Editor’s note: Diane Hale shared this moving reminder of the power of prayer through her daily devotional Morning Light some time back. God did it before, do you believe He can move mightily in our nation once again? Would you join with MMCW and pray for revival in our nation? Follow us on Facebook as we share scriptures to pray over our nation.
It was 1857. America had been prosperous and felt little need to call on God. In July, a church in New York City was losing members so they contacted a businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier. He was hired to visit the neighbors in an attempt to improve attendance. But his efforts were discouragingly unsuccessful.
So Jeremiah asked, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” The Lord answered with one word, “Prayer.”
In response, he rented a room and advertised a prayer meeting.
His announcement was hauntingly poetic:
When Should I Pray?
As often as the language of prayer is in my heart;
As often as I see my need of help;
As often as I feel the power of temptation;
As often as I become aware of spiritual decline,
Or if I feel the effects of an aggressive worldly spirit.
In prayer we exchange the business of time, for that of eternity.
In prayer we pause from contact with men, for contact from God.
The meeting day arrived and no one showed up. After Jeremiah prayed alone for the first half-hour, about six men wandered in. But the next week, on October 7th, forty intercessors showed up.
On October 10th, 1857 the stockmarket crashed and one of the greatest panics in American history swept away the giddy structure of speculative wealth. Banks failed, factories were shut down and vast numbers of people were abruptly thrown out of employment.
But the prayer meeting was bursting out of the building!
Within six months, ten thousand businessmen were gathering daily for prayer in New York. As a direct result, noontime prayer meetings began breaking out in cities all across the country. Every day buildings across America were jam-packed with people praying. Within two years, a million converts were added to American churches. (Only 30 million people were living in the U.S. at the time.)
The informal prayer meeting style was open for anyone to participate. They could pray aloud, encourage the others with testimony or a song…as long as they finished in five minutes or less. That five-minute limit allowed many seekers to participate. Previously, the church had usually been directed by professional ministers.
Ted Lavigne, a pastor and historian, says simply, “This ‘prayer meeting’ revival brought conviction to America, and it can happen again when the conditions are met. People prayed, God moved.”
Our hope is not for the disintegration of the financial system, but that God would bless us and make us a blessing. In light of the troubling times on Wall Street, CBN.com published a fascinating 3-minute clip. (Click on the link below. Then click play below the Fulton sign). Be inspired by this revolution that God sparked through this humble businessman. Forward it to your friends; meet and pray. Who knows? Maybe He will spark a revolution through you!