“Hello I’m looking for a Donald John Smith. I don’t know if you can help me, but he’ll be quite elderly now and may not even still be alive, but I understand he lived here in Shader.”

“Do you mind me asking why you’d like to meet him?”

“It’s in connection with the revival, which took place on the Isle of Lewis.”

“In that case you’d better come in, Donald John Smith was my father.”

That was how I met Sandra Smith. I came away with a very clear sense the Lord had been ahead of me all along. He is stirring his people to pray again.

I was on the Isle of Lewis. I’d described it as a ‘prayer retreat’ coupled with an opportunity to explore more about The Lewis Awakening 1949-52. I went to find out more, on the basis this was the most recent identifiable revival in the UK, although I’ve since discovered more about the North Uist Revival 1957-58. Why? Because in my heart I recognise we need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, across the church in the UK.

Can God work today, in such a way? My mind was saying an emphatic yes. However, my heart was filled with doubt it could, or would happen again. My conversation with Willie MacLeod addressed my doubts. I wish I could replicate his lovely Scottish accent when he quoted John 4:8 from the King James Version of the Bible:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Willie, now in his 97th year, was converted during the revival as was his now wife Margaret.  They spoke with great warmth about the Lord and we shared our present burden for our need as a nation. It was their obvious contentment in resting in God which got to me. The Holy Spirit, rather than erasing my questions and doubts, deepened my conviction and confidence in the Lord. That includes the recognition that whilst I am not able to predict when or even how God will act, I am confident he remains God and he will act according to his nature.

I shall pursue my praying – asking God to rescue us from the impact of our present cultural environment, asking God to renew his Church and asking God to pour out his Spirit on our land.

There is no doubt either in my mind, or heart, the Lord is stirring people here and there to intentionally pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Sandra Smith shared with me a vision she had received in 2004: of many lights, beginning again from Lewis, but coming on across the UK. These we identified as different groups of people praying and as they do so they came on fire. What it will look like, or when it might begin are questions I don’t have answers to, but we shall continue with Opening our Doors to God until we do.

Join Opening our Doors to God Zoom Meeting on Monday 4th July 8am – 9am


Meeting ID: 613 151 3005
Passcode: RENEWAL

Opening our doors to God

Pray for the spiritual renewal of the church & the spiritual revival of Christianity across our nation.

We are calling all our Baptist churches and leaders to join us in prayer towards these ends.

Our God is a God of Hope. With a global climate crisis, a global pandemic and the threat of a global war we are renewing our faith and trust in God revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Our God is a God of Grace. With the on-going decline of the church, across the UK, we recognise our need of a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church.

Our God is a God of mercy. With the growing impact of ignoring the reality of the Triune God, on the spiritual and moral climate of our nation, we recognise our need of God and our dependence on Him.


Nigel Coles

Nigel is Regional Team Leader of the West of England Baptist Network. He facilitates the life of the webnet team and oversees the missional strategy for the region. He also works to develop missional strategy over a wider geographical area with our partner Associations and Baptists Together. Nigel believes that when Jesus sent out seventy-two others, he meant everyone who was there, and this passion to help everyone find their way in the mission of God is what inspired the development of Seventy-two.