April 18, 1906 -  Revival on Azusa Street - The San Francisco Earthquake 

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster 

At 5:12am on April 18, 1906, less than two years after the Welsh Revival began, credited to Evan Roberts, the whole of California felt the impact of the San Francisco Earthquake, which killed 700, leveling much of the city of San Francisco.  

Shock waves from the quake lasted from between 45 to 60 seconds, followed by a fire caused by ruptured gas lines which engulfed buildings with hellish heat.  

Felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles and inland as far as 70 kilometers into central Nevada, the earthquake brought destruction of monumental proportions, leaving survivors shaken and consigned to subsisting on food supplied through common soup kitchens and living in tiny, temporary structures built in rows for months.  

It was the most destructive earthquake in North American history.  

Along with the tectonic shock waves came fear the event was a judgment and a warning from the God, which bore fruit to the south, on Azusa Street, which runs through Los Angeles.

A massive spiritual revival, which had been simmering, found entry into the lives of people, in the wake of tragedy.  

Christians had been praying for revival of their faith since 1901. On Azusa Street, the call of the Holy Spirit began in the weeks after the Quake, giving birth to the Pentecostal Church. To those experiencing it God's heavenly portals had swung open, sending great power into their lives and the world. 

The movement, including speaking in tongues, spread widely.  

In parallel with the seeking of Evan Roberts, credited with the beginning of the Welsh Revival in 1904, the hunger moved through the city, profoundly changing lives.  

Roberts had asked God to bend him to His will. God had answered.  

Frank Bartleman, a holiness preacher living in Los Angeles, wrote Roberts in 1905, asking for special prayer. Roberts responded. Bartleman later wrote he received the gift of faith for the revival to come through Robert's letters.  

Bartleman published a statement in a small newsletter called the Way of Faith on November 16, 1905 which many later believed was prophetic. “Los Angeles seems to be the place and this the time, in the mind of God, for the restoration of the Church.” 

When it came, the Azusa Street Revival washed away the color line along with other differences which divided people from each other, refocusing faith, deepening discernment, and renewing the love of God, and each other.