The Farmer Whose First Sermon Converted 30 Families – by Melody Mason

William Miller, an old farmer in the U.S. Northeast in the 1830’s, loved to pray and study God’s Word. Yet for nine years he refused to follow the Holy Spirit’s conviction to walk away from his plow and preach about Christ’s soon return. Miller trembled at the thought of public speaking, and he felt burdened by his unfitness for the work. But when he finally obeyed, God worked marvelously. Miller’s first presentation converted 30 entire families, with the exception of two people. Immediately, he was urged to speak elsewhere. Protestant churches of nearly all denominations opened their doors to him.

In some large cities Miller’s work was so effective that liquor dealers transformed their shops into meeting rooms for the revival. Gambling halls lost all their customers. A Boston newspaper reported about an open-air baptism of new believers attended by at least 10,000 people.

Across the country, various denominations held prayer meetings where at almost every hour businessmen could be found assembled for prayer and praise, Seventh-day Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White wrote in The Great Controversy (p. 332).

“There was no extravagant excitement, but an almost universal solemnity on the minds of the people,” she said. Miller’s “work, like that of the early reformers, tended rather to convince the understanding and arouse the conscience than merely to excite the emotions.”

In 12 years, Miller went from being an ordinary farmer to a well-known revivalist. He gave more than 4,500 presentations to more than half a million people during that time. His work gave birth to the Adventist Church, now one of the fasting growing Protestant denominations.

Reflecting on these early years of the Advent movement, White wrote: “When the message of truth was first proclaimed, how much we prayed. How often was the voice of intercession heard in the chamber, in the barn, in the orchard, or the grove? Frequently we spent hours in earnest prayer, two or three coming together claiming the promise; often the sound of weeping was heard and then the voice of thanksgiving and the song of praise” (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 161).

We can learn much from the lives of Adventist pioneers. The Advent movement went forward with such power because of Miller and many of other pioneers’ spirit of prayer and dedication. Let’s pray for this same spirit of prayer and dedication today.

Dear Heavenly Father, We aren’t qualified to do what You’re calling us to do. But help us to not resist the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives any longer. Give us strength to keep moving forward by faith and using what You’ve given us for Your glory. We want what happened in the upper room to happen again today. We want to be Your hands and feet to spread the gospel to a world in need. Please help us Father! We long to finish the work so we can go home. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Melody Mason, United in Prayer Coordinator

13957160963_1d821be0fc_zPractical Application: 

Is God calling you out of your comfort zone to do something for Him, but just like William Miller, you keep stalling? Are you being held back by feelings of inadequacy or insecurity or is there some other roadblock that is keeping you from moving forward for the Lord? Over this next week, we want to challenge you to think and pray about what God might be asking you to do, or what steps you should be taking to more fully follow His call on your life. 

Promise to claim: Ex. 4:12 & Isa. 30:21 

Share on Facebook815Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Email this to someone
  • Ros Farrell

    This story reminded me that last week I was nominated by my Co-ordinator to speak to a group of young people about their education journey based on the life of Moses, as they think about transitioning to university. I was reluctant to do it as I felt inadequate and prefer one-to-one and not groups. I prayed and also had others praying for me and God manifested himself and completely took control of the session and I haven’t stopped giving Him thanks. I now feel more confident that I can do more for Him and will let Him lead me wherever He wants me. Praise His holy name. Amen

    • Bethune Davis

      That is how God works. What we submit ourselves to Him, He can use us mightily

    • Rosalia

      Amen. God always provides what is best for His children. Let’s continue to take Him at His word

    • Gloria Mosha-Onchiri

      Amen Sis Ros.

  • Lory Sylvester

    Thank you Lord, got your promises!

  • Rachel Neeegba Thomas

    Amen. Thank you, Father, for seeing beyond our flaws and making Your Word come forth through sinful people like us.

    • Rosalia


  • ellen

    Yes Lord, my heart is wiling to be use for thee, help me today and give me strength to overcome fears, complaints and excuses. “Take me, O Lord, as wholly Yours. I lay all my plans at Your feet. Use me today in Your service. Live with me, and let all my work be done to honor You.” Amen

    • Rosalia

      Amen, my prayer too

  • Ateaka Gordon

    LORD please help me to be reformed. So that I can boldly proclaim your name.

  • Rosalia

    Amen. Lord make me to be willing to do your work. Thanks for the post

  • Christopher Sesinyi

    It is my prayer that God lead the way, and give me more strength both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

  • Noeline Cutts

    We can do His Will by being good natured & amiable to everyone. He will put opportunities in our path to do more.
    Giving generously of our means is serving Him too. Most of us will not be asked to do great things for Him. We are to abide in Him at all times.

  • Gloria Mosha-Onchiri

    Amen Lord please reveal to me ehat is my mission abd plan in my life.

  • Kenfield Sindolo

    Amen! To put this work to a close, we need directed zeal, like Miller and friends ministering to others about the second coming of Christ. If we will all take part in preaching about the Second Coming, in no time, we may see our Lord and master soon. Let us pray, study and work as we wait for Christ.

  • Jenita Larmond

    God give me the strength, courage and faith to claim your promises that you will never leave nor forsake us. Speak for me Lord as I do your work.

  • Anthony Baugh

    Lord I am guilty of a similar sin of doubt that stalled William Miller for year. I heard your voice, feel your conviction as you are moving into doing much more for Your glory but I am fearful of the unknown. Please help me to trust You more and move out in faith to Your honor and glory.

  • Memory

    I have a personal request may you pray for me please.I am praying but I seem to be discouraged.May God help me and have mercy on me.May He save me or I die………………….

  • Dike Emmanuel

    Lord I ask that you speak to me at this moment and reveal to me what you want me to do to serve you more effectively in the coming week.