“The noise was like the roar of Niagara,” wrote a participant.
“The vast sea of human beings seemed to be agitated as if by a storm.”
On August 6, 1801, 25,000 people gathered at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, for a “communion” meeting. Led by Presbyterian minister Barton Stone and many others, the meeting became what is known as the greatest “religious” movement in the history of the United States. In actuality, the roots of the revival began several years before 1801, with the fiery preaching of evangelist James McCready. But the consummation came in August of 1801.
The second great awakening had begun. Black, white, slave and free, all came together for a movement that defied imagination. Barton Stone writes:
“The scene to me was new and passing strange. … Many, very many fell down, as men slain in battle, and continued for hours together in an apparently breathless and motionless state—sometimes for a few moments reviving, and exhibiting symptoms of life by a deep groan, or piercing shriek, or by a prayer for mercy most fervently uttered…With astonishment did I hear men, women and children declaring the wonderful works of God.”
After the Revolutionary war, America had been in decline. To the preachers of that day, it was known as the “Egyptian Darkness.” Francis Asbury wrote the following:
“When I reflect that not one in a hundred came here to get religion, but rather to get plenty of good land, I think it will be well if some or many do not eventually lose their souls.”
Many believe that the United States is in the same condition today. “An Egyptian Darkness.” Conditions are ripe for a new great awakening. In 1798, days of prayer and fasting were set aside to redeem the frontier from this darkness. So, we do the same. As was said at camp meetings all over the country, “Lord, do it again, like Cane Ridge.”
What part do you believe you can play in helping to bring about a new great awakening?
- Pray for a revelation that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. “Send us a great awakening, Lord!” • Pray for repentance to grip the church and the government officials – “Send the light of Your Word.”
By Pastor Jamie Dixson