Category Archives: History Children and Revival

History of Children in Revival – John Wesley

John Wesley and his brother Charles were the founders of Methodism and preached during the first Great Awakening. He is also credited for later influencing the holiness movement and the Pentecostal movement. John was born in England in 1703. On May 24, 1738, on his way to preach in America, he met a Moravian missionary on the ship and experianced his evangelical conversion. Of that experiance, he said he felt, “his “heart strangely warmed”.

John Wesley had a powerful ministry to children. Here are a few of the quotes from his journals.

April 11, 1756. (Dublin) I met about a hundred children, who are catechized (instructed) publicly twice a week. Thomas Walsh began this some months ago, and the fruit of it appears already. What a pity, that all our preachers in every place, have not the zeal and wisdom to follow his example.

July 30, 1758. (Cork) I began meeting with the children in the afternoon, though with little hopes of doing them good; but I had not spoken long on our natural state before many of them were in tears, and five or six so affected, that they could not refrain from crying aloud to God. When I began praying, their cries increased, so that me voice was soon lost. I have seen no such work among children for eighteen or nineteen years.

January 17, 1772. (Hertford) I found the poor children whom Mr. A kept at school were increased to about thirty boys and girls. I went in immediately to the girls. As soon as I began to speak, some of them burst into tears, and their emotion rose higher and higher. But it was kept within bounds until I began to pray.

A cry then arose, which spread from one to another, till almost all cried aloud for mercy, and would not be comforted. But how the scene was changed when I went to the boys! They seemed as dead as stones, and scarce appeared to mind anything that was said, nay, some of them could hardly refrain from laughter.

However, I spoke on, and set before them the terrors of the Lord. Presently one was cut to the heart, soon after another, and another. In ten minutes the far greater part of them were affected as the girls had been. Except at Kingswood, I have seen not such work of God upon children for above thirty years.

History of Children in Revival – George Whitefield

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.