[b]HOW REVIVAL HAPPENED - 1857[/b]
2 Chron 7:14: "If my people who are called by My Name (1) humble
themselves, and (2) pray, and (3) seek My face, and (4) turn from
their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, forgive their sin,
and heal their land."
When we study the USA Revival of 1857 we discover the same
four conditions were fulfilled and as a result, God "healed the land."
This marvellous Revival began with just one man and his failure
of a prayer-meeting! But it ended with two million people converted
on both sides of the Atlantic--"The Second Evangelical Awakening"
(Dr. Edwin Orr).
Jeremiah Lanphier was a recently-appointed 49 year-old home
missioner of the North Dutch Church, New York. He advertised a
noon-to-one prayer meeting to give "businessmen an opportunity
to stop and call upon God."
At noon on 23 September he opened the door and waited. Twenty,
30 minutes passed. No one came. At last one person appeared.
Then another. Finally six New Yorkers were present to pray.
Next Wednesday a mere 22 people came. Lanphier's predecessor
had held a similar weekly prayer meeting and been forced to close
through lack of interest. Jeremiah must have wondered if his prayer
meeting was heading the same way.
But the following Wednesday coincided with the greatest financial
crash in the nation's history. Banks closed. Businesses shut their
doors. Suddenly men were out of work. Starvation loomed. Those
who had been too busy or proud to pray were now desperate in
their need for God. Soon the prayer meeting was filled to overflowing
and within six months 10,000 businessmen were publicly praying
daily in the churches of New York.
Reporters sent to cover the meetings noted that it was entirely a
layman's movement with no preaching, and just five minutes per
person per prayer! A five minute exhortation was permitted,
sometimes creating dramatic scenes. One on the need for
repentance made a would-be murderer and suicide cry out,
"What must I do to be saved?"
Taking New York's example, right across America theatres,
churches, halls were opened for prayer and thousands came. One
man reported travelling from Omaha to Boston and finding "a
continuous prayer meeting all the way--a prayer meeting about
2,000 miles in extent."
Conversions began to take place, often in the meetings themselves.
A scene from a united interdenominational prayer meeting in
Michigan: "'A praying wife requests prayers for her unconverted
husband.' Immediately a large man arose and said, 'I am that
man! I have a praying wife. Please pray for me.' Then another
arose in sobs, saying, 'That man is me. I have a praying wife.'
Another five convicted husbands then rose requesting prayer for
their conversion and the power of God came upon the meeting."
Soon the number of reported conversions reached 7,000 a day
and over two years the churches of America averaged 10,000
new members each week.
Britain followed America's example. Prayer meetings multiplied.
Within a year another million had been converted to Christ.
This great revival had no revivalist, no leader, no preaching. It was
proof that prayer and prayer alone can bring the presence of God
not just into meetings but over whole nations.
An intensity of prayer is the one indispensable in a genuine
outpouring of the Spirit of God.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon