In the opening decade of the twentieth century an astounding international revival began in Wales and spread to America, Scandinavia, India, Korea and China. In September, 1906, a group of Korean missionaries meeting in Seoul heard stirring accounts of mighty revivals that had recently taken place in Wales and India. More than twenty Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries returned to Pyongyang, Korea’s capital at the time, and began praying together at noon each day that God would pour out similar revival blessing on their city and country.
After about a month, one of the missionaries suggested they stop their daily prayer meetings since a lot of time had been invested in them and nothing unusual had happened as a result. But the majority of missionaries decided to continue meeting daily for prayer. They actually switched the time to four in the afternoon so they could feel free to pray even longer, till supper time, if they desired. One of the results of those prayer meetings was that the missionaries stopped thinking of themselves as Methodists and Presbyterians, and realized that they were all one in Christ.
Following three more months of prayer, the Pyongyang churches began 1907, as they did each new year, with a week of daily prayer services. But when they came to the final Sunday evening service, after eight consecutive days of special prayer services, there had been no exceptional blessing received from the Lord. They wondered if God was going to withhold the reviving influence of His Spirit that they had so diligently sought.
About 1,500 people gathered in the Central Presbyterian Church for that final prayer service. As the meeting progressed, all were astonished when the leading Elder of the church suddenly stood up and publicly confessed: “I am an Achan. God can’t bless because of me. About a year ago a friend of mine, when dying, called me to his house and said, ‘Elder, I am about to pass away. I want you to manage my affairs; my wife is unable.’ I said, ‘Rest your heart; I will do it.’
“I did manage that widow’s estate,” the elder continued, “but I managed to put 100 dollars of her money into my own pocket. I have hindered God. I am going to give the 100 dollars back to that widow tomorrow morning.”
Instantly the hindering barrier to the Lord’s blessing was removed, and conviction of sin swept across the audience. The church service, which had begun at 7 p.m., continued till 2 a.m. Throughout that time dozens of people at once were standing, weeping, as they awaited their turn to confess their transgressions.
In the days that followed, special daily services continued for prayer and confession. Many serious secret sins were publicly confessed and promptly forsaken. When possible, Christians made restitution to those they had wronged. As news of these dramatic developments spread, many curious people crowded into the ongoing church services. Some came to mock but fell under conviction themselves and were converted.
In less than two months some 2,000 individuals came to faith in Christ in Pyongyang. One of the Pyongyang missionaries commented: “It paid well to have spent the several months in prayer. For when God the Holy Spirit came, He accomplished more in half a day than all of us missionaries could have accomplished in half a year.” From 1906 to 1910 80,000 converts were added to the Church throughout Korea.
Inspiring summaries of the Korean revival are found in Jonathan Goforth’s booklet When the Spirit’s Fire Swept Korea and in chapter 5 of Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge’s book A God-Sized Vision, Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. If we twenty-first century Christians were to desire and seek true Heaven-sent revival with the earnestness of the early-twentieth-century Korean Christians, God might very well bring dramatic spiritual Awakening to our churches, communities and even entire countries.
Copyright 2015 by Vance E. Christie