Emporia may benefit from a historic Great Awakening.
Tom Durrance, the preacher at Main Street United Methodist Church, presented a speech by James Edwin Orr at the Emporia Rotary Club about what can happen around the world if people pray for Revival, or a Great Awakening.
The Revival that swept the world began through a movement of prayer. It began at a horrible time in American when women did not leave their houses for fear of assault, churches lost members, and thousands of people were constantly drunk. Thomas Paine thought Christianity would be forgotten in 30 years.
“How did the situation change? It came through a concert of prayer,” Durrance said.
A Baptist preacher named Isaac Backus addressed an urgent plea for prayer for revival sent to pastors of every Christian denomination in the U.S. Churches adopted Backus’ plan until America formed a network of prayer meetings. With the first Monday of every month set aside to pray, before long the Revival came.
In the summer of 1700, the Great Kentucky Revival began. 11,000 people attended communion service. The Modern Missionary Movement came from this Great Awakening.
“Out of it came popular education, Bible Societies, Sunday school, to many other social benefits accompanying the evangelistic drive,” Durrance said.
Following the Great Awakening, conditions deteriorated in the U.S. The country became divided over slavery. Slowly, churches started to fill back up. The landslide of prayer began, which overflowed into churches. People began to be converted all over America, which spread to New England.
At the beginning of the 20th century the world needed another Great Awakening. All around the world believers prayed for one, and their prayers were answered in the U.S. in 1905. Kenneth Scott Latourette reported at Yale University in 1905, 25% of students took part in prayer meetings and Bible study. The ministers of Atlantic City, New Jersey, reported out of 50,000 people, only 50 remained unconverted.
As the Great Awakening swept through Wales, drunkenness fell by half causing taverns to go bankrupt, and in Merionethshire, Wales and Radnorshire, Wales, the illegitimate birth rate dropped 44% within a year of the beginning of the Great Awakening.
“There was even a slow down in the mines, for so many Welsh coal miners were converted and stopped using bad language that the horses that dragged the coal trucks in the mines could not understand what was being said to them,” Durrance said.
Extraordinary prayer, which happened during the Great Awakening, takes place when people get up at 6 a.m. to pray, have half nights of prayer until midnight, or give up their lunch to pray at noon prayer meetings.
“I wonder what would happen to Emporia if one of these Great Revivals happened right here in our town right here, right now. And I wonder what would happen if we came together across denominational lines, and maybe even religious lines, to come and just pray for God [to] save us from whatever we’re dealing with,” Durrance said.