This is the sixth and final post in my blog series, titled: The Price of Liberty. If you’re just now starting the series, you can begin with the first post here.
During the middle of the nineteenth century, spiritual conditions in the United States deteriorated considerably. Conditions were quite different then because the nation had moved away from its early days of godliness. Moreover, people became obsessed with making money, and as they prospered they turned their backs on God.
Then a man named Jeremiah Lanphier began a prayer meeting in the upper room of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Manhattan section of New York City. After advertising the prayer meeting in the city papers, only six people showed up—out of a population of nearly one million. The following week, 14 people came. The next week 23 people made their way to the prayer meeting. These diligent, earnest people decided to meet daily. Soon they filled the Dutch Reformed Church, the John Street Methodist Church, and numerous buildings in downtown New York. Before long, a landslide of prayer began.
People were converted at the rate of 10,000 a week in New York City, and the movement spread rapidly throughout New England. Church bells would bring people together to pray at 8:00 in the morning, at 12 noon, and at 6:00 in the evening. The revival raced up the Hudson River and down the Mohawk River. Within a year, more than one million people were converted.
The prayer revival even crossed the Atlantic. It broke out in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. It even traveled to the southern part of India and other parts of the world. The effect of this prayer revival was felt for 40 years! The revival began in a movement of prayer and was sustained by a movement of prayer. It lasted for a generation, but at the turn of the century the nation again needed an awakening.
Special prayer meetings began at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago; at the Keswick Convention in England; in the Nilgiri Hills of India; in Melbourne, Australia; and at Wonsan, Korea. All around the world people were united in prayer for God to send a new awakening. In 1905, God answered these prayers, just as He had earlier. Some interesting statistics that resulted from the meetings are:
- Twenty-five percent of the students at Yale University were enrolled in prayer meetings and Bible studies.
- In Portland, Oregon, 250 store owners closed from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day for prayer. They signed an agreement among themselves that no one would cheat and stay open.
- Five years later, J. P. Morgan wrote a book that tried to debunk the revival. His main criticism was that of the 100,000 people who joined churches in the five months of revival, only 80,000 remained in the church after five years—that is, 80,000 out of the original 100,000 converted!
- In the same year, the famous Welsh revival broke out and had an astounding impact on Welsh society. Judges were presented with white gloves because they had no cases to try—no rapes, no robberies, no murders, no embezzlements. The district counselors held an emergency meeting to discuss what to do with the police!
How we yearn for a return to such days! Our fervent prayer today should be, “Lord Jesus, come quickly—or send us a revival.”
Change will happen when we repent.
Change will happen when we call our nation to repentance. Change will happen when the nation’s citizens insist that the biblical principles of its founding fathers be reinstated by Congress, thus overturning the Supreme Court’s bad decisions.
Change will happen when we again honor motherhood and see children as gifts from God. Change will occur when fathers take their rightful place as head of the home.
Finally, change will take place when our nation returns to the God of its fathers and understands anew the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom (see Proverbs 9:10). Change will also come when once more we start hiding the Word of God in our hearts. We stand with Andrew Jackson who, while pointing to the Bible, said, “That book, Sir, is the Rock upon which our republic rests.”
Let us take to heart Jackson’s words and put the Bible’s words into practice. Then we can continue to lead the world as a Christian nation. We should desire nothing more nor less.