So picture the event with me if you will. The Fulton Street Revival, the name itself has a ring to it though anything with revival as part of name is pretty catchy.
What started as a prayer meeting during lunch time among businessmen in New York City turned out to be the match that started the fire of a great revival that swept across the US in the 1850-60’s.
Estimates state that up to 10% of the population of the US was brought to Christ during this time period – that would be 30 million people in today’s numbers. That is whole lot of people. What started as an outreach from a local church, the Fulton Street prayer meeting eventually hosted tens of thousands of people, primarily businessmen on a daily basis and spread out from a small meeting room to churches and meeting halls across North America. Awesome, right? Isn’t that a ministry that we would all want to be part of.
But do you know how many people showed up on the first day the pastor opened up that meeting after passing out thousands of flyers across the area over hours upon hours of work?
1, just one the pastor himself.
Jeremiah Lanphier arrived and set up by himself and opened the meeting by himself. He started the meeting in faith and after a while a guy arrived late to join with him in prayer.
The second meeting was a rousing success in comparison.
Three hundred times the growth!!
Which seems great until you realize that means 6 people showed up after again thousands of handbills were handed out over hours of effort.
Is this the ministry that we all would want to be part of? Would we want to bail and pull down the tent after the first meeting?
Well, that was not Jeremiah Lanphier. He simply kept on praying and seeking the Lord. He was told to keep going with it so he did.
The stock market crashed as these first meetings were happening and suddenly everything changed. There developed a great overwhelming need, tens of thousands of people whose worldly hopes and dreams had just been destroyed and for which God had already provided a refuge, a prayer meeting in the heart of New York City to go to and seek out a better hope and perfect Savior…and from this a revival was born.
But when looking at the millions that have been swept up in this and other of God’s great revivals of history never miss the crucial fact – that they start small.
They start when Christians are committed to God and serving God no matter what the numbers look like and are willing to keep on serving even if it is just to one or two of God’s sheep who respond. They start when Christians see God’s love for every single last one of God’s children and give everything so that even just one of them is brought back from damnation.
It is this type of faith in God and His power and this type of love for God’s people from which revival is born. Do we want to be part of these types of ministries?