by Jerry McCullah
Around the time of the American Revolution, the nation as a whole was in serious moral decline. And the problem was also seen in the churches. The Methodists were the largest denomination, and they were losing more than they were gaining in membership. Second were the Baptists, and they said “they were having their most wintry season.” The Congregationalists had not brought in one young person in sixteen years.
John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the United States, wrote to the Bishop of Virginia, Bishop Madison, that “the Church is too far gone ever to be redeemed.” Voltaire said, “Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years time.”
Kenneth Scott Latourette, church historian said, “It seemed as if Christianity were about to be ushered out of the affairs of men.” It appeared that churches were about to die out. How did God change that situation? It came through the concert of prayer.
Just prior, there was a Scottish Presbyterian minister in Edinburgh called John Erskine, who wrote a booklet titled: “Pleading with the People of Scotland and Elsewhere to Unite in Prayer for a Revival of Religion.”
He sent a copy to Jonathan Edwards in New England. He was so moved, he wrote a response. I believe the title was: “A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of All God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.”
The year after John Wesley died, the Second Great Awakening began and swept Great Britain. But, in New England, there was a man of prayer named Isaac Backus, a Baptist pastor. In 1794, he sent out a plea for prayer to ministers of every Christian denomination in the United States. They knew this to be their only hope. The Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Baptist Associations, the Congregationalists, the Reformed, and the Moravians all adopted it until America was saturated with a network of prayer meetings, using the first Monday of each month to pray. It was not long before revival came!
Beloved, I am a nobody who is God’s somebody begging the Church to seriously commit to faithful, believing, repentant prayer for the revival of the church, and the awakening of America! Won’t you join me?
CSBC Prayer Consultant