Wayne Atcheson was “raised on evangelism and revival,” having grown up as the son of a street preacher, tent revivalist, radio preacher and pastor in Maplesville, Alabama. He has since studied and taught revival history, including student-led revivals at Asbury College (now University), a Christian liberal arts school in Wilmore, Kentucky.
In his book, “The Asbury Revival,” Atcheson chronicles a 1970 campus awakening that began when a one-hour chapel service unexpectedly evolved into a week-long event.
“Of all college revivals that I have studied and known about, this may have been the greatest student-led campus revival in American history,” Atcheson writes.
He relied on the words of participants to tell the story, with some of the reflections dating back to shortly after the revival and other memories recounted during a 50th anniversary observance.
Led to pray for revival
One of the key participants of whom Atcheson writes, Jeannine Brabon, explained how she felt led to pray for revival soon after she arrived as a freshman in 1967: “Quietly, I began to intercede, passionate for God to come.”
Atcheson notes she was attending chapel on Feb. 3, 1970, when the dean scheduled to speak chose to deliver a personal testimony and opened the floor for anyone to respond.
As students began to share and come to the altar to pray, the dean chose to cancel class instead of concluding the service. Brabon’s observation: “This visitation of His presence would continue in a powerful way 24 hours a day for the next seven days. We didn’t have class for a week.”