The Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall, wrote to the Bishop of Virginia, James Madison, that the Church ‘was too far gone ever to be redeemed.’ The great philosopher Voltaire averred and the author Tom Paine echoed, ‘Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years.’
Take the liberal arts colleges at that time. A poll taken at Harvard had discovered not one believer in the whole student body. They took a poll at Princeton, a much more evangelical place, where they discovered only two believers in the student movement of that day. Students rioted. They held a mock communion at Williams College, and they put on anti-Christian plays at Dartmouth. They burned down the Nassau Hall at Princeton. They forced the resignation of the president of Harvard. They took a Bible out of a local Presbyterian church in New Jersey, and burnt it in a public bonfire. Christians were so few on campus in the 1790s that they met in secret, like a communist cell, and kept their minutes in code so that no one would know.
A prayer movement started in Britain through William Care, Andrew Fuller, John Sutcliffe and other leaders who began what the British called the Union of Prayer. Hence, the year after John Wesley died (1791), the second great awakening began and swept Great Britain.
In New England, there was a man of prayer named Isaac Backus, a Baptist pastor, who in 1794, when conditions were at their worst, addressed an urgent plea for prayer for revival to pastors of every Christian denomination in the United States. Churches knew that their backs were to the wall. All the churches adopted the plant until Amercia, like Briatin, was interlaced with a network f prayer meetings, which set aside the first Monday of each month to pray. It was not long before revival came… Out of that second great awakening came the modern missionary movement and its societies. Out of it came the abolition of slavery, popular education, Bible Societies, Sunday schools and many social benefits.
Greig talks about his friend Markus Lagel, a student who was part of a prayer movement in Leipzig in East Germany which was part of the overthrow of Communism. They were T-shirts, based on Ezekiel 37 which say
“UCBONES” and on the back “ICANARMY”.