In the summer of 1876, an infestation of grasshoppers nearly destroyed the crops in Minnesota. By the spring of 1877, farmers were worried the dreadful plague would once again visit them and destroy the rich wheat crops, bringing ruin to thousands of people. The situation was so serious that Governor John S. Pillsbury proclaimed April 26 as a day of prayer and fasting, urging every man, woman, and child to ask God to prevent the terrible scourge. On that April day all schools, shops, stores, and offices were closed. There was a reverent, quiet hush over all the state.
The next day dawned bright and clear. Temperatures soared to what they ordinarily were in midsummer, which was very peculiar for April. Minnesotans were devastated as they discovered billions of grasshopper larvae wiggling to life. For three days the unusual heat persisted, and the larvae hatched. It appeared that it wouldn’t be long before they started feeding and destroying the wheat crops.
On the fourth day, however, the temperature suddenly dropped. Frost covered the state that night, killing every one of the creeping, crawling pests as surely as if poison had been used. Grateful farmers never forgot that day. It went down in the history of Minnesota as the day God answered the prayers of the people. Though that event happened over 140 years ago, it shows what can happen when people are willing to pray, not only for themselves, but for others.
John Wesley recognized the power of prayer when he said, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergy or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” C.H. Spurgeon, in a moment of revelation, discovered that neither his sermons nor his good works accounted for the spiritual impact of his ministry. Instead, it was, as one writer put it, “The prayers of an illiterate lay brother who sat on the pulpit steps pleading for the success of the sermons” that made him effective. Spurgeon declared without hesitancy, “Whenever God determines to do a great work, He first sets His people to pray.”
Through prayer, God’s hand moves, making the impossible, possible. I believe God wants to do a great work at Belmont, and that work begins with prayer. If you haven’t made it to one of our Encounter Prayer times, I want to encourage you to come. It is a wonderful time of praise, intercession, and asking God to do a great work at Belmont.
James 5:16 declares, “The prayers of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Imagine what could happen if an entire church fellowship dedicated itself to prayer!
To His Glory,