Polite prayers may not always get the job done. Sometimes it takes Pit Bull prayers. Imagine, if instead of quietly going to our prayer closet, we boldly and brashly knelt before our loved ones and began to bombard heaven on their behalf. That is exactly what the women did during the pre-prohibition era as recorded in a new book called 1920 The Year that Made the Decade Roar by Eric Burns. Following is an excerpt.
“Prohibition, the legislative act that banned alcohol in the United States, began in 1920. But the groundwork for Prohibition was laid in hundreds of protests and demonstrations over the many decades preceding 1920, and also in the staggeringly high alcohol consumption of Americans dating back to the very foundation of the country. One such protest happened in Hillsboro, Ohio in 1873:
“The groundwork for Prohibition [was] laid forty years before [World War I], with the prim, pious, but ultimately untiring membership of the so-called Women’s Crusade, whose tactic, ingenious in its way, was to pray saloons shut. A cleric from Boston who found himself in the small southeastern Ohio town of Hillsboro as the Crusade was getting started in late December 1873 could not believe what he saw.
Pit Bull Prayers
“The answer, in the short term, was no. As men approached their favorite saloon and saw the women, among them their wives and daughters, kneeling not only on planked sidewalks but often in the dust that paved the streets, praying for abstinence, they were too embarrassed to enter the beverage emporium. They turned, feeling ashamed of themselves for what they had been about to do. They skulked away, hoping that loved ones had not seen them.
More Pit Bull Prayers
“The result was the ‘Miracle of Hillsboro.’ In two weeks, all twenty-one saloons in town had been prayed out of business. For a while.
The Crusade spread: ‘east to Wheeling, West Virginia; northwest to Ripon, Wisconsin; southwest to Carthage, Missouri; and north to Minnesota.’ The results, however, were not always similar to those in Hillsboro.
Baptized in Buckets of Beer
“The problem with the Women’s Crusade was that its effects could not last. There were almost always more saloons in a town than there were groups of women to pray before them. The Crusaders might close one establishment with their piety, but the next remained open. When the women moved on to the next, the imbibers simply sneaked out the back door of that joint and returned to the first. Their shame had been brief; their thirst endured. In the long term, especially when viewed from a distance, the Women’s Crusade was little more than a game. Musical saloons. The habitués always won. Nonetheless, a start toward a dry America, futile though it turned out to be, had been made.”
The author’s summation is that the women’s prayers were ultimately futile because prohibition was lifted. But I contend that those women’s determined, and bold prayers laid a foundation of Godliness in America that lasted for decades.
Think of what life was like in America in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. There was a culture of church attendance. There were solid family units. There was prayer in schools.
Now think what our country would be like today if women had continued to pray that boldly and with the willingness to suffer publicly for the cause of Christ.
My guess is that America would still be considered a Christian nation with a healthy fear of God and a deep respect for the Holy Bible.
It is my opinion that these women’s prayers were effective because they received a holy unction to pray where and when they did. Just as Philip had a directive from God to meet up with Ethiopian Eunuch, these women seem to have felt that their earnest, public prayers were ordered by God.
And because they were ordered by God, they were effective. To attempt such bold, public prayers without God’s anointing and direction would be Pharisaical.
Pit Bull Prayers
What are your Pit Bull Prayers? What needs do you carry in your heart that would motivate you to pray such deep, desperate prayers as these women did?
Let’s talk and pray about it together with confidence and expectation.
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12)
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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)