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Margaret Edwards - Loughor, Wales

 

Joe Westbury

Margaret Edwards stands in the balcony at Moriah Chapel where the first revival services were held. While the church had a membership of about 350 at the beginning of the revival, the sanctuary was never large enough to accommodate the crowds. News accounts reported that up to 300 people would gather outside in the streets for a chance to hear the gospel proclaimed at Moriah as well as at dozens of other churches throughout the country.

I remember my mother telling me that she remembered that prayer was a very prominent feature of those meetings. She mentioned that whenever someone became so overwhelmed and could not continue their prayer someone nearby would break out in song and others would join. That's why it was known by many as a singing revival; singing hymns was a strong part of the heritage of the meetings, and that singing carried over to other areas of life. It was not unusual to hear four or five coal miners singing hymns as they walked down the street at the end of the day.

Another thing I remember her telling me is that the services were rarely organized and few were actually scheduled meetings. There was not always a sermon, or even a minister present. People would just sense a need to gather at the churches where they would begin to praise God in personal testimony, sharing how He had blessed them that day or during the week. The Holy Spirit seemed to take control of these gatherings and they would continue for hours, sometimes until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning.

When sermons were presented, they would be very personal. Evan Roberts, the revivalist, would not preach from the pulpit but would walk among those gathered and look them in the eyes. That was a very different approach from the formal style of worship of the day.

It was during some of those meetings that my mother learned to memorize Bible verses that she later taught to me.

I remember my mother taking me, as a young child, to the Monday evening prayer meetings at Moriah where I heard the men whose lives had been changed by the Holy Spirit. They would give thanks to God for remembering the "dust of the earth" as they referred to themselves. I watched as these men, 40 years after the revival, got down on their knees before God and began praying with a passion that I could not understand.

We still hold a Monday prayer meeting in that same room - in the room where Evan Roberts and his friends prayed on Oct. 31, 1904 - and we pray for the Holy Spirit to revisit Wales with that same refining fire.

 

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