The Republic of South Africa, found at the southernmost tip of Africa, was ruled as a colony by the Dutch and the English for hundreds of years starting in the 1600’s. Racism was widespread, and the government even passed laws to severely restrict black Africans from hearing the Gospel. The spiritual health of the country was in dire straits.
In 1847, God put it on the hearts of a remnant of believers in South Africa to begin to pray. They called for Christians to assemble together to seek the Lord, yet for many years the prayer meetings would be poorly attended. Too many in the local church were tragically comfortable with the world and could not get over their racial prejudices. But in 1857, the Spirit of God began a powerful movement of prayer and revival in America. That revival spread across the globe, and news of this stirred the hearts of the South Africans. Several pastors issued a new call to prayer in 1859. This call was published in a local newspaper, and churches even worked together to preach sermons on God’s character and moves of the Holy Spirit. Books were distributed that detailed the stories of revival in America and stressed the urgent need for prayer before and during a spiritual awakening. In April of 1860, a conference was held in Worcester, South Africa, with hundreds of pastors and other spiritual leaders in attendance. These leaders returned to their congregations with hearts fired up to pray for a fresh outpouring of revival.
The awakening began inconspicuously on a small farm owned by Mr. Naude situated in the region of the Worcester parish. Several men and women had committed to pray for revival diligently every week over the course of several months, even though very few Christians joined them initially. Then, one day, in the midst of prayer the Spirit of God powerfully showed up at that place. Those in attendance were driven to call upon the Lord and to repent of their sins as they sensed God’s presence. Many even fell to the ground, and almost everyone at the farm put their faith in Jesus. As news of this spread, people of all races and ages streamed to this farm, as people were moved by the Spirit to pray, to sing, and to cry out to God for salvation. The fires of revival had come to this place!
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