Seventy-five men and women of prayer gathered at the Cane Ridge Meeting House, August 8-10, 2001, for approximately twenty-four hours of intensive prayer, intercession, worship and earnestly seeking the Lord. Prayer Gathering participants came from seventeen states and fifteen denominations. Approximately 60% of the prayer team were "sons and daughters" of the Campbell-Stone Restoration Movement, equally divided among representatives from Acapella Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ and Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. In addition to those from a Campbell-Stone heritage, another one-third came from denominations and groups such as the Presbyterians, Southern Baptist, Methodists, Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Charismatics/Pentecostals. Participants included a sister who was a direct descendant of Barton W. Stone, a Welch sister whose mother was in the revival in Wales and an eighty-two year old seasoned prayer warrior.
Jim Bevis, President of CSR Ministries, the sponsor of the Prayer Gathering, facilitated the three day sacred assembly for prayer. Bevis comes from the Acapella Churches of Christ. He has led CSR Ministries since its beginning in 1978. CSR is a ministry seeking to facilitate renewal and reconciliation in the body of Christ. CSR Ministries, under Bevis’s direction has conducted some eighty conferences of spiritual renewal across the nation and world.
The Prayer Gathering was only a part of The Great Gathering, August 4-12, a nine-day Bicentennial Celebration of the Cane Ridge Revival of 1801. Several thousand participated over the nine days of Cane Ridge activities. Most of the activities took place on the grounds at Cane Ridge or in The Cane Ridge Meeting House, erected in 1791.
Prayer Gathering participants came together on Wednesday evening, August 8, and found themselves almost immediately of "one accord" as they participated in the opening session of Worship and Praise, led by Martha and Bill Jobe of Corinth, Mississippi. "Heavenly strains" of worship were offered up to Father God and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, His presence and participation, was a common thread that ran throughout the three-day prayer meeting.
Thursday of the Prayer Gathering, was spent in the confession and repentance of sins, both personal and corporate. God had made it know to the prayer leaders before the gathering that a major focus of the prayer gathering would be spent in "preparing our hearts." For three hours on Thursday morning, participants confessed sin focusing on each of the Ten Commandments. Confession and repentance extended into the afternoon as one after another came to the microphone confessing their sins, receiving forgiveness and "hands on" ministry from the brothers and sisters who gathered around them.
Thursday evening’s session continued with confession of sins, hurts and woundings by representatives from each of the three major streams of the Campbell-Stone Movement. Participants were quick to respond to these confessions by the acknowledgment of their own sins and those of their forefathers, and by asking for forgiveness from the others. Foot washing took place with some as a natural response to the climate of contrition that settled on those gathered. Many tears flowed on Thursday evening and there was much evidence that healing was taking place. The final waves of repentance and reconciliation took place between those from the Campbell-Stone Movement and those of other religious groups. Both sides made confession to one another, and offered and received forgiveness.
On Friday morning, the people of prayer gathered around the Table of the Lord, outside the Meeting House on a long, continuous line of tables, covered in white. Having prepared themselves these three days for communing with the Lord, they gathered with gladness, joy, and singleness of heart. It was a moving experience for all.
Jim Bevis, Prayer Gathering facilitator, said, "Some came hoping for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, expecting signs and wonders. Others came seeking renewal for themselves and their churches. Others came not knowing what to expect. I firmly believe that the Lord met all of us in our place of deepest need. Time will tell how far reaching the Cane Ridge experience will spread." Don Soula, CSR Board chairman and Cane Ridge participant said, "If what happened atthe 2001 Cane Ridge Prayer Gathering spreads across the body of Christ, as it should, it could be ever bit as significant at the Cane Ridge Revival of 1801."
CSR, Jim Bevis and those attending will continue to seek the Lord as to how to follow-up on Cane Ridge and how to spread the spirit of what happened there. For a current Cane Ridge update and more information as it unfolds, contact Jim Bevis at CSR Ministries, (256) 381-9034 or (256) 718-3775.