March 26: The Prayer Revival

The King’s College recently acquired a statue of Jeremiah Lanphier, produced by the American Bible Society for the 150th anniversary of the Prayer Meeting Revival.

Jeremiah Lanphier statue, photo from The King's College
Jeremiah Lanphier statue, photo from The King’s College

The King’s College tells the story behind this statute:

Lanphier was a New York City businessman living during a tumultuous time in the history of New York City and the United States. Economic depression and political division over the issue of slavery marked America’s public life. In New York City, whose population was 800,000, 30,000 men lingered idle and drunk in the streets, and unemployment plagued the city.

Lanphier’s church had relocated north from the corner of Fulton and William Streets, and knocking on doors and sharing the gospel had made little difference in Lanphier’s mission efforts. Eventually, he realized the need for prayer, and began distributing thousands of flyers advertising a prayer meeting at noon in a church on Fulton Street, to be held on September 23, 1857.

For the first half hour of the meeting, no one came. Then five people arrived, and they prayed together. From Jeremiah’s flyers and by word of mouth, the invitation spread.

In a matter of weeks, thousands were gathering to pray in New York each week. From there, prayer meetings spread across the United States, and eventually, as many as 10,000 people per week were professing faith in Christ in New York City alone.

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