The history of Pray’s Mill Baptist Church is rich and full with meaning. Pray’s Mill was Douglas County’s first Baptist Church, born by the will and Providence of God in the heart of a northerner named Ephraim Pray. Born in Augusta, Maine in 1809, Mr. Pray was in his early twenties when he came to Green County, Georgia, to erect two water powered mills. He traveled to the Douglasville area and purchased several land lots along Dog River, resulting from a land lottery disposing of territory once owned by Indians who had been resettled in Oklahoma. He paid 50 cents an acre in gold coins. He subsequently built a homestead, along with a sawmill, flour mill and grist mill on the banks of Trout Creek (now known as Dog River).
Mr. Pray was a prominent leader in the community. When the population began to grow, he saw the need for a church. He called the men of the settlement together and presented a proposal which resulted in Mr. Pray deeding twelve acres of land, (for education and religious purposes), together with a free flowing spring and sufficient land for a cemetery.
With lumber from Pray’s sawmill, a church building was soon erected. Previously agreed upon as Baptist in denomination, Pray’s co-workers wanted to name the church in his honor. He did not agree, so it was named for his sawmill – Pray’s Mill Baptist Church. The first services were held in January 1842.*
*Excerpted and summarized from the Pray’s Mill History Book compiled in 1992 for our 150th anniversary.
In those early years people were baptized in Dog River. The first church building had no heat nor indoor plumbing. Over the years the church grew into what it is today. An unashamedly conservative, evangelical, Southern Baptist Church, winning souls through the preaching of God’s inerrant word, the Bible.
As you can see, our history is rich and full of meaning. We continue to live out “the rest of the story.” While we have been tremendously blessed in the past, we believe our greatest days are still before us. To God be the glory, great things He has done, is doing and is yet to do.