Many don’t know the history of revival. Of those who do, most don’t know that wherever there was revival, children were a major part. If we want revival in America, we need to start with children.
George Whitefield was an evangelist during the first Great Awakening in the 1700s before the American Revolution. Whitefield was bornin England in 1714, and at the age of 18, studied theology at Oxford University. He felt the call of God to become a missionary in America. While waiting to go to America, he started preaching powerfully in London. Many would come to hear his sermons. Because he was so young, he was dubbed the boy preacher.
What people don’t know is that children were greatly affected during his ministry. In a letter dated September, 1741, Whitefield wrote,
“On Monday morning, I visited the children in the three hospitals….
On Thursday evening, I preached to the children of the city with a congregation of near 20,000 in the park. It is remarkable that many children are under convictions, and everywhere great power and apparent success attend the word preached.”
According to this account, Whitefield had a children’s meeting with 20,000 kids. He didn’t need games or skits to keep their attention. the power of God mesmerized them. In April of 1742, an Edinburgh minister wrote:
“On June 3, Whitefield arrived for his second visit to a rapturous welcome, and the following morning, three of the little boys that were converted when I was last here, came to me and wept and begged me to pray for and with them. A minister tells me that scarce one is fallen back who was awakened, either among old or young.”
Whitefield finally did go to America when he was only 25 years old and sparked America’s Great Awakening during a preaching tour of 1739-40. When first arrived, he started an orphanage to care for children and taught children’s classes or messages on a regular basis. Everywhere he traveled, children were at his meetings having their lives transformed.