Statue of Jeremiah Lamphier Jin the King's Lobby
on the King's College Campus
in Lower Manhattan
Could America at long last be on the verge of the great revival many of us have prayed for all our lives? I believe it is possible for a reason that you need to judge for yourself.
Four great spiritual awakenings helped to shape American history. What I want to point out is true, to some degree, of all four awakenings, but it is most visible in the prayer revival of 1858.
On March 6, 1857 the United States Supreme Court handed down the Dread Scott decision disallowing African American citizenship and labeling black people as property. This decision further divided churches, states, cities, neighborhoods, and homes. This division ultimately led to a great civil war.
On September 23rd, 1857 a man named Jeremiah Lamphier announced a noon time prayer meeting in The Fulton Street Dutch Reformed Church near Wall Street in New York.
For the first half hour Jeremiah was alone. But before the time was up 6 men showed up to pray. More attended each week. On October 10th the stock market crashed and thousands of people lost everything.
In the ensuing weeks the prayer meeting grew. Each meeting began with a hymn and a short scripture reading. Then they prayed.
They soon had to move to a larger room in the church, then to many churches throughout the city as thousands gathered to pray every day. The press got wind of the prayer meetings, and reports spread to other cities who began similar gatherings. One of the men who showed up that first day had a passion to take the prayer to his hometown of Philadelphia. In a short time as many as 2,500 people were meeting in Philly. The news spread to England and prayer meetings broke out throughout the British Isles.
Now I want to point to something else related to this prayer meeting. You can be sure that God knew the civil war was brewing. Abraham Lincoln believed that war was a divine punishment upon our country for the evil of slavery. I suspect he was right. It is estimated that over a million people trusted their lives to Jesus Christ as a result of the Prayer Revival. Many of those people died in the war, and went to heaven rather than hell because of the revival. I believe that is part of the reason God sent revival when He did.
Our nation is again severely divided. I don't see how our democracy can survive the present hostilities. I would not be surprised if our country were to fall into great calamity, and judgment in the very near future. And I am praying that God will again prepare us for such an ordeal by sending an unprecedented movement of His Spirit. Are you praying for revival?
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