A 1969 Warning Against Prayerless Pentecostalism

P2351 prayer

Prayer service at the 1953 annual convention of the Japan Assemblies of God.


This Week in AG History — August 10, 1969

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 11 August 2016

“Prayer and Pentecost are intimately related.” Robert C. Cunningham made this observation in a 1969 Pentecostal Evangel editorial column in which he encouraged readers to “keep in vital touch with God through prayer.” Cunningham explained, “Pentecostal people know something about the power of prayer. All we have received from God has come through the avenue of personal prayer.”

However, Cunningham expressed concern that Pentecostals, in some quarters, had lost their spiritual vitality. He warned against prayerless Pentecostalism, which he described as “a dried-up stream devoid of power and beauty.” Without prayer, he wrote, “our lives will be empty and our testimony a hollow echo.” He described prayerless Pentecostals as “miserable” and noted that “we can go through Pentecostal ritual, but without prayer it will be as dry as dust.”

How should Pentecostals pray? Cunningham pointed to Acts 1:14 as a scriptural model: “The disciples were worshiping God, mixing praises with their prayers. They prayed through until their souls burst forth in a torrent of praise.” When the disciples prayed in this way, they encountered God in a miraculous way. He wrote, “They magnified God; their souls became enveloped with the divine glory; the Holy Ghost took full control of their enraptured souls and it was then they began to speak in other tongues the wonderful works of God their souls had been contemplating.”

In Cunningham’s estimation, prayer was as important to the disciples as preaching.

What happened when the disciples prayed? The lost were saved, the sick were healed, those who had been arrested and persecuted by hostile authorities were delivered, and the church grew. According to Cunningham, this kind of prayer — that which is powerful and effective (James 5:16) — continues to be needed today.

Read the entire editorial, “Prayer and Pentecost,” on page 4 of the August 10, 1969, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Revival News Hits the Front Pages,” by Arlo A. Johnson

• “What May We Expect of Prayer?” by John W. Everett

• “Revival Comes by Looking,” by Dale Harmon

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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