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When Heaven Came Down, A Study in Revival


When Heaven Came Down - The Hebrides Revival 


As we move back to the center of the Twentieth Century, we travel in heart to the beautiful, rustic and 

majestic outer isles off the coast of Scotland called the Hebrides.  On the Isle of Lewis it has been said 

that everyone on the island that was accountable and who was not saved received Christ in salvation 

during the Hebrides Revival.  It began in 1949 and continued in fervency until 1952.  One of the passages 

of Scripture that was claimed for the great move of God is Isaiah 64:1 and 2, "Oh that thou wouldest rend 

the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when 

the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, 

that the nations may tremble at thy presence!”   And this is exactly what happened in the revival - God 

came down!  The outstanding minister during these years was Duncan Campbell.  Yet, by his own 

admission the revival was there by the time he crossed the waters to the bonnie isle.  During a meeting in 

Lewis in 1949, Campbell describes: 'The lad rose to his feet and in his prayer made reference to the 

fourth chapter of Revelation, which he had been reading that morning: ‘O God, I seem to be gazing 

through the open door.  I see the Lamb in the midst of the Throne, with the keys of death and of hell at 

his girdle.’  He began to sob; then lifting his eyes toward heaven, cried: ‘O God, there is power there, let 

it loose!’ With the force of a hurricane the Spirit of God swept into the building and the floodgates of 

heaven opened.  The church resembled a battlefield.  On one side many were prostrated over seats 

weeping and singing; on the other side some were affected by throwing their arms in the rigid posture.  

God had come.” 


When we read of such events, mental images are invoked.  It may be in some of our minds the 

thought may come, "if this is what revival means, it looks like control is lost and I don't want any of that." 

Others may say, “well whatever it takes, let it happen."  Far too often, we tend to focus on the results or 

symptoms of localized spiritual events and judge the event by the personal outworking which interprets 

the spiritual move of God for individual recipients. I would like to for us to see the events of the Hebrides 

Revival and more importantly to look beyond the event and place emphasis on the cause rather than the 

effect.  The great Hebrides revival came when: 


1.  The ground had been saturated by prayer.  

Just as the farmer needs God to bless his seed with plenty of rain, so also do we need to saturate 

the ground of potential revival with honest, heart-felt, fervent prayer.  James put it like this: "The 

effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).  When we examine the phrase 

"effectual fervent" we see the Greek word is "energeo."  If you change the last two letters of the word you 

have our English word, "energy."  The point should be made that when we pray with true earnestness, 

God's powerful energy becomes available. 


As we study the beginnings of the Hebrides Revival, we see that it traces back to two little ladies, 

in poor health and housebound, but available to God for prayer.  The ladies of whom I speak were Peggy 

and Christine Smith. They were eighty-four and eighty-two years old. Hebrides history says: "Peggy was 

blind and her sister almost bent double with arthritis. Unable to attend public worship, their humble 

cottage became a sanctuary where they met with God. To them came the promise: ‘I will pour water upon 

him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground.’  They pleaded this day and night in prayer. One night 

Peggy had a revelation - revival was coming and the church of her fathers would be crowded again with 

young people!" 

Pastor James Murray MacKay responded to the sisters’ plea with a men's prayer meeting. A reluctant 

participant, Duncan Campbell came over to the island of Lewis, but after he had met in prayer with the 

ladies, he soon caught the fire and began to see the vision they had been given in prayer. Crowds began to 

gather all over the island of Lewis. I remind you that the praying done by the believers on Lewis was 

"effectual fervent" prayer.  This is exemplified again by an eyewitness account: "An evening was given to 

waiting upon God in the home of an elder.  


Around midnight, Duncan turned to the local blacksmith, "John, I feel the time has come for you 

to pray." With his cap in his hand, John rose to pray, and in the middle of his prayer he paused, raised his 

right hand to heaven, and said, "Oh God, You made a promise to pour water upon him that is thirsty and 

floods upon the dry ground, and, Lord, it's not happening." He paused again and then continued, "Lord, I 

don't know how the others here stand in Your presence; I don't know how the ministers stand, but, Lord, 

if I know anything about my own heart, I stand before Thee as an empty vessel, thirsting for Thee and for 

a manifestation of Thy power." He halted again and after a moment of tense silence cried, "Oh God, Your 

honor is at stake, and I now challenge You to fulfill your covenant engagement and do what you have 

promised to do.” Many who were present witnessed that at that moment the house shook. Dishes rattled 

in the sideboard, as wave after wave of Divine power swept through the building. A minister standing 

beside Duncan turned and said, "Mr. Campbell, an earth tremor!" But Duncan's thoughts, however, were 

in the fourth chapter of Acts, where the early Christians were gathered in prayer and, we read, "When 

they had prayed the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with 

the Holy Ghost.”  Before we accentuate the earth shaking, we need to be reminded that they were not 

seeking confirmation in an earthquake; they were seeking God.  The physical manifestation was simply 

God saying, "I am here."  May we, too, be seeking God more than gifts; His person, not the 

manifestation.  We need God! 


2.  Sin was dealt a death-blow.  

During the Hebrides revival, recently saved and rededicated young people boldly walked into a 

dance and the strong presence of the Lord was so felt that, without a plan of action, the youth stopped 

dancing, fell to the floor in prayer and a great many were born again right there on what had been a 

community-wide youth dance.  We read that people forsook drinking and other sinful habits.  It was 

amazing, even without specifically mentioning sinful activity - there was a cessation and desistance of 

any and all behavior that did not bring glory to God.  Again, going back to the historical record: “One 

night as they waited upon God a young deacon rose and read part of the twenty-fourth Psalm: "Who shall 

ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a 

pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the 

blessing from the Lord."  Turning to the others he said, ‘Brethren, it seems to me just so much humbug to 

be waiting and praying as we are, if we ourselves are not rightly related to God.’ Then lifting his hands 

toward heaven he cried, ‘Oh God, are my hands clean? Is my heart pure?’ He got no further, but fell 

prostrate to the floor. An awareness of God filled the barn and a stream of supernatural power was let 

lose in their lives. They had moved into a new sphere of God-realization, believing implicitly in the 

promise of revival."  When God is on the scene there is a Divine intolerance for sin.  Too often, in the day 

in which we live, we want God to come, but not to change our lives. The truth is that we cannot have God 

manifest Himself without sin being dealt with severely and surely. 


3.  God received the glory 

          In the early 1970's one of the most life-changing crossroads of my ministry caught me by surprise.  

I received an important lesson on the glimmering glory of God.  One afternoon I was listening on the 

radio to Dr. John Moore at Moody's Founder's Week.  Dr. Moore was pastor of the church in Kent, 

Scotland birthed by D.L. Moody when in Scotland during the revival of the 1800's.  Pastor Moore was 

very interested in the Hebrides revival, so he traveled to The Isle of Lewis to investigate.  All roads led to 

the prayer warriors, Peggy and Christine Smith, who at this time were now in their nineties.  In the 

conversation with them he explained that he had come to interview them and find out about the 

wonderful move of God in their midst. Before the sisters gave any information they wanted one thing 

clearly understood, how would he be reporting what they were about to tell him. They were emphatic, as 

they discussed how that the reporting of the 1949 through 1952 revival had given too much glory to man.  

They both agreed that the reason the revival waned was because of the way the revival was reported.  To 

use their words, "the glory had departed."  Peggy said to Pastor Moore, "If we don't give Him the glory, 

He may never come back to our island again!"  So here they were praying that revival would return to the 

island of Lewis in great power.  The Smith sisters were incredibly sensitive to the fact that God would 

share His glory with no man.  As we pray for revival in our own atmosphere here in Texas and The 

United States, may we receive the warning from our late sister and be willing to give God all the glory 

when He comes!  "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty 

man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that 

he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and 

righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 9:23,24). 



1 Comment

Bro.Pope, in the early 90's you were at Pine Bluff Baptist Church in Albany,Ga. preacing a meeting "Lord Teach Us To Pray!" We had you later at New Testament Baptist Church in Jesup,Ga. for the same type of meeting.I was a deacon at the time and now pastor a very small congregation in Woodbine,Ga. I have "bennyized" your origanal concept of praying for 1 hr a day and preached this message in many churches in the s.e.I've wanted to thank you for years but never seem to have the opportunity. The series L.T.U.T.Pray revived my spiritual life! It still does even today. Ultimate praise,honour and glory go to God!I also Thank You. Complete in Christ, Benny Waldron. Pastor-Gospel Light Baptist Church Woodbine Ga.

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