Haystack Prayer Meeting

In the summer of 1806, five young men met in a grove of trees to pray and talk about the theology of missions. They were students at Williams College and were deeply concerned for the spiritual condition of people who lived overseas. Suddenly a thunderstorm came up. As the wind howled, the thunder crashed, and the rain poured, the five students took shelter in a haystack and continued their prayer meeting. Rising from their knees, these young men couldn't have known the far-reaching effects of their prayers. Byram Green, one of the students, later recalled: “We first went to the grove, expecting to hold our prayer meeting there, but a dark cloud was rising in the west, and it soon began to thunder and lightning, and we left the grove and went under the haystack to protect us from the approaching storm… The subject of conversation under the stack, before and during the shower, was the moral darkness of Asia. Mills proposed to send the gospel to that dark and heathen land; and said that we could do it if we would.” Today, this prayer meeting is recognized as the birthplace of foreign missions. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) was created a few years later as the result of a petition coming from these prayer partners who were now students at Andover Theological Seminary. The result was an explosion of American interest in global evangelism and missions.

What caused this sudden interest in missions? Was it the five young men who met for prayer under a haystack? Hardly. It was rather the result of the prayers of a few friends in unity. Jesus said in Matthew 18:19, "'Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.'" There is a power in unified prayer. What do we as a church need? What do you personally need? Won't you call up a friend or two and start praying? Heaven is waiting to answer.

Finding unity in prayer,

Pastor Sutherland

Quote source: absc.org