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.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The 1857 PRAYER REVIVAL in AMERICA
extracts by Wesley Duewal.