Orate = The Power of Prayer
Orate = Pray in Latin (Pray without ceasing)
PART FIVE OF SIX
I hear a lot of talk about revival. I think we want it, although it is hard to tell sometimes. I know we pray for it. “Lord, give us revival in this city, in this state, in this nation.” The last true revival in the United States was in 1857. It started through the power of prayer. And it started with a pretty average man named Jeremiah Lanphier.
Lanphier was a single, middle-aged businessman with no children or family. He began to work with the Old Dutch North Church at Fulton and Williams streets (located near the former location of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center) in New York City as a lay minister doing church visitations. Without much success, Lanphier had an idea that local businessmen might like to get out of the office for prayer at noon once a week. So he started planning and passing out flyers for the first meeting.
I am sure Lanphier met the day with much anticipation on the morning of the first meeting, September 23, 1857. Noon came that day, not one person showed up. Lanphier looked at his watch at 12:10, still not one. 12:15 came and went, then 12:25. Finally at 12:30, Jeremiah heard steps. Six total men showed up that first day, and they agreed to meet the next Wednesday.
The next week twenty men showed up. Forty showed up the next week. Then Lanphier decided to make the prayer meeting daily instead of weekly. That very week a terrible financial panic happened; the worst in history. There were runs on banks, people were out of work, and food became scarce. There might have even been a run on toilet paper, who knows? Sound a little familiar?
Soon the meeting had 3,000 attendees, then 10,000 within six months. The meetings were moved to around twenty locations throughout the city. Then noon prayer meetings began to spring up all over the country, in cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago. It is estimated that 150,000 people were saved in New York City through the Fulton Street Revival, and one million souls total.
This was a revival of prayer that united Americans as they prayed together. The format of the meeting was simple: a leader opened the meeting promptly at noon with a hymn, prayer, and Scripture reading not to last longer than ten minutes. Then the meeting was opened for prayer and exhortation. Prayer requests were taken, one by one. A request was given and someone in the meeting immediately prayed for that request. Each prayer was not to exceed five minutes. So it went a little something like this: request, prayer, request, prayer, request, prayer. This went on until 12:55, when the meeting was ended with a closing hymn.
Through this simple meeting and a country crying out to God, the world was changed. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Although I personally believe this country and this world is in dire straits spiritually, it is not too late. The God who saved a million souls through the Fulton Street Revival is still on the throne. Revival starts through the power of prayer. The revival starts with you. The revival starts with me. Let us hit our knees in prayer.
Just for today, start a revival in your own heart. You never know what can happen from there.
Tune in tomorrow for Part Five of Six……
CHAMBERS, TALBOT W. NEW YORK CITY NOON PRAYER MEETING: a Simple Prayer Gathering That Changed the World. ARSENAL PRESS, 2019.
https://www.tkc.edu/stories/new-york-city-landmark-sculpture-relocates-to-kings-lobby/ (Image also courtesy of)