The Preservation of Prayer

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Bob Bakke, of National Prayer Advance, tells of churches of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and their experience of this kind of prayer. After the first Great Awakening, three churches in this community covenanted to follow the pattern suggested by Edwards. In each congregation, cell groups would meet weekly to agree in prayer. Monthly, the separate congregations would then gather the cells and conduct all-church prayer meetings of agreement. Then quarterly, all three would come together for the same kind of praying. This pattern was followed faithfully, without interruption, for a century. Two remarkable things happened during this time. All three churches reported periodic harvest or “ingatherings” of souls, in which there would be a number of new believers brought into the congregations, about every eight to ten years. Also, during this time, all of New England was being swept by Unitarianism. But not these three churches. They remained firmly true to the faith while apostasy swirled around them, but not over them. Around the time of the Civil War, the prayer meetings ceased. Within five years these churches all capitulated to Unitarianism

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