The First Great Awakening of 1727
The First Great Awakening also known as “The Great Awakening” or The Evangelical Revival” was certainly not the greatest revival when measuring by numbers or geographical coverage, nevertheless, it certainly deserves the title because it was the first discernible occurrence that God’s Spirit flowed out concurrently across different nations.
Historically, the commencement of this awakening can be traced to the Moravian community known as “Herrnhut” (the Lord’s Watch), where they experienced a visitation from God after a period of prayer, reconciliation and repentance in 1727. Nikolas Count Ludwig Von Zinzendorf, a German, was the leader of the movement that began a 24 hour-a-day prayer meeting, which lasted the next 100 years and saw 300 radical missionaries sent out. Revival then spread under the ministry of Jonathan Edwards in 1734.
The effects of the revival were phenomenal as about 150 new churches began within a 20-year period, and 30,000 were added to the church just between 1740 and 1742. Changes were also noticeable morally.
Meanwhile in Britain, a colossal movement of revival had begun and was anchored in with the ministries of George Whitefield and John Wesley, two young men. George Whitefield, for 34 years exercised a most amazing preaching ministry, with revival signs often following him. The peak of his ministry was at the renowned Cambuslang Awakening in 1742, where over 30,000 people gathered to hear him preach, followed by mass weeping and repentance for close to two hours.
Whitefield’s ministry saw him preach in almost every town of England, Scotland and Wales, covering over 5,000 miles in America in just one year, crossing the Atlantic seven times and winning countless souls. He publicly preached an estimated 18,000 power-packed messages to every class of people.
In this same Great Awakening season was John Wesley, known as one of the leaders of the 18th century evangelical revival. He preached whenever the chance presented itself. Wesley was an itinerant preacher for 65 years who journeyed on horseback over an estimated 250,000 miles where he preached 40,000 sermons! He wrote an estimated 233 books, which includes his extensive journals and a comprehensive commentary on the whole bible. He raised 750 preachers in England, 350 in America; 57,621 in America and 76,968 Methodists in England. With Charles, his brother, he penned 9,000 hymns. Wesley’s influence has far outrun his long life. His ways and theology has influenced Holiness, Revivalist, Charismatic and Pentecostal sects to the present day.
Undeniably, this Awakening was certainly ‘Great’ and had a remarkable effect on the majority of nations where Evangelical Christians could be found. It affected the present church, saw thousands converted and shaped social circumstances. In our time, we can see even a greater awakening if we would begin to cry unto God for a revival in our city, nation and the world at large.