The Power of Prayer

Jeremiah Lanphier helped start a revival in New York City in the late 1850’s. New York City had an unemployment problem, a poverty problem, and an alcohol problem at the time. Jeremiah was a Christian businessman tasked as a city missionary in the heart of the city. He had a burden for the people and had a heart for prayer so he decided to start a weekly prayer meeting. He wrote the following and set out to enlist local business people to his cause.

As often as the language of prayer is in my heart; as often as I see my need of help; as often as I feel the power of temptation; as often as I am made sensible of any spiritual declension or feel the aggression of a worldly spirit.

In prayer we leave the business of time for that of eternity, and intercourse with men for intercourse with God.

A day Prayer Meeting is held every Wednesday, from 12 to 1 o’clock, in the Consistory building in the rear of the North Dutch Church, corner of Fulton and William Streets (entrance from Fulton and Ann Streets).

This meeting is intended to give merchants, mechanics, clerks, strangers, and business men generally an opportunity to stop and call upon God amid the perplexities incident to their respective avocations. It will continue for one hour; but it is also designed for those who may find it inconvenient to remain more than five or ten minutes, as well as for those who can spare the whole hour.

He found himself alone at noon on the day that the meeting was to begin. Thirty minutes went by before the first person arrived. On that first day, a total of six people showed up to pray. Two weeks later there were forty people. Within six months there were 10,000 people praying. Jeremiah’s prayer meeting was a spark that led to approximately 1 million people choosing to follow after Jesus over the span of two years.

It started with a man’s vision to pray. There is power when God’s people gather to pray together. God tells us so in his word and history proves it to be true. Without a commitment to prayer, our churches and communities will lack the power to grow and thrive. We need to commit ourselves to faithful and regular prayer as the people of God.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Are you committed to praying regularly every day?
  2. Are you committed to praying with the rest of the church for your community to love and follow Jesus?
  3. What are the things that you pray for?
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