What does a rainstorm have to do with foreign missions? Let me explain: In 1806 a group of students at William’s College in Massachusetts sought refuge from a sudden rainstorm in a haystack. As the rain beat down, they turned their retreat into a prayer meeting. They asked God to use their lives. As they prayed, their faith rose to believe God to use them significantly to fulfill Christ’s great commission. When the rain subsided, they left with the rallying cry, ‘We can do it if we will!’ This unobtrusive meeting went down in history as the Haystack Prayer Meeting. Today this spontaneous prayer time is seen as the beginning of the mission movement in America. As a result, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions was birthed.
Because of a simple non-organized prayer meeting, the world was never the same. God used a group of young people, who had a relationship with Him, to shake the world through missions. They turned what seemed to be, at the time, a lethargic mission’s directive into a mission’s movement that is unprecedented to this day.
Not because of who they were or even that they deserved anything. It was all because they chose to allow God’s heart to be vocalized through prayer. That small group came in agreement with God’s heart and because of it changed the world! If the believers of God would only understand the power of coming in agreement in prayer with heaven, we could change our surroundings and our world.
All through history we come across individuals who God used to pray in times of great need. God uses praying people to be the catalyst that brings about change. Whether they’re young or old, female or male God wants to use any willing vessel to help usher in a radical change.
Evan Roberts grew up in Wales working in the mines after his dad was injured. Evan always carried his Bible so that on his breaks he could study the scripture. For thirteenth months he prayed for a move of God without seeing any evidence. Supposedly, he prayed so hard and loud that his landlord kicked him out. Then on a day that Heaven had picked, he was asked to preach at his church. Only seventeen people stayed after the main service to hear him. The rest of the story is history; in 1904, the God of Heaven invaded Wales with His manifest presence. The Welsh revival was responsible for 100,000 salvations. Church attendance rocketed to 90 percent. Prayer and the power of God changed Robert’s country. The crime drastically went down and the climate of unity swept through the small region. This revival is commonly referred to as the “Revival of Prayer.” Prayer is the determining factor that God used to bring change to a country that was going down the same road that every self-seeking society does, a rapid slide into self-destruction. D. L. Moody said, “The world has not yet seen what God can do through a person completely dedicated to Him.” In this case, the prayers of a young miner brought about a change in a whole country.
The ripples of this change affected the world, including America through the “Azusa Street Revival” in Los Angeles from 1906-1909. Let us, in a time when we are hearing the cry for change from every segment of our society and follow in the footsteps of those that through prayer experienced change! It will change you and your surroundings!