In the summer of 1806, several dedicated Williams College students began to gather regularly to pray and read reports of the mission work of Andrew Fuller, William Carey, and the new Baptist Missionary Society. On one such occasion, while meeting in a field adjacent to the college campus, Samuel J. Mills, James Richards, Francis L. Robbins, Harvey Loomis, and Byram Green found themselves in a thunderstorm. They took shelter in a haystack and continued the meeting.
The “Haystack Prayer Meeting” as it came to be called, resulted in the dedication of these young men to personal participation in international missions and the formation of the American Foreign Mission Movement. Many other mission efforts can be linked back to the Haystack Prayer Meeting and those five young men.
A few of my thoughts stemming from reflection on the Haystack Prayer Meeting:
- God calls His people to pray.
- God calls us into Christian community.
- God uses humble circumstances for His glory.
- If God can use a haystack gathering, he can use a church of any size or significance.
- If God can use a handful of college students, he can use a handful of senior adults, stay-at-home moms, or business owners.