Dear Friends of GFF,
In the early 1800’s New England was ablaze with fiery pulpits and fervent hearts! The Second Great Awakening was at its peak! Baptist churches were exploding with new converts, the majority being young people up to the age of 25. As you can imagine, many of them desired to do more for God than what they, or others, were doing, and thus sought each other out to inquire of the Lord together, rather than to simply allow the embers to extinguish from neglect.
This is what was happening at Williams College in Williamsport, MA, two hundred and twelve years ago. Five students had been regularly meeting together to pray for those who were yet in their sins in foreign lands. One afternoon as they met in an open field, a sudden downpour forced them under a nearby haystack which was pitched on top of a stand to keep it off the ground. While there, the mood and momentum of each man’s prayer deepened! Their prayers were set ablaze by the kindling stored up in their hearts! Instead of continuing to plea for the souls of lost heathen, they each willingly volunteered their lives to be consumed and ‘counted but loss’ that they themselves may be dedicated to full-time missionary service! It was August 1806—212 years ago!
This “Haystack Prayer Meeting”, as it is termed by church historians, is directly tied to the formation of the first foreign mission board from North America and the sending of its first missionaries—the very first being Adonirum Judson who, in turn, invested forty years of his life in Burma. What an amazing thought that, as small stones precede an avalanche in the mountains, so it is with the contrite cooperate prayer of a few.
We, too, have a ‘haystack’ waiting nearby to us—Matthew 6:6 identifies it as a closet! When we enter therein and shut the door to pray to our Father which is in secret and sees in secret, He, then, rewards us openly! (Mat. 6:6)
He does not “reward us openly” with honor or a crown due to time well spent, or for eloquence of speech! On the contrary, He does so by responding to the very prayers we speak! He gives us what we ask for in prayer!
Under our haystack, are we asking for the conversion of the lost, for the continual faithfulness of our missionaries, for the calling of God to be upon our own life, our spouse, or our children?
Thank you for praying, and for every time you pray for God’s work to move forward while on your knees!
Your servant in Christ Jesus,
GFF General Director