Tag Archives: Praise

A 1969 Warning Against Prayerless Pentecostalism

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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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Billy Bray: The Lively Methodist Preacher Who Had a Lifestyle of Thanksgiving

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This Week in AG History–November 24, 1957
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 24 Nov 2014 – 4:19 PM CST

Billy Bray (1794-1868), the fiery English Methodist preacher, spent the first 10 years of his adult life far away from God. A miner by trade, he was a drunkard and lived a riotous life. After narrowly escaping death in a mining accident in 1823, he began to think about eternal matters. After reading John Bunyan’s Visions of Heaven and Hell, he accepted Christ as his Lord, left behind his destructive ways, and became active in a Methodist church.

Billy Bray was an earnest young convert. He aimed to tell everyone he met about the gospel and how God changed his life. He soon became an evangelist and was known for his spontaneous outbursts of singing and dancing during his sermons. Few preachers of his era could equal his reputation for genuine joy and thanksgiving to God.

It was quite fitting, then, that the Pentecostal Evangel would publish an article about Bray for Thanksgiving in 1957. The article’s author, Raymond L. Cox (a noted educator with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel), used Bray’s testimony to illustrate why Christians should praise the Lord:

“Someone asked, ‘Billy Bray, why do you praise the Lord so much?’ The Cornish coal miner who had turned preacher eyed his questioner incredulously. Bray was astonished that such an inquiry should escape the lips of a Christian brother. ‘I bless the Lord constantly,’ he replied, ‘because my whole life is brightened by praising God.’ ‘But why must you do it aloud?’ queried the man. Billy answered, ‘I can’t help praising Him aloud. As I walk down the street. I lift up one foot, and it seems to say, ‘Glory!’ Then I lift up the other, and it seems to say, ‘Amen!’ And they keep on like that all the time I walk.'”

Cox recounted that Bray brought “his cheerful Christianity into the most desperate and dismal places.” He comforted those who were suffering and dying and spoke words of faith into situations that seemed hopeless. “The former Cornish coal miner was indeed a chronic praiser,” according to Cox. “The bells of blessing chimed constantly in the steeple of his soul. And often, although his voice was far from beautiful according to concert standards, Bray would be found going his way singing some hymn joyously and heartily.”

Billy Bray started life in a non-descript family of miners in England, but he ended life as a down-to-earth preacher who is remembered for bringing a joyful gospel message to countless thousands. The catalyst for his life-change was a near-death experience, which caused him to reassess his life priorities. He accepted Christ and spent the rest of his life cultivating a thankful heart that overflowed with praise.

Why should Christians praise the Lord? Cox suggested that the answer to this question is illustrated in the life of Billy Bray: “Praising God for our blessings extends them, Praising God for our troubles will end them.”

Read the article, “Why Praise the Lord?” by Raymond L. Cox, on pages 4 and 5 of the November 24, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Elijah in a Cave,” by Ruth Stewart

* “A Lesson in Thanksgiving,” by Robert W. Cummings

* “The Greatest Gift,” by David W. Plank

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangel, click here.

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

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