Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The 1857 PRAYER REVIVAL in AMERICA
extracts by Wesley Duewal.

A quiet, zealous forty-six-year-old businessman in New York was 
appointed on July 1,1857 , as a missionary in downtown New York 
at the Dutch Church. Jeremiah Lamphier had been converted in 
1842 in Broadway Tabernacle, Finney's church that was built in 1836.

Lamphier felt led by God to start a noon-time weekly prayer meeting 
in which business people could meet for prayer. Anyone could 
attend, for a few minutes or for the entire hour. Prayers were to 
be comparatively brief. Lamphier's group met on the third floor of 
the old North Dutch Reformed Church on Fulton Street in New York. 
Lamphier printed some handbills announcing the prayer meetings 
with the title, "How Often Should I Pray?" 

The first day, September 23, 1857, Lamphier prayed alone for half 
an hour. But by the end of the hour, six men from at least four 
denominational backgrounds joined him. The next Wednesday 
there were twenty. On October 7 there were nearly forty. The 
meeting was so blessed that they decided to meet daily. One
week later there were over one hundred present, including many 
unsaved who were convicted by the Holy Spirit of their sin.

Within one month pastors who had attended the noon prayer 
meetings in Fulton Street started morning prayer meetings in 
their own churches. Soon the places where the meetings were 
held were overcrowded. Men and women, young and old of all 
denominations met and prayed together without distinctions. The 
meetings abounded with love for Christ, love for fellow Christians, 
love for prayer, and love of witnessing. Those in attendance felt 
an awesome sense of God's presence. They prayed for specific 
people, expected answers, and obtained answers.

Newspapers began to report on the meetings and the unusual spirit 
of prayer that was evident. Within three months similar meetings 
had sprung up across America. Thousands began praying in these 
services and in their own homes.... By the end of March over six 
thousand people met daily in prayer gatherings in New York City. 

Meetings began in February in Philadelphia. Soon Jayne's Hall 
was overfilled, and meetings were held at noon each day in public 
halls, concert halls, fire stations, houses, and tents. The whole 
city exuded a spirit of prayer.

Almost simultaneously noon prayer meetings sprang up all across 
America in Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, 
Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, New Orleans, Vicksburg, Memphis, 
St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, and in a multitude of 
other cities, towns, and in rural areas. By the end of the fourth 
month, prayer fervor burned intensely across the nation. It was an
awesome but glorious demonstration of the sovereign working of 
the Holy Spirit and the eager obedience of God's people.

INVISIBLE CLOUD of GOD'S PRESENCE

A canopy of holy and awesome revival influence - in reality the 
presence of the Holy Spirit - seemed to hang like an invisible cloud 
over many parts of the United States, especially over the eastern 
seaboard. At times this cloud of God's presence even seemed to 
extend out to sea. Those on ships approaching the east coast at 
times felt a solemn, holy influence, even one hundred miles away,
without even knowing what was happening in America.

Revival began aboard one ship before it reached the coast. People 
on board began to feel the presence of God and a sense of their 
own sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicted them, and they began 
to pray. As the ship neared the harbor, the captain signaled, 
"Send a minister." Another small commercial ship arrived in port 
with the captain, and every member of the crew converted in the
last 150 miles. Ship after ship arrived with the same story: both 
passengers and crew were suddenly convicted of sin and turned 
to Christ before they reached the American coast.

HOMES, SHOPS, FIELDS and CHURCHES

Reports came in of hundreds being converted in prayer meetings, 
private homes, workshops, and fields. Often the doors of businesses 
held signs reading, "Closed, will reopen at the close of the prayer 
meeting." Five prayer meetings took place daily in Washington, 
D.C. Five thousand or so attended daily services in the Academy 
of Music Hall.

In Philadelphia, Jayne's Hall removed partitions and added space 
for six thousand people to attend daily meetings.... The services 
consisted of simple prayer, confession, exhortation, and singing. 
But it was "so earnest, so solemn, the silence. ..so awful, the 
singing. ..so over-powering" that the meetings were unforgettable. 
A canvas tent was erected for outdoor meetings, and it immediately 
filled with people. In four months' time, a total of 150,000 people 
attended the ministry in the tent, with many conversions..... the 
best estimates are that 6.6 percent of the entire population of the 
United States was converted during the revival.

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