Stirrings in Wales

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Church History

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

On this day in 1743 eight men met in a house in what is now the outskirts of Caerphilly. At that time, the Church of England also covered Wales and the group contained a mixture of Anglican clergy and laymen. Some were Welsh, but chairing the meeting was an Englishman - one George Whitefield. Whitefield was a son of Gloucester, and had gained a reputation as a mighty evangelist on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Wales a great religious revival had sprung up under the preaching of Daniel Rowland and Howell Harris (amongst others). There was a great need to offer spiritual care to the newly converted, and this caused some concern. A conference had been held to address this issue, but there was still much to do. In fact Harris had written “I hope our dear Lord has inclined Brother Whitefield to come and see ye Brethren in Wales & to settle all in order”.

Harris’ prayer was not in vain. As the eight men met - half ordained, half lay - at the home of Thomas Price a system of rules and regulations was drawn up. ‘Overseers’ were appointed to districts of Wales. ‘Exhorters’ were set in place to encourage the faithful.

So it was that the first Methodist Association was begun, and its principles were focussed on encouraging each and every Christian. True, there were regulations but their focus was not on an institution but on the individual. Let us never forget that the church is in truth the people, and not the building or the hierarchy!

When you Pray

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6) - So as we begin to look at how we pray, perhaps a good start is to turn “if you pray” into “when you pray”. You may feel your prayers are wandering, weak and wobbly but you can be confident that your Father hears them.

Who are You Speaking To?

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. (Matthew 6:5) - At its most profound prayer is a pouring out of your heart before God, and that can be untidy. Yet God hears, and delights. When you pray don’t worry about anyone else, or even yourself. Simply focus on God and pour forth.

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