later, to pray together. Others joined them. To quote George Williams' own words: "We met, our numbers increased, and the room was soon crammed. In answer to prayer, the Spirit of God was with us and we had conversions."
The urge he had at Bridgwater to induce others of his own age to share his spiritual experience had by this time, become a passion. He adopted a system of selecting names of certain people for whom prayer was made that they would adopt the Christian way of life. These names he entered in his diary together with notes indicating what results ensued. George Williams had an unfaltering faith in the efficacy of prayer.
The increasing number of participants in those Bible classes and prayer meetings showed that a positive power was at work. More accommodation was requested for new groups and room after room was made available for these purposes; Early Morning Prayer Meetings, Bible Classes and Discussion Groups. It all appears extraordinary in a drapery establishment but not more extraordinary than the gathering for "Prayers" of groups of miners near the bottom of colliery shafts at the start of the daay's stint, during the period of the Welsh Revival.
A Missionary Society was formed by members of the staff of Hitchcock and Rogers and thus was initiated the overseas work of the YMCA, which today is an indispensable service to the youth of many lands.
The build up of religious and spiritual activities over a period of years, in a business house, was astonishing. George Williams and his co workers had made a dynamic impact on the staff of Hitchcock and Rogers. In 1841 he, and two or three colleagues, stood alone, but in two or three years they were the accepted leaders of a spiritual movement in a large and prominent London business house. It was in reality, the result of an organised evangelical campaign. Prayer was the means of their approach. The head of the firm, Mr. Hitchcock, was among those for whom prayer was made. Later he too became concerned about the spiritual welfare of his staff. Considerable
support and encouragement co-workers. Mr. Hitchcock prayers, the Bible study, programme and, later, the
were given by him to George Williams and his appointed a chaplain to direct the early morning and the organisation of the Missionary Society organisation of a Mutual Improvement Society.
About 1843, a new venture
was underway. Hitherto, the prayer campaign was
confined to the staff of Hitchcock and Rogers. Signs were already visible of a hankering after some kind of forward movement to introduce the evangelical efforts of George Williams and his friends to other business establishments. With a semblance of commercial logic, they reasoned that if their efforts had succeeded in one business house, why should it not be so in other spheres?
The idea had been simmering in the mind of George Williams for some time but it was first mentioned to his close friend Edward Beaumont. A few days later it was discussed with a group of friends after a prayer meeting. The suggestion received enthusiastic approval; it was like the seed that fell into fertile soil. It was decided to convene a meeting of all committed Christians in the Hitchcock establishment to consider forming a society or an association to proceed with these expansion concepts and, if approved,
to implement them.
The meeting was called for 6th June, 1844
. To this memorable meeting came
twelve young men all of whom had participated in the prayer campaign among their own shop assistants.