Revival and healings

During A.A. Allen’s healing revival in Birmingham, Alabama, a mother from Knoxville brought her son for prayer. David was almost three years old and had been called “the most underdeveloped boy ever born in Tennessee.” He was paralyzed on his right side, blind in one eye, deaf, and mute. He couldn’t even crawl because his limbs were like twisted sticks and his feet were deformed. All total, he had twenty-six major diseases or defects in his body. His mother had been told by one doctor “only God can help your boy now.”

David’s mother took that statement literally. When she heard that Allen would be holding meetings in Birmingham, she knew she had to get there. As a single mother in 1959 with a special-needs child, this was no small task. Although it cost her all she had, she drove the 250 miles alone with her boy to get him to the revival. The Great Physician did not disappoint.

What happened at that meeting in Birmingham is called the “greatest miracle of A.A. Allen’s ministry.” As Allen held the boy in his arms and wept over him, suddenly two bright blue pupils appeared where once there was only the milky-grey of blindness. The boy’s limbs began to morph like putty into the correct shape. His tongue, which had hung out of his mouth limply before, snapped inside his mouth, and he began to call out his first words “Mama! Mama!” And when he caught sight of her, he took his first steps to go embrace his mother. He was completely healed!

However, the Lord did not end there. God wasn’t going to leave anything unfinished. The tent was full of people with significant needs. Spontaneously, with no one praying for them, every person in a wheelchair stood up altogether, totally healed. Every person in a stretcher got up the same way. People began running to the front so they could throw their hearing aids on the altar. Then came the glasses. Then came the walking sticks for the blind. Every single person was healed as the glory of God rested under that tent that night.

(From Holy Spirit TV)

1902 Melbourne revival

Melbourne Town Hall meeting

In 1898, a petition with over 15,000 signatures was sent to invite American evangelist D. L. Moody to come to Australia. But D. L. Moody was promoted to glory in 1899. Rueben A Torrey was sent in his place.

When R A Torrey arrived in 1902, 40,000 people were eagerly awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The meetings were held in the Melbourne Town Hall and several theatres. At the same time, there were 50 mission centres with 50 local evangelists preaching in halls and 30 large tents. The meetings were packed. Eventually the numbers grew so big they had to move from the Town Hall to the Exhibition Hall. Weekly attendance across the city reached 250,000 . At that time, Melbourne had just 1.2 million people.

Nearly 9000 people became Christians. Whole families were brought to Christ. Many lives were completely changed. The police for sometime after in some areas had very little work to do. “The Big Revival has begun, glory be to God,” became how Christians greeted one another.

How did the revival begin?

Rewind to 1889, minister John McNeil of Scottish descent started a prayer meeting with four other ministers in Studley Park, for two hours each Saturday afternoon. The Band, as they were called, expanded to include ministers of other denominations. They began to pray for what they called “the big revival”. From then on the phrase “the big revival” was often on their lips and the longing for it deep in their hearts. They determined to pray for it no matter how long it took, sometimes spending whole nights in prayer.

By Oct the same year, John invited every Victorian minister to a day of prayer. 700 came. Then a convention was held in Geelong the following year – the forerunner of the current Belgrave Heights conventions.

John died before he saw the great revival. At the age of 41, he collapsed out of exhaustion. But God was faithful to complete what He started. John’s death fueled continued prayer for revival. And in 1898 the Australasian Evangelization Society sent the invitation to D. L. Moody.

This invite was prayed about in the Moody Bible Institute. The president of the Institute, R A Torrey was deeply moved by the call to Australia. In 1902 he arrived in Melbourne, heralding probably the greatest evangelistic campaign in Australia’s history prior to the 1959 Billy Graham Crusades.