Johnny Oxtoby was a member of the infant Primitive Methodist Movement in the 1820s. He had the sort of faith that moves mountains.
He was a prayer warrior. He spent hours on his knees each day, which prepared him for his amazing conquests. In 1823, he was commissioned to revive the mission to Filey, a fishing port on the coast of North East England.
He set out a few days later. Asked where he was going, he replied: ‘To Filey, where the Lord is going to revive his work.’ When he came in sight of the town he fell on his knees behind a hedge, and pleaded with God for hours for the success of his mission.
A miller passing by overheard the strange prayer: ‘You must not make a fool of me. I told them at Bridlington, “You were going to revive your work”, and You must do so or I shall never be able to show my face among them again, and then what will the people say about praying and believing?’
Eventually assurance came, and rising from his knees, he exclaimed: ‘It is done, Lord! It is done! Filey is taken! Filey us taken!’ Filey was indeed taken. A great revival began, which completely transformed the moral condition of the town, and laid the foundations of a powerful church in that locality for many decades to follow.
Today the Filey Fishermen’s Choir proudly continues the work started by John Oxtoby in 1823.
Abridged from The Romance of Primitive Methodism, by Joseph Ritson