The First Adventist Week of Prayer—Stewardship

Dec. 25, 1885 - Jan. 2, 1886

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 (NKJV)

Do you remember a week of prayer that became a turning point in your life? Modern weeks of prayer are often periods of spiritual revival, with the purpose of strengthening the people's relationship with God. However, the first Adventist weeks of prayer were intended both to deepen conversion and to encourage generosity. They could even be called Weeks of Stewardship.

By the mid-1880s, the Adventist Church was growing significantly, but members were not generous enough to financially support the expanding church's mission. Many local conferences had debts; the urban missionary work lacked resources and workers; the International Missionary and Treaties Society was without funds; foreign missions were heavily indebted to the Review and Herald, and all Adventist schools were in deficit, but they needed larger facilities. How could this challenging condition be reversed?

On Sunday, December 6, 1885, the General Conference assembly set aside the period of December 25, 1885, to January 2, 1886, to be the first Adventist "Week of Prayer." The delegates of that session called for all conference presidents and pastors to give immediate and faithful attention to this matter so that every church, and as much as possible, every individual receive information as to the nature and the purpose of this week of prayer. And that all should join in humiliation before God, begging for a deeper conversion, so that their blessing would remain upon the initiated work, that it might open the hearts of those who had resources to use the talent that the Lord had given them to take the message to the nations of the earth, gathering from them a people for His name.

Often our prayers become very self-centered, preoccupied only with our own needs and afflictions. We even pray for the needs of others, but we do not help them. We can intercede for the preaching of the gospel around the world, but do we support it with our resources? In addition to asking for this and many other projects, we must also sustain the mission of the church with our personal influence and our possessions.

This article was originally published in Portuguese here: https://mais.cpb.com.br/meditacao/a-primeira-semana-de-oracao/

Information in the above article was taken from the article, The Week of Prayer and Humiliation written by GEO. I. Butler, former president of the General Conference. The article appeared in the December 15, 1885 of the Adventist Review and Herald, pp 9 & 10. See http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/RH/RH18851215-V62-49.pdf