Once again last week’s Newfrontiers leaders’ days of prayer and fasting were truly memorable as hundreds gathered to seek God. For me the highlight was the awesome word brought to us by Neville Jones from CCK, Brighton, who with remarkable authority and anointing spoke of an underground lake of blessing that is growing inexorably with inevitable blessing that’s going to break out. My faith, along with many others, soared with real joy and anticipation.
We returned to a memorable early morning Friday prayer meeting here in Brighton when once again God’s promise of coming blessing captivated our hearts and certainly stirred me to the depths.
I continue to read books on Revival, as I feel God has prompted me to, and I am now half-way through Colin Whittaker’s Great Revivals (reviewed earlier in my book review section of this website).
Here are some excerpts from his report of the 1858 awakening in New York.
‘Joseph Lanphier decided to invite others to join him in a noonday prayer meeting every Wednesday in Fulton Street, New York. It was timed to last one hour with the usual proviso for such midday meetings that people were free to come when they could and go when they must.
‘Lanphier opened the doors for the first meeting on the 23rd September 1857 at noon and waited for people to come. 5 minutes went by, 20 minutes, 25, 30, and then at 12.30pm he heard on the stairs the first person who joined him. A few moments later there was another and another until they numbered 6 and the prayer meeting began. On the following Wednesday, the 6 increased to 20. On the third week there were 40 intercessors.
‘The week following there was a great financial crash and ensuing panic as banks failed following a great year of recession. The atmosphere was ripe for God to move.
‘The prayer meeting grew to 100, then others began to start prayer meetings; at last there was scarcely a street in New York that was without a prayer meeting.
‘By the beginning of 1858 the Fulton Street prayer meeting was so crowded that they were trying to accommodate the numbers by holding three simultaneous prayer meetings in rooms on different floors in the same building. They then moved to a large theatre where 3,000 gathered to pray.
‘The newspapers began to sit up and to report. It was front page news that over 6,000 were attending daily prayer meetings in New York. The river of revival blessing was at the flood and soon it burst its banks and flowed across the nation, until literally every part of the American nation was affected.
By May it was reliably estimated that there were 50,000 conversions in New York, the population of which was then around 800,000.’
It was this Revival and the following 1859 Revival in Ulster, and indeed across the UK, which stirred Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones to preach his memorable series of sermons on Revival at Westminster Chapel in 1959, a century later, in commemoration of this phenomenal time of God’s blessing. I continue to work my way through the Doctor’s great sermons on the Revival theme. The 1859 Revival is superbly researched in J Edwin Orr’s magnificent The Second Great Awakening. Sadly my copy was borrowed some time ago but I can’t remember by whom. If anyone reading this blog is tinged with a moment of conviction, please get immediate release by returning the book to me.
Colin Whittaker reports that Edwin Orr’s research endorsed the estimate ‘that fully one million were converted out of a population of less than thirty million, in the Revival in the two-year period 1858-59.’ He adds, ‘It was the most widespread awakening America had experienced. The results were nationwide and ultimately worldwide.’
Certainly many pioneer missionaries who followed such men as James Hudson-Taylor to China were saved and captivated by God in the surging Revival that swept across the UK in 1859.
Won’t you join me in regularly asking God to do it again?