I was very moved Saturday morning by an article sent out by the executives of the denomination I belong to. It was a call to prayer and it contained a reminder about how the Second Great Awakening in America came about.
The Second Awakening? Which was the First? It happened in the American colonies in the middle of the 18th century people felt a deep need of salvation in Jesus Christ. George Whitefield was a leader in this Awakening.
The Second Awakening was sparked by a businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier and is often referred to as the “Prayer Meeting Revival.” In a small church in downtown New York he called for a noon-hour prayer meeting; the first one on September 23, 1857.
Five people joined Jeremiah on the first Wednesday prayer meeting. The next week 20 people came, and the following week 40 people showed up to pray. Then the prayer meeting grew to 100, and soon others were starting prayer meetings.
In the midst of this the financial market crashed; people panicked. That paved the way for revival. The prayer meetings were then held daily and there was scarcely a street in New York that didn’t have a noon-day prayer meeting. Soon it was reported that more than 6,000 were attending the meetings.
This prayer revival spread to other big cities, like Boston, Chicago, Buffalo, Newark, and Washington D.C. Businesses would close at noon and put up signs that they would reopen after the prayer meeting.
There were towns where everybody was converted. Within two years from that first prayer meeting where only five people showed up, one million people were converted!
Four decades later, at the turn of the century, came the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, initiated in Topeka, Kansas, where a group of students were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. That event gave place for the great Pentecostal revival that has spread all over the world and is still impacting people globally.
I was pondering the great impact prayer has, and thinking that if God did it then he can do it now. I was so engrossed in this that I didn’t even bother to get dressed. No one visits me and especially not on a Saturday morning. But I got a visitor!
It was a woman who had come to me some years ago in a very sorry condition. She has now turned her life around and is living for God. The last week she has been devouring the Word and can’t get enough of it. She didn’t mind that I was still in my nightgown and she wanted was prayer, that I should lay hand on her. And she wanted to share a special assignment the Lord has given her.
She is to pray for a Holy Spirit Tsunami from the North and the South, and the East and the West. To add to the excitement was a confirmation she received on a television program. The preacher said exactly the same words. And now I am passing them on, hoping that you will feel inspired to pray for a Holy Spirit Tsunami.
The tsunami waves are caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, let’s say from the ocean, and do not resemble normal waves. They more resemble a rapidly rising tide and their destructive power can be enormous.
What would a tsunami of the Holy Spirit look like? We don’t know! The story of the prayer meeting in New York that caused such a great revival is not unique. Through the ages God has always had his representatives that have turned the world upside down, or should I say right side up? There is no telling the powerful things that can happen when someone starts praying—really praying!
2 Chronicles 7:14,15
If my people, who are called by my name,
- will humble themselves and
- pray and
- seek my face and
- turn from their wicked ways,
then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.