An Account of United Prayer

1 Timothy 2:1

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time. 7 And for this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

Having learned of the priority of corporate evangelistic prayer this past Sunday, I thought I’d encourage you with and example from the Revival of 1858 as told by Donald Whitney:

“More dramatic is the story of corporate prayer that preceded the 1858 revival that started in New York and swept across the country, leaped to the British Isles, and to countries around the world.

Jeremiah Lanphier was an inner city missionary associated with the North Dutch Reformed Church located on Fulton Street in New York City. As he was praying for God, direction about the work, he thought that the idea of a noon-time prayer meeting, for businessmen, would be beneficial to them. So he sent out invitations. And on noon September 27th, 1857, he opened the door to a third story lecture room in the church building. For half an hour, he prayed alone.

Then, at 12:30, the steps of a solitary individual was heard upon the stairs and before the hour ended, six men had gathered for a time of brief prayer. The second meeting was held a week later and twenty showed up. One week later, attendance doubled to forty and the group decided to make the prayer meeting a daily event. On October 14th, Lanphier noted that more than a hundred people were present including many who did not know Christ and were asking how to be saved. Within two months, the gathering filled all three of the church’s large lecture rooms. By mid-spring there were noon-time prayer meetings at twenty different locations across the city.

And soon prayer meetings and conversions began to multiply in other cities. And in some areas, prayer meetings that began with six or seven people increased to six or seven thousand. Within months, the impact was felt from coast to coast. They closed down the businesses in the Loop in Chicago so that the men could come together for prayer meetings. You can read about that in the Chicago newspaper archives.

You can read about it in the Denver newspaper archives – that the downtown area shut down so that they could have prayer meetings in the office buildings and in the stores. This is in our country!…

Sometimes as many as fifty thousand people per week were being converted. It’s estimated that out of a population of less than thirty million, a million people professed genuine faith in Christ in one year! Think about that: one in thirty Americans in one year came to faith!

As Christians over in the U.K. heard about this, a similar movement of prayer began and when the power of God fell there in 1859, ten percent of the Irish, Scots, and Welsh populations are believed to have been converted.

And it all started with united prayer “in a small group.”

Transcripted from Donald Whitney’s lecture on the Importance of Corporate Prayer on September 13, 2003 at Bethlehem Bible Church of West Boylston, Mass.