Wednesday night Prayer Meeting

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by pocadots1990, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. pocadots1990

    pocadots1990
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    I had a conversation with a lady at work who is not a Christian and she asked me when the first Wednesday Prayer Meeting was held. I don't know the answer, can someone help me with this?

    Thanks

    David
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    I've asked the same question. Who decided, and when was it decided that we should meet on Sunday night and Wednesday night?

    And how did attendance at those services become a measure of our spirituality?
     
  3. rsr

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    I'd be interested if someone has a definitive answer. I've run across Wednesday services in Baptist churches going back to the 1850s, but I don't know when and how the custom began.

    I have seen the rise of midweek services in Protestant churches attributed to the revivalism of the Second Great Awakening of the early 1800s generally and in partciular to the great revival of 1867-68 - which began with a lunchtime prayer meeting in New York - but I can't provide anything conclusive.
     
    #3 rsr, Jan 21, 2007
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  4. Jerome

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    Wednesday has been a particular occasion for fasts, services, lectures, etc. throughout church history.

    Virginia's Laws Divine, Moral and Martial, circa 1612, contained this provision:
    "All Preachers or Ministers within this our Colonie, or Colonies, shall in the Forts, where they are resident, after divine Service, duly preach every Sabbath day in the forenoone, and Catechise in the afternoone, and weekely say the divine service, twice every day, and preach every Wednesday, likewise every Minister where his is resident, ..."
     
  5. Joseph M. Smith

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    I suppose it came about because Wednesday night is about as close as you can get to halfway between Sunday mornings. I once belonged to a church that had its prayer meeting on Thursday nights -- I told the pastor I didn't know you could pray on Thursday <grin>.

    I appreciate the posting about colonial Virginia ... in the liturgical churches (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican) divine worship is held every day. Maybe once was all we could get out of our free-spirited Baptist folks.

    Personally I enjoy Wednesday night, with its options for teaching, and have volunteered to do an apologetics class in the church where I am now a member.

    Around here, Sunday nights services, etc., are almost gone from our Baptist churches.
     
  6. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Not sure when it came to pass (appreciated the quote above about Virginia, BTW).

    We only have one real "service" a week, Sunday morning.

    Those who can meet on Sunday evening for Bible Study while we have Sunday School for kids.

    We do meet on Wednesday, but only for corporate prayer. Wednesday fits everyone schedule.
     
  7. rsr

    rsr
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    Thanks for the reference to Virginia Anglicans, Jerome.

    I would guess that the Anglican practice may have entered American evangelicalism through the Methodists. (John Wesley fasted Wednesdays and Fridays, as recommended in the Didache.)

    After Wesley came to America, he began having meetings on Wednesdays in Savannah "in order to a free conversation, begun and ended with singing and prayer." After his return to England - and finding that churches were closed to his preaching - he began preaching in public and organizing those who responded to his message. The followers were grouped into "bands" of five to 10 people, and the entire group met on Wednesday evenings.

    I also would note that John Gill delivered Wednesday lectures (for a group of people who were not members of his church) from 1729 to 1756.
     
    #7 rsr, Jan 29, 2007
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  8. Joseph M. Smith

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    Oh, how I wish we could still do something like that ... at any time of the week ... and expect "seekers" to come. Those churches which have "seeker services" -- is it working? Are they getting seeking, skeptical, want-to-have-faith people?

    In another lifetime, when I was doing campus ministry, I was able to gather at least a dozen or so students for series of discussions about the Christian faith. Mostly debunking the bad theology they were reacting against.
     
  9. Jerome

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    From A Narrative of the Proceedings of the General Assembly of divers Pastors, Messengers, and Ministring-Brethren of the Baptized Churches, met together in London (1689):
     
  10. rsr

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    Baptist historian Bruce Gourley, associate director Baptist Studies at Mercer University, traces the prevalence of Wednesday meetings (in the U.S.) to the mid-19th century, partly as a result of growing urbanization that allowed Baptists to live close enough to the meeting place to allow multiple services.

    His full answer is at:

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Baptists-954/2009/4/Wednesday-night-prayer-meetings.htm
     
    #10 rsr, Nov 23, 2009
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  11. dh1948

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    I can't remember the details, but seems that when I was a Landmark Missionary Baptist (ABA), the teaching was that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, so Christians should gather on Wednesday in commemoration of His death. I don't care to get into a theological discussion on the time line.

    I enjoy Wednesday night activities. We don't have Sunday night church. When we stopped having it, some 7-8 years ago, our Wednesday night attendance flourished. Should we ever decide to eliminate Wednesday nights from our schedule, I don't think there would be anything biblically wrong with it.

    Most of us...probably all of us...were born into a church culture that said we had to attend two services on Sunday and one on Wednesday. For years we never questioned this. In recent years, we have wised up to the fact that neither is demanded in Scripture.

    All churches are different. What works for you may not work for me. Sunday night did not work. Wednesday night does.
     
  12. rsr

    rsr
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    I have run across Landmark Baptists who hold to a Wednesday crucifixion as an article of faith, but I think linking Wednesday services to the crucifixion is probably something that occurred as an attempt to explain Wednesday services, not the other way around.
     
  13. elder_jeffery_endicott

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    in my area there are several baptist churches and different ones of these churches have prayer meeting on different nights of the week. Sunday night-thru friday night at least one local church has a prayer meeting. Some of the churches have one saturady night service a month so it is possible to attend a united baptist church service within 30 miles all but 4 days a year, (the 5th saturday night is the only night with out a service. From my understanding the weeknight prayer meeting began during WWII with mothers gathering to pray for the sons in the armed forces.
     
  14. dh1948

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    Never thought about it from that perspective. Makes sense. Could serve as some pretty strong leverage to get the saints out on Wednesday nights. lol. Thanks!
     

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