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 its name is pretty catchy.
What started as a prayer meeting during lunchtime among businessmen in New York City, turned out to be the match that started the fire of a great revival which 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 over 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.
1 Person Can Affect the World
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–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!!
6 People this time.
And between these first and second meetings, thousands of handbills were handed out involving many hours of effort. Lots of sweat, expense, prayer and effort poured into the ministry and the result was 6 people showing up. The cost to benefit analysis had to be discouraging.
Is this the ministry that we all would want to be part of? Or would we want to bail and pull down the tent after the first meeting? How do we measure success in God’s Kingdom? Are we evaluating it based on human ideas or God’s ideas?
God Knows our Needs and Prepares for Us:
Well, it was not Jeremiah Lanphier to give up. He simply kept on praying and seeking the Lord. He was told by the Lord to keep going with it so he did. He knew that success in God’s eyes is measured by one’s faithfulness and obedience to the calling.
The stock market crashed as these first meetings were happening and suddenly everything changed. There developed a great overwhelming need, and tens of thousands of people’s worldly hopes and dreams had just been destroyed. Although people had left the Lord, He never left them. Our merciful and gracious God knew what their needs would be before they did. God knew what was going to happen and He sent Jeremiah Lanphier to prepare a place for these people. God provided a refuge, a prayer meeting in the heart of New York City, so people could seek out a better hope, an everlasting one, and a perfect Savior…and from this a revival was born.
God is Seeking Faithful and Obedient Followers:
When looking at the millions that have been swept up in this revival and other of God’s great revivals in history, let us never miss the crucial fact – that they start small. Often times, it takes just one person to change the world. One person’s obedience. One person’s faith.
These revivals 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. They start when Christians seek the Lord’s will and obey His call no matter what. They start when Christians realize their own weakness but put their hope, trust and belief in the mighty power of God. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
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? God wants to use us in the process! So who is God looking for? God gives us the example of David in Acts 13:22, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.‘” Be faithful and obedient to God’s call on your life. Trust His power to accomplish great things. He wants to use you and one life can literally change the world.