In 1904, the leader of a great spiritual awakening in Wales was a young Welsh miner with coal dust in his hair and grime beneath his fingernails. He possessed no skills as an orator, nor was he widely read. The only book he knew was the Bible, and his heart burned with a passion for God and His holy Word.
For years, Evan Roberts yearned to preach the gospel. One day in 1904 while Roberts was in prayer, God revealed to him that He was going to send a revival to Wales.
Burning with this vision, Roberts sought opportunity to preach, but found none. He begged his pastor to let him preach, but at first the bewildered minister said no to this overly enthusiastic coal miner. Finally, after much pleading, the pastor relented.
"All right, Evan, you can preach following the Wednesday night service," he said, "if anyone chooses to stay and listen."
Seventeen curious seekers stayed behind. The young evangelist boldly proclaimed that he had heard from God. His message was simple: (1) You must confess every known sin to God; (2) you must remove every doubtful habit from your life; (3) you must obey the Holy Spirit's prompting; and (4) you must go public with your witness for Christ. Although Roberts was unskilled in preaching, the pastor and those 17 church members began to burn with a fiery touch from God.
The next night more came to hear the young preacher, and the fire quickly spread to other churches. In the next thirty days, 37,000 people came forward to repent of their sins and receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. Within five months, 100,000 were swept into Christ's kingdom across the country, and Roberts' vision was beginning to be fulfilled!
Just as God had shown him, Roberts saw the revival leap to England. There, an estimated 2 million people received Christ. Then the Holy Spirit coursed out into Western and Northern Europe. Then the Spirit of revival swept across the world to Africa, India, China, Korea and to America. Historians estimate that 20 million people came to Christ while this revival burned in America.