The convergence of emotion, the fluidity of gender categories, public/private coincidence, manly pluck, and notions of transaction took place in the primary ritual of the revival, the prayer meeting. This chapter examines prayer as a platform for “giving the heart to God” in exchange for certain favors which—as was the revival practice—were boldly voiced to the congregation, to the persons assembled for the prayer meeting. Prayer was the ritual centerpiece of the Businessmen's Revival. It took the form of emotional excitement, but was regulated as well. It had forced Bostonians to reflect upon the fine line between excitement and overexcitement, in the economy as elsewhere. Bostonians linked masculinity to the public announcement of one's beliefs. Public prayer, associated with revival, was a badge of such masculinity, a mark of a man's courage. Revivalgoers trusted in the efficacy of prayer and came to meetings determined to transact with God through prayer. Emotion was like electricity moving through the telegraph line to God, who would respond to the sender upon receiving the message. The notion of emotion as a publicly traded commodity was central to the success of the revival.
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