The Revival begins...
Los Angeles was ripe for revival in the spring of 1906! Christians throughout the city were praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The previous summer, a Holiness group hungered for a revival during their camp meeting. One of the speakers warned if they didn't "dig in" God was going to pass them by and "raise up a people who would."
F. B. Meyer, the English "Keswick" preacher had ministered in Los Angeles in 1905. He spoke to large crowds about revival. Meyer had just visited the revival in Wales and spoke warmly of the outpouring.
Frank Bartleman, a Holiness evangelist was literally filling the city with gospel literature. Bartleman, excited about the revival in Wales, was distributing a tract by G. Campbell Morgan and The Great Revival in Wales by S. B. Shaw. (Shaw's book is available on our ministry web site. Click the title.) Bartleman had also written Evan Roberts to get instructions on how to experience a move of God in Los Angeles. Roberts wrote back, "Congregate the people who are willing to make a total surrender. Pray and wait. Believe God's promises. Hold daily meetings. May God bless you is my earnest prayer."
Joseph Smale, pastor of First Baptist Church was not content to read about the Welsh revival, he traveled to Wales and met Evan Roberts. On his return, he started daily prayer meetings at First Baptist. For fifteen weeks, they conducted revival services under the theme "Pentecost has not yet come, but it is coming." Unfortunately, pressure from the official board led to the end of the meeting and the resignation of Smale. It did not put an end to the hunger.
Many others were crying out to God for revival, including Julia Hutchins, a black preacher. Hutchins had been a member of Los Angeles' Second Baptist Church. Because she was teaching sanctification as a second work of grace, the Baptist church dismissed her and eight other families. This little group met in various locations including a tent. Despite the hardships the fledgling congregation endured, they did not lose their hunger for revival. Several from the group met regularly for prayer and worship at the home of Richard and Ruth Asbery at 214 Bonnie Brae Street.
These faithful saints were asking God to send an evangelist to spark the flame in their church. When Neely Terry, one of the members visited Houston, Texas, she felt she met the "Man of God" they needed in Los Angeles. God answered their prayer when William Seymour made the long train trip to California. Now, click this line to continue the Azusa Street story by reading the William J. Seymour biography page.
To learn even more about Bishop Seymour and the Azusa Street revival read The Life and Ministry of William J. Seymour by Larry Martin, available at our ministry web site (Click the title for ordering information). With 350 pages and over 100 illustrations, this is the most comprehensive book ever written on the great outpouring.