Gospel advancement cannot be divorced from the power of prayer. Nor should prayer be divorced from the need for gospel advancement regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Let History Teach Us Now
In 1806, there were five college students who began to pray twice a week for a mighty move of God to occur. The second Great Awakening had affected at least one of these five students. College student Samuel Mills’s father had served as pastor of a church that had been touched powerfully by this awakening.
These five students of the Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, had come together on a hot Saturday afternoon in August for their prayer meeting. They were going to discuss William Carey’s missionary manifesto, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens.
On their way to their prayer meeting, a major rainstorm began, filled with wind, lightning, and thunder. They noticed a large haystack, which would provide an opportunity to seek shelter underneath from the wind, rain, and lightning. It was in that setting, after discussing Carey’s missionary manifesto, they went before God in prayer.
Samuel Mills proposed they would go on mission to India. While three of the five agreed with Mills to focus on reaching Asia, it was Harvey Loomis who believed deeply they must focus on reaching America first.
Dial in closely with me: Beginning with what is now known as the “Haystack Prayer Meeting,” two years later, in 1808, a group who became known as “The Brethren” was formulated. These five young men and others focused on prayer and missions. In 1810, after they graduated, they requested that a group send them to India as missionaries. The General Association of Massachusetts formed the first official missions organization in the United States in June of 1810. It was called The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
By the way, Adoniram Judson and his wife, as well as Luther Rice, were some of the first missionaries commissioned and sent across the ocean by this new mission board. It was Judson who became known as the father of Baptist foreign missions. Just think: It all began in a prayer meeting under a haystack.
After praying under the haystack that afternoon, these five young men sang a hymn together. It was then Samuel Mills said loudly over the rain and the wind, “We can do this, if we will!” That moment changed those men forever. Many historians would tell you that all mission organizations trace their history back to the “Haystack Prayer Meeting” in some way.
Yes, these men turned the world upside down. And it all began in a prayer meeting under a haystack. At the place where this meeting occurred, a monument stands today, commemorating this historic God moment. At the top of the monument is the phrase, “THE FIELD IS THE WORLD.” Underneath those words, it says, “The birthplace of American foreign missions. 1806.” This great gospel advancement all occurred because five college students cried out to God in prayer.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Ronnie Floyd