Our family was privileged to travel to the Outer Hebrides two weeks ago to the Island of Barra, with 1,200 inhabitants, beautiful beaches, and one shop. Never before have we stayed somewhere quite so remote – where a day could pass without seeing more than a handful of cars and where we had a close up view of various animals from the window of the house where we were staying. We loved watching the lambs snuggling up in the evening, burying their heads into their mother’s fleece for protection against the wind, or huddling back to back with a sibling in the lee of a rock.
Our equivalent care for Hannah meant bundling her up in a snowsuit and plastic rain cover over our hiking rucksack to simultaneously block out the wind while giving her a grandstand view of the landscape. She was happy.
These parental images of strong love and protectiveness remind us of God’s love as 1 John 3 v.1 says “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” How many people around us know that truth today? We thought about the 1949-1952 Hebridean revival which began on the Isle of Lewis, where people who had no previous interest in spiritual matters were so overwhelmed by an awareness of God’s presence in fields, in fishing boats and in churches that they would fall on their knees aware both of their need of repentance and of God’s love.
An account is told of two women in their eighties, one blind and one suffering with arthritis, who were faithfully praying in their cottage prior to this revival. They were praying Isaiah 44 v 3 believing they had been given this verse as a promise that God would “pour water on the thirsty land.” They invited their minister to gather elders to pray together twice a week. In prayer they saw a minister they did not recognise preaching in the church that was packed with young people.
Sharing this led to the Scottish minister Duncan Campbell being invited to come and preach. Revival began and continued for nearly three years. Our current sermon series focusses on prayer in the morning services and prophecy in the evening. The two fit together as illustrated in this account. Through faithful prayer these women heard from God, prayed His promise and saw change in their community. Will you pray for our community to know God and His great love?