(This is a long rambling post. Nothing new there!! Warning you of that so you can skip it if you are not in the mood for long rambling posts. It is about children and young people and revival, but is really just me chatting about these things. You have been warned! If you do read it may it bless you and even encourage you in your prayers.)
I recall reading reports from the newspapers of the day of a Revival in Orkney in 1861. It affected both of the islands I was minister of for five years, Eday and Stronsay in the year 1860’s. On Eday there was a prayer meeting composed entirely of children. On Stronsay there were such scenes that I could scarcely believe when I read about them. I think none of us can possibly imagine what Revival would look like if it should come to our churches and communities. On Stronsay back in the 1860’s move of God, a young girl who saw Jesus asked an older man who was in tears because he could not and did not know how to come to Jesus, “Oh Sir, can’t you see Him? Let me help you to Jesus.” Imagine such a thing being reported in a Newspaper today! Orkney farmers are wonderful, and I loved my time there, but I think even the current Christian farmers on Stronsay would agree it is almost beyond the power of imagination to think of young Stronsay farm labourers running around the Church building shouting out praise to the Lord, unable to contain the joy of their salvation, the joy of the Holy Spirit within them. By culture, they are sincere, but quiet about things to do with faith, but that is what their forebearers did when the Spirit of God fell.
I remember reading about all of this and thinking how unimaginable it was, difficult to believe it could happen in Orcadian Culture. At that point there was a knock at the manse door. It was old JIim Stockan of oatcake fame. He had come out to the island for the day and dropped in to see me – a truly lovely believer as was his wife, May. I treasure the memories I have of them and indeed of their son, James and his wife Carrie. They were all incredibly kind to me and my family both then and since my years living there. I told Jim what I had been reading, saying I found it hard to believe it had actually happened. He said, “Oh my, it happened alright!” I wish you could hear that sentence in his accent! He then told me that his mother had been a bairn sitting on his granny’s knee in a meeting in the days of the Revival, when his granny slid off her seat to the floor under the power of the Spirit when God came down, and his mother somehow managed to stay sitting on her lap! Even toddlers can recall what it is like when the Holy Spirit comes in Revival power and pass on the story of the mighty acts of God.
When I was minister there from 1984 – 1989 there was one quite unusual spell of blessing on Stronsay, though nothing comparable on Eday. I remember the night the Holy Spirit fell on the School during a Christian Endeavour Camp. Many teenagers sought the Lord, it was quite remarkable and not expected on the first night of a camp. I did not get home until about 2 or 2.30 in the morning as I was praying with some of the young people. The first I knew anything was happening after the meeting was over, was when a boy knocked on the door of the school kitchen. His question to me? “What must I do to be saved.” Unusual things happened for two or three weeks, though not in great measure numerically, and with no particular spread, but unusual all the same.
I believe the source of that blessing in the human sense was a prayer meeting made up of a few of the young folk of Stronsay who met in the Church Hall to pray. One of the young folk affected by what God did in answer to their prayers is going to the Conference this weekend. He left one of the meetings to chat up one of the island girls. However, God had other intentions. The power of the Spirit fell upon him. I will never forget his words. He said to me it was as though someone had hit the top of his head off with a great heavy wooden bat. Instead of chat up lines, he found himself pouring out words of witness to Jesus Christ! He is still standing for the Lord and serving him. It will be lovely to see him after all these years.
With those stories involving children and young people in mind, if you have a mind so to do, let me encourage you to continue to pray for the ongoing fruit from the Youth Conference last weekend in Stornoway and for any other gathering of young people the Lord may lay on your heart. Who knows what could happen if even just one or two of these young folk came into a surrender to Jesus and a desire to live and serve Him to the glory of God at a deeper level than they have walked in so far. Who knows how far the impact of such lives could reach, not only into their own generation, but into the generations of their elders and into generations yet unborn, or just toddlers at the moment, that they would grow up to praise and magnify the Lord.
Well done, persevering to the end of this post!