaii a Christian nation
  • This awakening was going on throughout the world


The Forth Great Awakening of 1858

  • Completely utterly moved through all of society
  • Proceeded by revival in Hamilton Ontario Canada where the whole town was affected. This moved throughout Canada
  • Banking system in America collapsed on the 14th of October
  • However this was proceeded by a revival and outpouring of God’s Spirit among the Slaves in 1857 in the Carolina’s that started spreading
  • In Virginia and other states, the churches were too small to hold the overflow of people so they held services in the tobacco fields
  • The 2nd largest church in the world was an African American church in Richmond Virginia
  • Banking system in America collapsed on the 14th of October
  • This created a prayer movement of business men that started with one man in New York City, Jeremiah Lanphier. His prayer meetings were scheduled for midday so businessmen could come and go as able.
  • His first meeting he was the only one there for the first thirty minutes and eventually 5 others came.
  • The next week 20 people came and it doubled to 40 by week three. It was then decided to make the prayer meeting a daily event
  • Within six months over 10,000 businessmen were gathering to pray on a daily basis
  • At this point the awakening was spreading all throughout New York City
  • Then revival broke out in a Presbyterian church Charleston South Carolina where the blacks outnumbered the whites 5 to 1
  • They held a prayer meetings praying for revival every night with no preaching until the Holy Spirit fell.
  • When it happened the church was filled with weeping and crying out to God
  • For 3 months the pastor preached to an overflow of people who were black and white. These folks went back to their churches and took the revival with them spreading it to all areas, filling all of the churches.
  • In New York City, the churches overflowed so much that many of the theaters had to be used to house all of the people. Meetings would last all night because of the amount of people being saved
  • YMCA’s in parts of the countries were filled with thousands of people overflowing out of them
  • Bells were rang throughout towns in America at 6:30 in the morning, noon and in the evening for everyone to meet and pray
  • These awakening affected all churches, all denominations and all parts of society
  • Out of these came the salvation army, missionaries, the Azusa street revival

Welsh and Azusa Street Awakenings

  • In 1899 Christians all over the world were praying for the God to pour out His Spirit and make the 20th Century the Christian century
  • The Moody Bible institute members were holding prayer meetings that lasted all night, asking for revival
  • The main teaching going all over the world was 1st John 1:9 and about the Holy Spirit
  • The 20th century revivals affected all bodies in the church all over the world on every continent, which then affected society
  • The Welsh revival began in a church Pastored by Joseph Jenkins
  • The outpouring in Pastor Jenkins church occurred about 10 months before the great awakening in all of Welsh occurred
  • He preached sanctification
  • He had a great concern about the spiritual life of the young people in his church and confronted them about who Jesus was and what He meant to them personally in a real tangible way and most of them were embarrassed about it
  • Then a girl gave a testimony about who Jesus was to her and this began a revival among the young people and they formed groups who went around Wales giving testimonies while Pastor Jenkins preached
  • Revival started breaking out among the youth in the churches and colleges
  • In 1904, Seth Joshua a Methodist who followed George Whitfield went to a town called New Key to hold a week of meetings and revival broke out among the youth and the meetings could not be closed down until the early hours of the morning
  • Seth Joshua then went to some colleges including New Castle Emblem College where students studied for ministry.   Evan Roberts and Sydney Evans were students
  • Upon hearing about what had occurred in New Key, Wales, Evan Roberts and Sydney Evans pleaded with the school president to shut down the school and allow the students to go to the next town Seth Johnson was preaching in and see what God was going to do
  • The meetings were relatively unremarkable but Evan Roberts was besieged by God
  • Evan Roberts then went back to his College and told the principle that God’s voice would not leave him alone that he  must quit and go back home and began speaking to all of the young people in his home area
  • The principle asked him if it were God or the devil who was telling him this
  • Evan Roberts was allowed to speak at his church Monday night prayer meeting
  • He did not preach a message, but rather simply told them what God told him to say which was this, “you must repent and confess of any known sins to God and you must make things right with any person you need to make things right with.” (This is the pattern of Elul, Trumpets and Tabernacles). “He also said you must put out of your life any doubtful habit and publicly confess your faith in Christ, and you must obey the Holy Spirit promptly.”
  • 17 people heard him speak, all 17 responded
  • The pastor asked him to come back the next night
  • This led into 5 more meetings and then one on Sunday night after church
  • Then on a Wednesday night meeting the meeting was going on and getting hard because it was so late when Evan Roberts’s mother left the meeting because it was so late, 3 am. She told him that it was late and people had to get up and go to work and that he was stubborn.
  • Evan Roberts and his brother stayed at the church praying all night and then went home to sleep for a few hours when at 10am they heard their mother crying. They got up to see what was wrong and she told them she had grieved the Holy Spirit.
  • They prayed and sang a hymn together. That night the Welsh awakening began and great amounts of people began coming to Evan Roberts hometown to the outpouring of God’s Spirit
  • The Awakening topped the headlines in all of the Newspapers
  • People were coming from all over Wales seeking God
  • Meetings would last until 4 am and even then people didn’t  want to leave because they had been apprehended by the Spirit of God
  • Everywhere in Welsh society, God was the focal point in people’s lives
  • Stores and shops were shutting down early so they could get to the awakening
  • Every store was emptied of goods by people coming to the town and every church was overflowing with people coming to seek God
  • The very day the breakthrough occurred in Evan Roberts’s south Wales’s hometown, the very same thing occurred in a church in North Wales town of Hrhos; R.B. Jones was leading a meeting in a church when in the middle of his preaching simultaneous prayer broke out, drowning him out as people started crying out for God’s mercy.
  • The volume of people crying out for God was so loud the preaching had to stop and became a prayer meeting…
  • At this point the awakening broke out all over Wales!!!
  • Just like it says in Acts and Joel, when revival comes the Spirit is poured out on all flesh, everywhere!
  • There was no one leader of this awakening; the Holy Spirit used all kinds of different people, everywhere. All of the churches were packed to overflowing
  • Churches were holding meetings from 6 am to Midnight, in order to let all people seek God…
  • Many meetings had no preaching but mighty moves of the Spirit of God
  • This occurred all throughout Wales society and is documented
  • People were crying out asking who could tell them how they could be saved
  • There weren’t enough ministers to keep up with all of the people needing saved and other ministry
  • Social effects were astounding
  • Taverns all over Wales were going bankrupt because no one was going there anymore
  • Many churches bought the Taverns and used them for their youth
  • On New Year’s eve, there were no arrest of Drunkenness
  • District councils met to discuss what to do with the police force as they were not needed anymore
  • In courts those who had been convicted of a crime were breaking down and repenting of their sins. Many were led to the Lord by the presiding Judge and the jury would break out in Hymns.
  • Many judges had no court to hold because the crime rate went to zero
  • In coal mines, horse’s couldn’t follow instructions because the language had been so cleaned up that they didn’t understand what the coal miners were saying to them.. this is documented
  • This stuff was in all of the newspapers
  • The Welsh revival swept all of England, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Russia and the United States of America.
  • In Norway there were so many people being saved that the Legislation of the government passed a bill to let the “laymen” administer communion because the ministers couldn’t keep up


The Great Awakening of 1905

  • In 1905 Revival spread throughout the entire United States.
  • Churches all over America heard what was going on in Wales and began to pray for an outpouring here
  • Also business men started gathering by the thousands to pray for an outpouring of the Spirit of God
  • Broke out in Wilksberry Pennsylvania where many members of a church were related to people in Wales and were getting letter Bs from their relatives telling them about the awakening in Wales
  • Men by the hundreds began get saved and baptized
  • This spread to Scranton and Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Newcastle, New York, New England, Chicago, Houston, Denver, where thousands were being saved.
  • There were so many people getting saved that some towns newspapers started a special column giving the daily numbers
  •  In Atlantic City a town of 60,000, they record that everyone in the town except 50 people were saved
  • The awakening then spread through the south and The Midwest
  • On January 20th, the mayor of Denver called for a day of Prayer and every place in Denver was shut down. By 10 am every church was filled to overflowing and by 12pm every theater was the same. The state legislature declared there had never been another day like it
  • In Portland, , 240 department stores all agreed to close down every day from 11am to 2pm so people could seek God. The same thing occurred in Seattle. This began to take place all over America
  • In Los Angeles thousands were attending meetings and this was occurring throughout California
  • This also moved up into Canada and thousands were turned away from churches
  • Millions were converted to Christ in America
  • This awakening was spread throughout the entire world, China, India, Korea
  • There were many reports of the Holy Spirit coming with thunder and a rushing wind sound
  • From the Azusa street awakening, Pentecostal awakening went all over the world
  • This led to the healing ministries, restoration of the gifts of the Spirit, the fivefold ministry offices, the charismatic movement
  • This was not evangelist doing this, it was all led by the Holy Spirit and leaders rose up in the different parts of America

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