March 28: Prayer Revival in New York City

For a few days we’ll be sharing some of the contemporaneous newspaper accounts of the Prayer Meeting Revival in New York City. This article is from the February after the Prayer Meeting Revival started on September 23rd, 1857.

The Washington Union. (D.C.), February 21, 1858, Page 3. On the Revival in New York City
The Washington Union. (D.C.), February 21, 1858, Page 3. On the Revival in New York City

March 27: The Prayer Revival hits the Wire Services

At noon on September 23rd, 1857, Jeremiah Lanphier put out a sign advertising a prayer meeting. We introduced the “Prayer Meeting Revival” yesterday – for the next few days we’ll share some newspaper stories from the time. This article was syndicated across several newspapers.

Evening Star. (Washington, D.C.) November 10, 1857, Page 1 - The Noon-Day Prayer Meeting
Evening Star. (Washington, D.C.) November 10, 1857, Page 1 – The Noon-Day Prayer Meeting

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

James 5:13

March 26: The Prayer Revival

The King’s College recently acquired a statue of Jeremiah Lanphier, produced by the American Bible Society for the 150th anniversary of the Prayer Meeting Revival.

Jeremiah Lanphier statue, photo from The King's College
Jeremiah Lanphier statue, photo from The King’s College

The King’s College tells the story behind this statute:

Lanphier was a New York City businessman living during a tumultuous time in the history of New York City and the United States. Economic depression and political division over the issue of slavery marked America’s public life. In New York City, whose population was 800,000, 30,000 men lingered idle and drunk in the streets, and unemployment plagued the city.

Lanphier’s church had relocated north from the corner of Fulton and William Streets, and knocking on doors and sharing the gospel had made little difference in Lanphier’s mission efforts. Eventually, he realized the need for prayer, and began distributing thousands of flyers advertising a prayer meeting at noon in a church on Fulton Street, to be held on September 23, 1857.

For the first half hour of the meeting, no one came. Then five people arrived, and they prayed together. From Jeremiah’s flyers and by word of mouth, the invitation spread.

In a matter of weeks, thousands were gathering to pray in New York each week. From there, prayer meetings spread across the United States, and eventually, as many as 10,000 people per week were professing faith in Christ in New York City alone.

September 18: God uses a 2-week-old newspaper!

Daniel W. Whittle
Daniel W. Whittle

Daniel Whittle reports how God works even when we think it’s hopeless – for how much more hopeless can things get than a 2 week old newspaper?

“I had another acquaintance who was also greatly distressed. With a wife and family to care for, and all his means gone, and no prospect of employment, he was in trouble indeed. We induced him to present his case for prayer here, as it would encourage him to have others pray for him.

Then we inserted an advertisement in one of the daily papers, offering his services, hoping the Lord would bless the means used and answer prayer. Day by day passed, but no response came.

Some two weeks after the advertisement was inserted, a merchant picked up an old paper, and noticing the advertisement, showed it to his partner, remarking, ‘Why, this is just the man we need.’ Observing the old date on the paper, his partner said he thought it would be too late to respond; but the trial was made.

The man was requested to call, and proved to be just what these merchants had been wishing for, and was very quickly engaged. He feels that the Heavenly Father who cares for the sparrows, undoubtedly met his need, and that all the circumstances connected with the case were providential.”

September 17: A Double Prayer Answered

Daniel Whittle brings another answered prayer (and a bonus) from the Prayer meeting revival!

Daniel W. Whittle
Daniel W. Whittle

At the Fulton Street prayer-meeting a number of remarkable cases were related of real answers to prayer for recovery to health, and obtaining of positions.

“I must tell you how God has been answering prayer, for his glory and for your encouragement. Your prayers were asked for a sick wife. She was thought by the doctors to be beyond recovery, but in response to prayer God spared her life, and she and her husband returned their heartfelt thanks to Him. But there was another trouble. The husband had long needed employment, and was in great pecuniary distress. He had been praying for help, beseeching the Lord to open up a way for him. But help did not come, and the cloud seemed darker, and the poor man got discouraged. Friends begged him to hope on, and not to give up his trust in that God who, in answer to prayer, had raised his sick wife to health. He continued to pray, and on the long, dark night, morning at last dawned. He is now in a good position, and sends a request to friends to thank God with him for this two-fold goodness of the Lord.

September 16: He didn’t keep his promise, but God did

Daniel W. Whittle
Daniel W. Whittle

Daniel Whittle shares another account from the Fulton Street Prayer Meeting. Often we hear of people bargaining with God. Some like Louis Zamperini bargained with God (as recorded in the book and film, “Unbroken”) but eventually followed thru. Others, well… let’s pick up with Daniel Whittle’s account:

A remarkable instance of how God keeps his promises and is faithful, and how man often forgets to keep his, and at last receives deserved punishment for his thanklessness to God, was recently related in the Fulton Street prayer-meeting.

A very urgent case was presented by a friend. He said: “A friend of mine is seeking Jesus. A little while ago his only child lay near death. He prayed God to restore her to health, promising to serve the Lord for the rest of his life if the child’s life was spared. His daughter recovered, but the man forgot the promise he had made and sought not after God. In a very little while the child was suddenly taken sick again, and almost as suddenly died. The father remembered his vows, and feels that this is God’s solemn warning to him to seek the Savior.”