It Starts with One
As we look at revivals in the Bible and at historical revivals, we see they often began with one individual, one person who decided to do something. Jeremiah Lanphier was a businessman who began a lunchtime prayer meeting on Fulton Street in downtown New York. A handful of people showed up at the first meeting on September 23, 1857 at North Dutch Church. Lanphier was persistent, however, and the group continued to meet for prayer and continued to grow.
Then something dramatic took place: The New York stock market crashed. Suddenly the prayer meeting began to explode. Prayer meetings quickly popped up throughout New York City, and within six months, ten thousand people were gathering for prayer in the Big Apple. It was unexplainable. They were renting concert halls and Broadway theatres for daily 6:00 AM, 9:00 AM, and noon meetings, packing them out as men and women called on the name of the Lord. And God began to work.
It was reported that 50,000 New Yorkers came to know the Lord during a period of three months in 1858, from March to May. Ten thousand people were added to church membership rolls weekly. The revival spread to other cities as well, and when it was all over, an estimated one million people had come to faith in Christ.
This revival from 1857 to 1859 became part of what is known as the Third Great Awakening in the United States. The revival wasn’t orchestrated. It wasn’t a campaign planned by people. It simply was a work of God in which God poured out His Spirit. We need to see that today.
Jeremiah Lanphier was not a great preacher. He was not a famous person. He was just an ordinary person who decided to pray. And you can do the same.