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hanktrent
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« on: October 12, 2012, 05:58:09 PM »

For the first time, I need to portray someone who was a follower of Oberlin theology. I've been reading up on the theology itself, but what I can't find are whether there were any charactistic ways of saying a prayer, such as a typical opening or ending, or a typical posture (arms folded, hands clasped, etc.) I'm picturing needing to say grace before meals, a prayer asking guidance before a big undertaking, prayer before going to bed, etc.

I was hoping to find an image of Rev. Finney in prayer, but no luck. I found a chapter on prayer by Asa Mahan, who would have been president of the college when I attended in the 1840s, but no details: http://books.google.com/books?id=c18wAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA244&output=html

"... prayer is required: but no particular form, posture or seasons when the duty is to be performed, are prescribed."

He does say it should be "morning and evening, at our meals, at the beginning and close of public worship, and when engaging in new and important enterprises," so it sounds like I'm on the right track.

He gives some examples (p. 235) but I don't think these are meant to be recited by rote, but maybe they were common Oberlin catch phrases? I don't know. For example, thanksgiving: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."

So... any idea on what typical Oberlin-style daily prayers might be like in the 1860s, both in posture and in any standard opening or closing phrases? There might truly be no particular characteristics, and each person could do it however they wished, but often religions do have unwritten rules or typical ways emerge.

Hank Trent
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« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 06:00:24 PM by hanktrent » Logged
Mother Dean
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2012, 08:01:24 PM »

I'm sure you already know this but other names to research could be:
Founders Rev. John J. Shipherd (Presbyterian minister) and  Philo P. Stewart (missionary)

Also, you could write to the college. I have had luck in getting images and documents from churches and universities in my genealogy searches. They may also have transcribed prayers/meal blessings from the time.

Here is a link to "The Manner of Conducting Prayer Meetings" by Rev Finney. Not exactly what you are looking for but it may help. Number 5 says "The prayers should always be very short". http://books.google.com/books?id=iZN65z4_5MgC&lpg=PA130&ots=8phSuf-BLP&dq=Rev.%20Charles%20Finney%20amen&pg=PA122#v=onepage&q=prayer%20meeting%20short&f=false

On this page he talks about "secret prayer" and "fall(ing) down on their knees" but it is used to illustrate a negative. Not that the posture is negative. http://books.google.com/books?id=iZN65z4_5MgC&lpg=PA130&ots=8phSuf-BLP&dq=Rev.%20Charles%20Finney%20amen&pg=PA50#v=onepage&q=Rev.%20Charles%20Finney%20amen&f=false

Here you are instructed to "pray in the name of Christ" http://books.google.com/books?id=iZN65z4_5MgC&lpg=PA130&ots=8phSuf-BLP&dq=Rev.%20Charles%20Finney%20amen&pg=PA59#v=onepage&q=Rev.%20Charles%20Finney%20amen&f=false

Here he asks if the "brethren" will do what he preached, or if they have done what he preached "last Friday evening". I know that falls outside of your question but I thought it was an interesting piece of information.http://books.google.com/books?id=iZN65z4_5MgC&lpg=PA130&ots=8phSuf-BLP&dq=Rev.%20Charles%20Finney%20amen&pg=PA66#v=onepage&q=Rev.%20Charles%20Finney%20amen&f=false

I was not able to find the transcripts of a prayer in that book, or any other book, but it does provide a good outline.

In reading through several of Mahan's and Finney's sermons/writings, they do put  great weight on prayer and scripture. If you are able to find a prayer transcript from either of them, please share it. I have a hunch as to how it would go and would love to see if I am right. Smiley
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hanktrent
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2012, 04:55:47 AM »

Thank you so much! Everything helps.

Number 5 says "The prayers should always be very short".

I also note how he says that each prayer should be focussed on one particular point.

Quote
Here you are instructed to "pray in the name of Christ"
Ironically, that's one thing which prompted the question. At another event, I noticed a fellow, portraying a generic Protestant, always ended prayers with "And we say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Generic enough, right? Well, I guessed he was a modern member of the LDS church, and sure enough, he was. It was a cultural marker that slipped through. What I'd love to know is if there were similar cultural markers for someone from Oberlin in the period. But it does look like some form of "in the name of Christ" would be common.

Also I note #12, you must expect to obtain the things you ask for, and that's also discussed more at one of the other links. It sounds as if there would not be a lot of emphasis on "nevertheless, not my will but thine be done."

Quote
I have a hunch as to how it would go and would love to see if I am right. Smiley

I'd love to know what your hunch is!

Hank Trent
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2012, 12:08:53 PM »

Here are some more leads:
Daniel Nash (1775-1831) served as Charles Finney?s personnel "prayer" intercessor.
There is a website dedicated to the man: www.charlesfinney.com
I found that he ends his sermons in London with "Amen".
Finney wrote in his personal testimony that he "fell down on his knees" but I can't find the link now.  Sad
This page seems to have all of Finney's sermons, lectures and writings:http://www.gospeltruth.net/sermindex.htm


I would love to share what my personal hunch is after I research some more.  Wink
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