From 1857 to 1859 a revival swept New York City that became part of what is called the Third Great Awakening. Jeremiah Lanphier, a forty-eight-year-old businessman, began a prayer meeting on Fulton Street. Not many people attended the prayer meeting at first. But then the stock market crashed. Soon hundreds of New Yorkers were gathering for prayer. Within months, six thousand people were gathering at noon for prayer throughout New York City. It is reported that fifty thousand New Yorkers came to faith and an estimated one million people came to the Lord during this time.
Sometimes we want to pray for a robust, strong economy in our nation. I am not suggesting we pray for a bad economy, but here is what we should pray: "Lord, send a revival to America, no matter what it takes." Sometimes when there is an economic downturn or a military threat or other events we are concerned about, we will turn to God.
Remember how so many Americans showed up in churches in the aftermath of 9/11? It almost seemed like an awakening of sorts. Remember the members of Congress standing outside on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and spontaneously singing "God Bless America"?
Our country needs a spiritual awakening. The prophet Habakkuk understood the need for a revival in his day when he prayed, "O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy" (Habakkuk 3:2).
That needs to be our prayer, too, as believers living in the twenty-first century: O Lord, revive Your work
. I thank God for what He has done in the past, but here is my prayer: Do it again, Lord
. We need another revival.