161 YEARS AGO TODAY … AMERICA’S 3RD GREAT AWAKENING BEGAN!
Oh, it did not look like it … not at the beginning! Jeremiah Lanphier had been passing out handbills, announcing a “Prayer Meeting” at the North Dutch Church on Fulton Street, downtown New York City during the lunch hour from Noon till 1:00 p.m. It was to include “singing, prayer and exhortation – no one to take more than 5 minutes” or a bell would ring to tell you to stop and let someone else pray.
At noon, September 23, 1857, he climbed the stairs to the room on the Third Floor where the meeting was to be held. He knelt at noon and began praying … ALONE! Ten minutes later … still alone … 20 minutes … alone … 30 minutes into the prayer time and he heard the door downstairs open as one man climbed the stairs and without saying a word, joined him on his knees to pray … then another … then another … until by 1:00 there were six men in prayer. SIX MEN … and it began with just ONE! The next week, there were 20.
“By the first week in October the meetings were being held daily and the number increased to FORTY. By the fourth week attendance averaged over ONE HUNDRED with many under conviction and inquiring how they might be saved! New York was to see a great need for God when on October 18th, a financial panic seized the city, collapsing the economy into a brief but steep recession. ‘The Fulton Street Meetings,’ as they became known, soon filled all the rooms at the North Dutch Church and spilled over into the nearby John Street Methodist Church. Soon many other churches were opening their doors at noon and before work in the morning. Even police stations and firehouses opened their doors to meet the need for places to pray. Within SIX months, TEN THOUSAND businessmen were gathering for prayer daily! Although the revival was the most spectacular in New York City, businessmen’s prayer meetings sprang up in many cities around the country. Within the next two years approximately ONE MILLION CONVERTS were added to the churches of America.” (Excerpt taken from “The One Year Book of Christian History,” written by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten, Tyndale Publishers)
Are we ever going to stop our flashy, showy, Christian entertainment in the church in America today to ask ourselves “WHY?” … why, if we are “doing such a great job” in our “Contemporary Worship Services” in America … have we not yet impressed the heart of God … that He would “visit” us again in God empowered REVIVAL and SPIRITUAL AWAKENING?!
To quote Leonard Ravenhill … “The one main reason WHY there is no heaven sent REVIVAL in AMERICA today is because WE ARE CONTENT TO LIVE WITHOUT IT!”
We do not deserve it … but oh, wouldn’t it be awesome to see God exalted again in America, with millions giving their heart and life to Jesus Christ … the only source of forgiveness, freedom from sin and eternal life! Oh LORD, hear … Oh LORD, come, visit, move … REVIVE and AWAKEN … FOR YOUR GLORY!