The Way Up is Down (Pt. 3)

My Masters’ thesis contained another description of a “Call 2 Fall” in 1857 that brought a great revival to America during the Civil War. Here is the brief story:

“One of the most unusual prayer movements of the period was the lay-led “noon prayer meetings” that helped ignite the Great Revival of 1857. The man most credited with this prayer revival was Jeremiah Lanphier, a New York merchant.

On September 23, 1857, Lanphier climbed creaking stairs to the third story of an old church building on Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan and sat down to wait. He’d place a sign on the street below that read “Prayer Meeting from 12 to 1 o’clock—Stop 5, 10, or 20 minutes, or the whole hour as your time admits.” For months few had joined him. This particular week, six people eventually trudged in. The following week twenty had gathered to pray, and the next week—forty.

On October 14, 1857 the nation was staggered by the worst financial panic in its history. Banks closed, men were out of work, and families went hungry. In a few short weeks, the Fulton Street Prayer Meeting had taken over the whole building with crowds of more than 3,000.  Within six months, 10,000 businessmen (out of a population of 800,000) were gathering daily in New York City for prayer.

The revival of prayer soon jumped the Atlantic Ocean to Great Britain and Europe and spread across the United States, impacting most of the major cities in the nation. After a number of years, and continuing during the American Civil War, it is estimated that more than one million people came to Christ including 43,388 Southern Methodists, 135,517 Northern Methodists, and 92,243 Baptists.  This particular prayer movement was mostly led by laymen, not clergy, and certainly formed the backdrop of the large missionary surge that went around the world in the coming decades.”

I personally feel that a major financial downturn or double-dip recession is very likely in the not-so-distant future. Why? Because as Abraham Lincoln so wisely said during those difficult Civil War years:

“We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

Those words were uttered by our nation’s greatest president to ask the people of America to fall on their knees in prayer and humiliation on April 30, 1963. God heard their prayers and brought victory and blessing to our nation.

June 29, 2014 is our day–our time. Will you go to your knees in prayer? Will you mobilize your church and Christian friends to participate in national repentance and renewal?

Sometimes the way up is down.

May this Sunday’s Call 2 Fall  become a new beginning of faith and freedom in the United States and all over the world.

Ron Boehme is Director of YWAM US Renewal

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