Rees Howells – Intercessor
by Norman Grubb
CLC Publications 1952
Many people long for intimacy with God, but are we prepared to pay the price?
Someone who did was Welsh evangelist, Rees Howells. His friend, Norman Grubb, in his book Rees Howells Intercessor, gives a unique insight into the inner life of a mighty intercessor. Howells was a man with sensitivity to the voice and heart of God, who was hugely influential in his immediate and wider worlds.
Howells was born on October 10, 1879 in the mining village of Brynamman, South Wales, the sixth child in a family of eleven. Rees father worked in the iron works and later the coal mine and many in the family worked in the mines, including Rees.
The book details his early life and shows an upright young man who was very religious, but in his early twenties he realised that he too needed to be saved.
Howells tells the story of his conversion. “I saw the cross. It seemed as if I spent ages at the Saviour’s feet, and I wept and wept. … I felt as if He had died just for me. He broke me, and everything in me went right out to Him. … That night I received the gift of eternal life, that gift which money cannot buy. … I changed altogether ... The veil was taken back, my eyes were opened and I saw Him.”
The Lord dealt with many things in Howell’s life, among them his self-nature, love of money, ambition, reputation, nature, motives. Later he learnt much about prayer for healing and saw some remarkable results. He also learnt that God didn’t heal every time; he needed to seek God’s face in each individual case.
Howells had a special friendship with Elizabeth Hannah Jones but felt he should not marry as that would interfere with his relationship with God. It was not until he was in his thirties that he felt God gave the go ahead for their marriage. In the meantime, Elizabeth patiently waited for him, and supported him wholeheartedly in whatever the Lord asked him to do.
Howells was instrumental in the Welsh Revival in 1904 when there was a great move of God in holiness and revival. Soon after their marriage Howells and his wife were called to mission work in Africa. They were there for six years, sacrificially leaving their only son, Samuel, behind being fostered by relatives, so they were wholly available to the Lord. Revival broke out in Africa also and many were brought into the Kingdom.
After returning to Wales the Lord led them back to the south of Wales where Howells bought property and established a Bible College and other works. Through all of these the Lord led him very definitely to trust Him for provision of finance, personnel, students and the future. Later Howells had remarkable experiences interceding in world affairs as the Second World War loomed.
A key verse for Howells was John 15:7 “If ye abide in Me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.”
The sacrifices demanded in the life of intercession seemed hard, but the rewards were great. From his place of abiding and knowing God, Howells was instrumental in bringing many souls into the Kingdom.
Howells died on February 13, 1950, a faithful servant at rest. His son, Samuel, took over the leadership of the College, a man uniquely fitted by his life experiences to fill his father’s shoes.