The Power of God Stirred a Nation
In March of 1858 a religious journal reported that the Awakening was wide-spread. “The large cities and towns from Maine to California are sharing in this great and glorious work. There is hardly a village or town to be found where ‘a special divine power’ does not appear displayed.”
In Chicago 2,000 men met at noon for prayer in Metropolitan Hall. In Jayne’s Hall in Philadelphia 4,000 were meeting. An elderly philanthropist named John Crozer wrote in his diary, “I have never, I think, been present at a more stirring and edifying prayer meeting, the room quite full, and a divine influence seemed manifest. Many hearts melted, many souls devoutly engaged.”
In December of 1857 in Utica, New York attendance at a weekly union prayer meeting increased so rapidly that by the third meeting the main floor and the balcony of the First Presbyterian Church were filled with deeply burdened people. Then daily prayer meetings were started each morning.
One night when Dr. John L. Girardeau dismissed the prayer meeting for spiritual awakening at Anson Street Presbyterian Church in Charleston, South Carolina, no one left. The congregation stayed until midnight while the Lord powerfully worked. Eight weeks of nightly meetings followed reaching crowds numbering from 1,500 to 2,000. Many turned to the Lord.
The New York Observer published a report from Waco, Texas of a mighty moving of God. “Day and night the church has been crowded during the meeting… Never before in Texas have we seen a whole community so effectually under a religious influence … thoroughly regenerated.”
The power of prayer touched every aspect of business. There had never been a higher tone of honor. The Bible became the standard. Any business that injured the community was regarded as wrong. People in every kind of business began to be more honest, truthful and conscientious.
At least three thousand came to Christ in Newark, New Jersey. In many smaller towns scarcely any unconverted people remained. In Haverhill, Mass., the Spirit deeply moved the crowded daily prayer meeting. Sometimes half of the assembly silently wept. One pastor found at least one person in every home in his congregation deeply concerned about their relationship with God.
In Kalamazoo, Michigan a woman turned in a request for her husband’s salvation. One man responded, “Pray for me. I’m that man.” Four more men did likewise. A wealthy young New Yorker was born again at a noon prayer meeting. Upon returning home he read from the Bible and knelt to pour out a fervent prayer for his wife and sister. His wife and his sister knelt beside him and wept as they also received Christ. One man disowned his daughter when she confessed Christ. However, when he fell deathly sick, he sent for her and asked her forgiveness. She shared Christ with him. Within three days her father, mother, two brothers, and a sister entered the family of God.
Oh Lord God…. would you even yet hear the prayers of your people and send a great movement of your Holy Spirit to convict of sin and draw our nation back to Christ!