Over a period of time the writers of metrical psalms turned to fashioning free paraphrases of psalm texts. Eventually, in the seventeenth century, several English authors began to write hymn texts independent of the specific words of Scripture. Nineteenth-century fervor for hymn singing culminated with the publication of the most famous and influential of all hymnbooks, Hymns Ancient and Modern. The first half of the twentieth century witnessed growth in the study of hymnology, which led, in turn, to a variety of carefully planned hymnals that have had great influence to the present day.
The revivalist tradition is rooted in pietist hymnody. It is characterized by an emphasis on the relationship of Christ (the bridegroom) to the church and to the individual believer (the bride). It is commonly held that Isaac Watts combined most successfully the expression of worship with that of human devotional experience. The Wesleys developed what we know today as “invitation” songs. When transported to America, this tradition gave rise to the modern revival movement.
Wesley was an Anglican priest and organized the Methodists into small groups for prayer, Bible study, and worship. These groups would continue to worship in Anglican parishes on Sunday.
The origins of the Holiness-Pentecostal movement are found in the work and teaching of John Wesley. Worship within the movement varies widely, but it seems to thrive in contexts that encourage spontaneity and freedom. Traditional Pentecostal worship is currently undergoing significant change because of the growing popularity of contemporary worship choruses.
The holiness movement traces its origins to John Wesley. The worship of the holiness churches, however, was shaped primarily by the liturgical forms of the camp meeting movement.
John Wesley was an Anglican clergyman who sought to bring new life to the Church of England through conversion and enthusiastic response to God in sacramental worship. In America, Wesleyan forms of worship did not survive. There Methodists tended to follow the frontier-revivalist pattern of worship.
Many do not understand this trade of praying because they have never learned it, and hence do not work at it. Many miracles ought to be worked by our praying. Why not? Is the arm of the Lord shortened that He cannot save? Is His ear heavy that He cannot hear? Has prayer lost its power because iniquity abounds and the love of many has grown cold? Has God changed from what He once was? To all these queries we enter an emphatic negative. God can as easily today work miracles by praying as He did in the days of old. “I am the Lord; I change not.” “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
While the need for private, personal prayer is mentioned most frequently in Scripture, these verses remind us that we are part of God’s family. When we pray together, in the name of Christ, our prayers powerfully unite us in collective worship and in common purpose.
These and other men and women, among the first to be called evangelicals, organized the Church Missionary Society and other Bible and tract societies. Together they took the lead in social reform and helped to make significant and lasting changes in Britain, changes that inspired other believers around the world.
The opportunity for social gatherings had a powerful appeal to people who were starving for companionship. They were stirred by the evangelistic drive of the preachers, who encouraged emotional expression. The same exhibitions of tearful remorse and exuberant joy that appeared in England under Wesley’s preaching and in the Great Awakening in America appeared on the frontier. Out of the conversions of the camp meetings, the churches gathered recruits and the morals of the region showed dramatic improvement.