Peterhead, Scotland, may seem like an unlikely place for revival to break out. The coastal city in the northeast corner of the mainland isn’t as well known as its bustling neighbor Aberdeen or its distant cousin Edinburgh.
But Peterhead and the surrounding region appear to have the most essential ingredients for an awakening—a passion for God and a history of heartfelt prayer.
“People around here have really been praying for revival and have been praying, some for many generations, that the revival would sweep the land,” said Rev. Jeff Tippner, a minister in the village of St. Fergus, just a few miles up the coast from Peterhead.
Tippner is from the United States but has called Scotland home since 2003. He’s serving as the prayer coordinator for the North East Scotland Celebration of Hope with Will Graham on October 5-9.
During the Celebration, which has been in the works for a couple of years, Will Graham—Billy Graham’s grandson and an associate evangelist with Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)—will preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while music artists, including New Scottish Hymns Band and LZ7, reinforce the message of hope.
The free event is taking place at Peterhead Academy, with live link locations in the cities of Banff, Fraserburgh and Elgin.
“People have been praying for something like this for six or seven years,” Tippner said. “It’s brought a significant number of churches together, not only in Peterhead but in the other major towns in the North East. Churches are working together where before there had been divisions.”
One prayer some of the local Christians have adopted is a 400-year-old plea said to have been uttered by John Knox.
“What Martin Luther was for Germany, John Knox was for Scotland,” Tippner said. “He lived in the 16th century, and much of modern Scotland is really the fruit of his labors.
“He had a passion for Scotland. He led the Scottish Reformation, and his heartfelt cry was, ‘Give me Scotland, or I die.’”
Those words were first spoken during a tumultuous time for Scotland. Knox was continually fighting spiritual and ideological battles, famously standing up to Mary, Queen of Scots.
Centuries later, the Scots are going through another turbulent period. This summer when the word “Brexit” became a household name, the majority of Scottish people voted to stay in the European Union, but they were overpowered by votes from England and Wales. The result has left Scotland in a state of uncertainty, as the movement to leave the United Kingdom gains momentum.
Hans Mannegren, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s director of European affairs, has watched the Brexit story unfold. While he doesn’t like to see any country struggling, he knows political instability often has a way of showing people the truth that they are not in control.
“Sometimes it’s good for people to see in the physical and the structural that things are unsettled, because it helps them to realize that maybe life isn’t as straightforward and simple as it looks,” Mannegren said.
As he has traveled throughout Scotland, helping to equip churches ahead of the Celebration, he’s seen the passion of Scottish believers who long to see their countrymen come to know Jesus Christ and the peace only He can offer in uncertain times.
“These people are serious about their faith,” Mannegren said. “There’s a longing to see a spiritual awakening and a revival within their churches, and a spiritual awakening in North East Scotland and Scotland in general.
“They have so much revival history. So many times has the Lord broken through and given them a spiritual awakening that was unprecedented at that time. They know what they’re praying for.”
When Billy Graham preached in Scotland in 1955, more than 2.5 million people heard the Gospel from coast to coast, resulting in 50,000 recorded decisions for Christ, some of which have had ripple effects through the generations.
Back then, Billy Graham said, “I believe, as John Knox believed, in a sovereign God who still performs miracles.”
Indeed, God is still drawing people from all walks of life into a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. And that is what the believers in North East Scotland hope to see happen during the Celebration and for a long time to come.
“It’s really taking what John Knox said—Give me Scotland, or I die,” Tippner said.
“This is a very historically significant time in the church in Scotland, as well as for the North East, and we really long for God to move once again in Scotland.”
Will you pray for a great move of God in Scotland? “Like” the Celebration’s Facebook page for daily prayer requests leading up to the event.