On the morning of February 3rd, 1970, students at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, were scheduled to be in a fifty-minute chapel service in Hughes Auditorium. What appeared to be an ordinary chapel service was about to radically change with the testimony of a student who had been in trouble numerous times with the university.
This young man who a number of students had been praying for was converted to Christ earlier in the morning. When he stood to give his testimony, the manifest presence of God filled Hughes Auditorium and the fifty-minute service turned into 158 hours. Students’ lives were radically changed forever.
In December of 2016, I went to Asbury and spent some time in Hughes Auditorium. While there, I met a lady named Sue who was a student in 1970 and present that day. As we begin to talk, I asked her if she could tell me more. As she recalled the day, she immediately began to weep. Her encounter with the manifest presence of God was as fresh in her mind as it was the day it happened.
Sue recalled she had been sitting on the 7th row. When she saw the student stand up to testify, she was immediately concerned as she knew he was a troublemaker. She said when he began to testify to his salvation, the presence of God filled Hughes Auditorium. The president of the university at the time was Dr. Dennis Kinlaw and had just traveled to Canada. When Dr. Kinlaw arrived at his hotel, he had an urgent message to call the university.
During my trip to Asbury, I had the privilege to visit with Dr. Kinlaw. He stated he knew something was wrong and stepped into a phone booth to call Asbury. He said he was told there was a “problem” at Asbury as the chapel service had continued and classes were cancelled. The next day, Dr. Kinlaw stepped into the same phone booth and this time when the connection to Asbury was made, the presence of God filled the phone booth.
Dr. Kinlaw returned to Asbury in the middle of the night to find Hughes Auditorium full of students worshiping and testifying to what God was doing in them. Students were repenting of sin and committing their lives to Christ. Soon after the 158-hour service ended, students began to travel around the country in groups of two giving testimony to what God was doing at Asbury. Repeatedly, the manifest presence of God would follow the students and revival would breakout wherever they went. Eventually over 100 college campuses experienced revival through the student’s testimony.
The beginning of the Asbury revival can be traced to six students who in the winter of 1969 committed to read the Bible and pray for thirty minutes a day for thirty days. In addition, they committed to actively share the gospel with others. This brought them to the end of the school term. When school reconvened, they each agreed to get five others who would commit to pray, Bible reading and evangelism for another thirty days. It was near the end of their 2nd thirty-day commitment that revival broke out at Asbury.
There are always common threads of revival; Asbury was no different. In addition to prayer, repentance and seeking God, young people are often a catalyst for spiritual awakening. Will you join me in praying for revival? If so, please set your alarm to pray at either 7:14 am or 7:14 pm. Hundreds are already praying at 7:14.