The Wesley Fellowship has a number of members who are also connected formally or informally with two other organisations, The League of Prayer and The Flame bi-monthly magazine. All three of these organisations echo in some way John Wesley’s well known words in the ‘Large Minutes’ (1789), when he posed the question: ‘What may we reasonably believe to be God’s design in raising up the Preachers called Methodists?’ and gave the answer: ‘Not to form any new sect; but to reform the nation, particularly the Church; and to spread scriptural holiness over the land.’ It can be reasonably stated that the vision of Reader Harris in establishing the League of Prayer in 1891, and the vision of Maynard James in establishing The Flame in 1935, and the vision of Herbert McGonigle & William Parkes in 1985 when they founded The Wesley Fellowship, were all in some measure closely related to this notion of ‘spreading scriptural holiness’.
To give some background information on these two organisations, Salvation Army officer, Major Norman Armistead, who happens to be both the Director of The League of Prayer and current editor of The Flame, has kindly provided the following information for the Wesley Fellowship website (of which he himself has written the article on The Flame, but the notes on the League of Prayer were originally written by Revd Leslie Evans and subsequently updated by Mrs Valerie Barclay).
The League of Prayer
What is The League of Prayer?
The League of Prayer was founded in 1891 by Reader Harris, QC, a London barrister, who was deeply stirred by God to set up an interdenominational prayer movement. The League of Prayer links Christians of all churches who want to meet regularly in prayer cells in this country and abroad.
What are the aims of The League of Prayer?
The threefold thrust, which inspired Reader Harris, is still the vision of the movement today.
- The infilling of the Holy Spirit for all believers.
- Spiritual revival in every church.
- The spread of scriptural holiness in the life of every believer.
It was when the early Christians “joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1: 14) that “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2: 4). Only then were they empowered both to live holy lives and to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
It is when today’s Christians turn from their sin and seek the Lord that He promises to bring revival to their land. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
How does The League of Prayer operate?
The League of Prayer encourages the formation of prayer groups or cells, which meet regularly in churches of all denominations, or in homes or other suitable meeting places.
A bi-monthly prayer letter keeps prayer partners in touch with each other, and updates urgent prayer requests from the UK and abroad. The League also has access to a literature, video and tape ministry.
Various local conventions, prayer and Bible teaching conferences are held – often at the request of local League of Prayer groups or other like-minded organisations. The League also has joint day conventions with the Wesley Fellowship in April and November.
Further information can be obtained from the Director:
Major Norman Armistead, 5 Green Park Avenue, Cayton, Scarborough YO11 13RY.
Tel: 01723 584474; mobile: 07901 925515; email: Norman.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or the Secretary:
Mrs Valerie Barclay, 10a Barnet Road, Sheffield S11 7RP. Tel: 0114 2301439; email: email@example.com.
A personal message from the Chairman of The League of Prayer Council:
There is no doubt that many Christians in our land today are concerned both about the spiritual condition of the church and of the nation. The spiritual and moral climate is such that only a real move of God in reviving power can change the situation, and only prayer can bring revival in our day. There is no other way, and to look for it in any other direction is to ignore the clear teaching of Scripture. In a dark day when the people of God were demoralised, the prophet Ezekiel spoke of God seeking “a man to stand in the gap” to stem the tide of national ruin.
It is a sad but realistic fact that the real gap in the church today is in the ranks of the intercessors – those who recognise the priority of prayer and are committed to it. There is also a gap in the ranks of those who stand courageously for biblical standards of holy living. Lifestyles may change, but God’s moral standards do not change. To the church as a whole we offer a fellowship to those within its ranks who share this concern, and welcome all who are prepared to commit themselves to prayer for revival in our day.
Rev Leslie Evans
The Flame magazine
Rev Maynard James longed for a “red hot” magazine, which would keep “the sanctified alight and set fire to the unconverted.” The Flame, which he founded along with Rev Jack Ford in 1935, was the result. Paul James, who wrote a biography of his father, said that the very name was inspired - “Ablaze for Christ; On Fire for God”. The magazine has evolved through the subsequent years and continues today as the only independent holiness journal published in the UK. Maynard James was editor for fifty years, followed by Rev Dr Peter Gentry. The magazine is now edited by Major Norman Armistead, a retired Salvation Army officer.
Editor: Major Norman Armistead, 5 Green Park Avenue, Cayton, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO1 3RY. Tel: 01723 584474; mobile: 07901 925515; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chairman and Secretary: Rev Dr Peter Gentry, 14 Milton Road, Weston-Super-Mare BS23 2SB. Tel: 01934 636880.
Associate Editor: Rev Dr Herbert McGonigle.
Trust Members: Rev Dr Denis Applebee, Major Norman Armistead, Rev Dr Peter Gentry, Miss Carol M. Manley, Rev Dr Herbert McGonigle.
Printed by: Christian Mission Press, 62 Whitby Road, Ruislip, Middlesex HA4 9DP; email: email@example.com.
Subscriptions and Accounts: Miss C.M. Manley, 59 Parkstone Avenue, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 6DN. Tel: 01278 453122.
Annual Subscription Rates: UK: £6.00; USA: $14.00; Canada: $13.00; Other countries: £8.00 – all post free.
Advertising Rates on Request.
Published by The Flame Trust. Registered Charity No: 279983-R.