When people gather to pray, things change. We came across these inspiring stories from revival in 1857 and thought it worth sharing:
Compiled by David Smithers
Two Thousand Miles of Prayer
The climax of the awakening came in 1857. Noonday prayer meetings were started in New York, Philadelphia and other cities. Then the movement spread with lightning-like speed throughout the land. In Philadelphia it is said that three thousand people attended the noonday prayer meetings, and in Chicago some two thousand were in attendance day by day. In one of Mr. Finney's meetings in Boston a man arose and said: I am from Omaha, in Nebraska. On my journey East I have found a continuous prayer meeting all the way. We call it two thousand miles from Omaha to Boston; and here was a prayer meeting about two thousand miles in extent." The entire country was stirred by these noonday prayer meetings. Rev. John Shearer in his book on "Old Time Revivals" said: "In answer to the Church's united cry, ascending from all parts of the land, the Spirit of God in a very quiet way, and suddenly, throughout the whole extent of the United States, renewed the Church's life, and awakened in the community around it a great thirst for God. When the Church awoke to the full consciousness of the miracle, it found that from east and west, and from north and south, the whole land was alive with daily prayer meetings. And it was in these daily united prayer meetings that the great majority of these conversions, of all ages and classes, took place. The divine fire appeared in the most unlikely quarters. A large number of the elderly were converted and gathered in. White-haired penitents knelt with little children at the Throne of Grace. Whole families of Jews were brought to their Messiah.Deaf mutes were reached by the glad tidings, and though their tongues were still, their faces so shone that they became effective messengers of the gospel. The most hardened infidelswere melted, some being led to Christ by the hand of a little child." Continuous Prayer C. H. Spurgeon commenting on this great move of the Spirit said: "In the City of New York at this present moment, there is not, I believe one single hour of the day where Christians are not gathered together for prayer. One church opens its doors from 5 o'clock till six for prayer; another church opens from six to seven and summons its praying men to offer the sacrifice of supplication. Six o'clock is past, and men are gone to theirlabor . Another class find it then convenient - such as those, perhaps, who go to business at eight or nine - and from seven to eight there is another prayer meeting. From eight to nine there is another, in another part of the city, and what is most marvelous, at high noon, from twelve to one, in the midst of the city of New York, there is held a prayer meeting in a large room, which is crammed to the doors every day, with hundreds standing outside. This prayer meeting is made up of merchants of the city, who can spare a quarter of an hour to go in and say word of prayer and then leave again; and then a fresh company come in to fill up the ranks, so that it is supposed that many hundreds assemble in that one place for prayer during the appointed hour. This is the explanation of the revival!"
Prayer: A Divine Attraction
Samuel Prime in his book "The Power of Prayer" described the effects the revival had upon New York City, "The prayer-meeting became one of the institutions of the city. Christians in distant parts of the country heard of them. They prayed for the prayer-meetings. When they visited the city, the prayer-meeting was the place to which they resorted. The museum or theatre had no such attractions. Returning, they set up similar meetings at home. The Spirit followed, and the same displays of grace were seen in other cities, and in the country, that were so marvelous in New York. So the work spread, until the year has become remarkable in the history of the Church. This revival is to be remembered through all coming ages as simply an answer to prayer.
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