Monday, March 16, 2015

Might history repeat itself

On September 23, 1857, at high noon, a businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier was sitting near the rear entrance of a Dutch Reformed Church in New York City. He had planned to meet for prayer for anyone willing to join him that day. At 12PM no one arrived. After 10 minutes, Jeremiah was pacing. With 20 minutes gone by, he’d probably given up hope.
                1857 was a hard year for New York City. Unemployment was high in the wake of some unprofitable speculation. When Jeremiah Lanphier looked at the city and its challenges, he could have started getting involved in a myriad of ways. He could have opened a soup kitchen, started job training courses, or began teaching immigrants English.
What moved him, however, was a call to see people begin again to pray for the city. And so he printed a small invitation and began passing them out on the streets of New York City. Here is some of what was written on this card:

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 am made sensible of any spiritual declension or feel the aggression of a worldly spirit.

In prayer we leave the business of time for that of eternity, and intercourse with men for intercourse with God.

A day Prayer Meeting is held every Wednesday, from 12 to 1 o'clock, in the Consistory building in the rear of the North Dutch Church, corner of Fulton and William Streets (entrance from Fulton and Ann Streets).

This meeting is intended to give merchants, mechanics, clerks, strangers, and businessmen generally an opportunity to stop and call upon God amid the perplexities incident to their respective avocations. It will continue for one hour; but it is also designed for those who may find it inconvenient to remain more than five or ten minutes, as well as for those who can spare the whole hour.

                Back at the first prayer meeting, Jeremiah waited a full 30 minutes before he heard the footsteps of his first prayer warrior. Six people in all showed up at the first prayer meeting. At the next meeting  40 people gathered. Before one month had elapsed, the prayer meeting moved from weekly to daily. After 1 year, 5,000 citizens of NYC were praying daily.
                So too, prayer meetings sprung up across the nation…in Baltimore, Richmond, Charleston, Chicago and the like. In due time there was revival across the US, in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Australia. Many people believe the call to pray from Jeremiah Lanphier was God’s means to raise up the great ministries of DL Moody, the Salvation Army, the missionary to China Hudson Taylor, and the beginning of many Bible training institutes across the globe.

                Why do I recount this history? I tell you because I believe revival is possible. I tell you because I believe revival is common. But most of all to remind us, that revival starts small. It often starts with Christian individuals recommitting to seek the LORD God. It starts with Christians repenting from sin and pleading for grace. It starts with people who hunger for God in Word and prayer.

1 comment:

Nick Pirolo said...

Amen! I pray that we, the church, would have a driving desire to spend time with God. And that we would be changed in his presence. And that the world would be changed as God uses a transformed church.