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Asbury College – Another Kentucky RevivalJuly 11, 2022
On February 3, 1970, students and faculty members had shown up at the Asbury College’s chapel, Hughes auditorium, for what they assumed would be one more routine worship service. The college is located in Wilmore, Ky. about 16 miles south of Lexington. It is an interdenominational Christian college whose roots are in the Wesleyan tradition of the Methodist church.
On that Tuesday morning, Custer Reynolds, Asbury’s academic dean led the service but did not preach. Instead, he briefly gave his testimony, then issued an invitation for students to talk about their own Christian experiences. There was nothing particularly unusual about that. One student responded to his offer. Then another. Then another. “Then they started pouring to the altar,” Reynolds said. “it just broke.”
Gradually, inexplicably, students and faculty members alike found themselves quietly praying, weeping, singing. They sought out others to whom they had done wrong deeds and asked for forgiveness. The chapel service went on and on.
Junior, Marilyn Blackburn said, “There was just a different feeling about that day. People didn’t want to leave. They were afraid they would miss something wonderful.” And people stayed, left, and came back. News of the revival spread in newspapers and on television. Strangers flocked to Wilmore to worship with the students. Asbury officials dismissed classes. By Thursday, a revival had broken out at the seminary, across the street from the college.
Leaders of other institutions read of the service in publications as far-flung as The Indianapolis Star, the Chicago Tribune, the Seattle Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and heard of it by word of mouth. They invited Asbury students and faculty members to come and tell what was happening. One of those who went out to speak was Marilyn Blackburn, which surprised her because she had always thought she was shy about her beliefs.
Wherever the Asburyians traveled, revival followed. By the summer of 1970, the revival had reached more than 130 other colleges, seminaries and Bible schools, and scores of churches, according to published accounts. It spread from New York to California, and even to South America.
When several Asbury students gave their testimonies at the Meridian Street Church of God in Anderson, Indiana, for instance, the church experienced a spontaneous revival that lasted 50 consecutive nights. According to old clippings from Indiana newspapers, the Anderson church soon became so packed that the services had to be moved to a school gymnasium. Up to 2,500 people a night flocked to the gym in hopes of being touched by God. (Material taken from an article printed for the Lexington Herald-Leader. The full article can be found https://www.hughsnews.com/newsletter-posts/asbury-revival-19701260778.)
For three weeks I have shared about great revivals in our country. There have been many more through the centuries. I have watched numerous videos on this revival which are worth watching on YouTube. I have studied revivals for 25 years and I have found that there is one thing that is a part of every revival – PRAYER! Before, during, and after. It is the after prayer that determines how long a revival lasts. I could not find any information on any organized prayer to keep the Asbury revival strong. It had a powerful effect on the individuals who experienced it, but had a limited effect on our country compared to other revivals that I have highlighted in the past two weeks.
I expect to see a great revival in our near future. I think God is waiting for us as Americans to come to a point where we realize trying to build our nation without Him has been as foolhardy as all the times in the book of Judges when the Hebrews tried to keep their nation strong without God (see Judges 6 for one good example). Their nation always collapsed into weakness and economic collapse. So will our country. Then we will do what we have always done in times of national crisis and realize how foolish we have been, and as a nation get on our knees and cry out for God’s help. I trust that another Great Awakening will be sent through the power of Holy Spirit to rescue our nation again.
If this economic and cultural downturn gets really bad what will you do? Not if, but when revival comes what will you do? Will you join me and fall on your knees and pray with all humility that Holy Spirit will revive our nation and help us rebuild? Will you be a part of the prayer warriors who sustain the power of that revival for many years, even decades to come? The time for decision may be near, very near for us all. (To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, www.lagrangepres.org).