A touch of the fire of God from Welsh revival
Norwich Methodist minister Rev Nigel Fox has been on a three-year journey of faith leading from a Hebrew blessing through fire to revival. Here he continues the second part of a trilogy of articles describing his experience.
After my sabbatical experiences, I was so eager to get back to Ffald-y-Brenin in 2014. Unfortunately, no vacancies were available when I had holiday booked. But, through a mutual friend, and an unexpected opportunity to hear the Warden speak at a day conference, I met Ian, the gardener at Ff-y-B. He graciously offered me the opportunity to kip in the spare room of his flat, nearby. This was not a moment to wait for divine guidance – yes, please!
Travelling through a Sunday night, I arrived with food provisions in time for Monday breakfast and another great week of quiet prayer, terrific fellowship …and eager to seek the presence of God.
On that first day, still tired from the journey, my prayer-time was filled with a calling for the fire of God. All I can say is that I had a clear inner perception of approaching fire. At least that’s what it seemed like… rolling, plasma-like, onwards with gentle fluidity. But this fire wasn’t flames of incandescent yellow. That ‘picture’ stuck with me.
It didn’t seem to matter that I had to withdraw to Ian’s flat each evening and therefore miss the fourth and final session of the day. Each day was filled with various meaningful conversations, all very encouraging and inspiring.
I also took time to read up on the great revival and its origins – not with May 1738 and the Wesleys (even though it’s often called the Wesleyan Revival), but with one Howell Harris in 1735. The symbol of that revival was coal, and he became known as “the burning evangelist”, and heat, or a warming/burning, was often experienced. It’s sometimes been like that at Wroxham Road Methodist Church, I thought, with various people experiencing heat.
It didn’t take long for staff to realise that I’d learned the Priest’s Blessing in Hebrew, and for them to ask me to pray over a visiting couple. So, I quietly used the traditional preparatory prayer – of thanks for a calling into holiness and a command to bless – and then the Aaronic Blessing. Then the Lord blessed that couple and the staff member, too! The chapel atmosphere was heavy with the presence of God.
On the Thursday, I was able to speak at length with a ‘visiting member of staff’, sharing what had been experienced in my local church in recent years and in my life since 2013. Bryn and his wife, Sylvia, leaders from a church in Canada, seemed enthralled to hear my experiences, which were so very similar to their own.
On Friday, when hearts were thinking of homeward journeys, Bryn came to me and said that he and his wife had been praying through the night, and had something to give me. My heart leapt and sank at the same time. “It’s not black, is it?,” I asked – for I knew he was about to give me a piece of coal: Welsh anthracite, the very symbol of the revival, to bring back to this land.
So, at the end of June 2014, the symbol of revival was brought east, to this side of the Severn. In all honesty, I was stunned as to why I should have been given this symbol of revival, a sign of the fire of God to come... What was it for? What should I to do with it?
[…to be continued]
Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Click here to read the first part of Nigel's trilogy
Click here to read the final part of Nigel’s trilogy
Pictured above is a piece of coal given to Nigel.
Rev Nigel Fox continues to serve at Wroxham Road (Sprowston), White Woman Lane, and Bowthorpe Road (Chinese) Methodist churches, until retirement in 2017.
The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Norwich and Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive debate between website users.