April 26, 1877: Minnesota, Grasshoppers and Prayer

Greg Strand – April 26, 2016 2 Comments

Each day I receive an email from Christian History that includes historical events of import throughout church history. This one was included today.

On this date in 1877 (April 26, 1877), Minnesota residents observed a “statewide day of prayer”: Grasshopper Plagues, 1873–1877

Residents of Minnesota observe a statewide day of prayer, set by Governor John Sargent Pillsbury, imploring deliverance from a plague of grasshoppers that has been ravaging their crops. Many families are on the verge of starvation. In the next two days warm weather will cause millions of larvae to wiggle to life and skeptics scoff; but a plunge in temperature on the fourth day will freeze and kill them. A chapel will be built at Cold Spring to commemorate the miracle.

As you read, this event occurred in Minnesota and here are some issues of importance:

  • it addresses a catastrophe for a state heavily dependent on agriculture, a grasshopper plague,
  • leaders and people acknowledge their dependency on God through observing a statewide day of prayer,
  • and the kind, good and merciful providence of God is evidenced in warm weather, which caused the grasshoppers to “wiggle to life,” followed by the cold weather, which caused them to die.

Although I live in Minnesota, there is much that has changed since 1877. Each of us could count the ways. However, it is also essential for us to remember that today, April 26, 2016, even though the specific catastrophe has changed, there is much that remains the same, including our dependent response to the Lord in prayer.

  • we live in the midst of a moral catastrophe,
  • we acknowledge our dependency on God through prayer,
  • and we trust in our Father, who is unchanging, and his unfolding good, wise, sovereign and providential plan in and through history.

As we remember this historic date in Minnesota’s history, join me today in expressing our faith, trust and dependency on the Lord through prayer as we live in and respond to the moral catastrophe of our day and as we trust the good, wise and sovereign will and unfolding providential plan of God.

We pray this through Jesus Christ, in/by the Holy Spirit, to the Father.

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

2 responses to April 26, 1877: Minnesota, Grasshoppers and Prayer

  1. Warren E. Anderson April 27, 2016 at 9:54 pm


    How relevant for today! May I use part of this in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper in Eagle River, Wisconsin someday? Thanks.

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