The circuit was in a bad state as a result of division and bad leadership, however Bramwell believed a revival was going to come.
A 'revival of religion' was his specific. If the piety of the distempered community could be recruited, its disorder would soon vanish, and the disputes might then settle themselves. To ensure this revival, therefore, became his great object; and the engine employed was, of course, prayer. He began himself, and pleaded in private with the utmost importunity. For some time no reply was vouchsafed; no symptoms of the expected 'rain' appeared. From day to day, he went up, like the messenger of Elijah, to the top of his spiritual Carmel, and looked towards the sea for the cloud which was to bring the blessing — but "there was nothing." Months rolled away — there was no token of a change. A year passed — a year which he described as one of 'hard labour and much grief;' and still there was no sound of coming rain. The horizon was yet as cloudless and unpromising as before! But he persisted in his supplications: a prophetic faith sustained and stimulated his pious exertions. He strove to enlist the people themselves in this holy struggle with heaven. Prayer-meetings were established in the morning, and at the early hour of five o'clock, many met to aid him in petitioning for the desired Pentecost. An able coadjutor also was found in a pious female then visiting the neighbourhood, Ann Cutler, of whom mention has already been made. Well did she vindicate her title to the appellation of "Praying Nanny." By four o'clock in the morning this enthusiastic creature would rise, and plead with all her energy on behalf of the parched and desolate circuit. In another apartment not far distant, the deep earnest tones of the young preacher's voice might at the same moment be heard in an 'agony' of intercession for the same blessing. Sleep there could be none for those who were within earshot of these clamorous suitors, when the spirit of supplication was strong. Was heaven proof against such incessant appeals! Not for ever! At length it seemed to answer and say— 'go again and look towards the sea.' The preacher went; and now saw in the horizon he had so often and so anxiously scanned for the first faint tracery of the cloud which was in God's time to discharge its fertilizing streams upon the thirsty land, a speck of promise, distant but decisive! 'As I was praying,' said he, ' I received an answer from God in a particular way, and had the revival discovered to me in its manner and effects.' In a moment his fears and anxieties were dissipated: the rain was at hand, and the skies would soon pour down righteousness! 'I had no more doubt. All my grief was gone; I could say, the Lord will come: I know he will come, and that suddenly.' — Exultingly he waited, as the heavens grew darker, and the cloud approached and expanded, for the earliest drops of the shower. 'Nothing appeared very particular,' said he, ' until under Nanny Cutler's prayer one person received a clean heart.' That was the beginning! — 'We were confident the Lord would do the same for others,' — the cloud was large and full of promise! — Next, at a prayer meeting two found peace with God : and, in that week two more received the same blessing.' The drops were now descending! — ' On the Sunday morning, we had a love-feast for the bands, when several were much concerned for sanctification. One young woman received the blessing. On the Monday evening the bands met. A remarkable spirit of prayer was given to the people: four persons received sanctification, and some were left in distress. Several who were the most prejudiced, were suddenly struck, and in agonies groaned for deliverance. On the Thursday, one who had, for a fortnight, been exceedingly pained for purity of heart, was delivered. The work continued almost in every meeting, and sixty persons in and about Dewsbury obtained sanctification, and walked in that liberty.' — They were now in the midst of the glorious rain!
A hundred souls were gathered to the society during this single quarter; and those already enrolled amongst its members partook largely of the blessing. The cloud spread itself over the whole circuit, and people flocked from the neighbouring districts to partake of its refreshing influences. They crowded to the love-feasts held in the favored locality: 'numbers there found pardon and some perfect love. They went home and declared what God had done for them.'
From 'Memoir of the life and ministry of William Bramwell' by William Bramwell and his family, published in 1848. P39-40.
"At a prayer meeting two found peace with God; and in that week two more received the same blessing. On the Sunday morning we had a love-feast for the bands, when several were much concerned for sanctification. One young woman received the blessing. On the Monday evening the bands met. A remarkable spirit of prayer was given to the people. Four persons received sanctification, and some were left in distress.
“Several who were the most prejudiced were suddenly struck, and in agonies groaned for deliverance. On the Thursday, one who had been exceedingly pained for purity of heart, for a fortnight, was delivered.
“The work continued almost in every meeting; and sixty persons in and about Dewsbury received sanctification, and walked in that liberty. Our love-feasts began to be crowded, and people from every neighboring circuit visited us. Great numbers found pardon, and some perfect love. They went home and declared what God had done for them.
"The more I consulted the Acts of the Apostles, and Church history, the more I was convinced that this was no new thing, either in its manner or effects; but that in every great work of God similar effects were produced. I consulted several of the senior brethren, who exhorted me to use every means to support the revival. Satan began to use his agents in different ways: some said one thing, and some another, but no man without the Spirit of God can properly judge of the matter.
The work then began to spread in almost every direction. In one quarter about one hundred new members were added to the society, and many believers were quickened, and excited to greater diligence and activity in the work of the Lord. Mr. Bramwell "rejoiced as one that had found great spoil." To see sinners awakened, penitents pardoned, and believers enjoying sanctification, — afforded him the most lively satisfaction. This great revival occurred during the second year of his stay in Dewsbury. The first he describes as "a year of hard labor and much grief."
From, ‘Memoir of the Life and Ministry of William Bramwell, by James Sigston, published in 1836, p66-7.