Charles Finney (1792-1875) was one of the greatest revivalist who ever lived. Working primarily in the northeastern part of the Unite States, thousands of people from all classes of society were converted. In reading Finney’s autobiography, one discovers that prayer was a continuing preeminent factor in his success. Supporting him were Daniel Nash and Abel Cleary, two great men of prayer, who would go to the towns in advance to pray. Often they would choose some of the least likely profligates to pray for, and more often than not those very people were converted, and with them a great host of others. As a result of these combined labors, entire towns were converted, resulting in great improvements in communities that continued long after. Sometimes the revivals began with the poorer classes; sometimes they started with the moneyed classes. Whatever the case, God used Finney in a great way. Like John Calvin, the great reformer who began his career as a lawyer, Finney was also trained as a lawyer, and therefore brought logic and great powers of persuasion to his meetings. You will find he does the same in these lectures. For those who care and know the difference, Finney somewhat followed Wesley’s thinking instead of John Calvin's when it came to understanding salvation—Arminian—though there were differences.
You can learn more about Charles Finney at the page dedicated to his ministry in the Revival Section of this website. There you will also find documents on revival and spirituality that you will be blessed by.
This is the fourth lecture of his Lectures on Revival. In his preface to the Lectures, Finney reminded his readers that the lectures were delivered to his own congregation without having a particular plan or outline, sharing subjects as they came to mind. He also consented to have the Editor of the Evangelist report them in the interest in helping churches in other places. Eventually there was a great demand for a book, which was duly brought about. Regarding prayer, Finney was well aware that some of his views on prayer were controversial, some of his readers having strong Calvinist views that precluded the role of prayer in bringing about revival.
In this address, Finney shares how proper prayer is answered, and how many prayers are not prayers at all, and thus not answered.
In this sermon, Finney spoke on the Lord's prayer and the spirit that is required to get answers to prayer.
In this sermon, Finney talks about making restitution.
Notice the following: "He declared he would rather have a person of no education to help him in his work if he knew how to prevail in prayer, than a highly educated person who did not. Prevailing prayer that takes hold on God not only asks but receives the witness that the answer will come. This was the watchword in the early days of Oberlin." As you can tell, Finney is well worth reading on the subject of prayer!
In this short essay I look into Finney insistence that believers fully obey the Bible's teachings on prayer.