Sunday, September 30, 2007

Prayer and Revival (Part Three)

Let's continue to look at J. Edwin Orr's look at the connection between prayer and revival...


Following the second great awakening, which began in 1792 just after the death of John Wesley and continued into the turn of the century, conditions again deteriorated. This is illustrated from the United States. The country was seriously divided over the issue of slavery, and second, people were making money lavishly.

In September 1857, a man of prayer, Jeremiah Lanphier, started a businessmen's prayer meeting in the upper room of the Dutch Reformed Church Consistory Building in Manhattan. In response to his advertisement, only six people out of a population of a million showed up. But the following week there were fourteen, and then twenty-three when it was decided to meet everyday for prayer. By late winter they were filling the Dutch Reformed Church, then the Methodist Church on John Street, then Trinity Episcopal Church on Broadway at Wall Street. In February and March of 1858, every church and public hall in down town New York was filled.

Horace Greeley, the famous editor, sent a reporter with horse and buggy racing round the prayer meetings to see how many men were praying. In one hour he could get to only twelve meetings, but he counted 6,100 men attending. Then a landslide of prayer began, which overflowed to the churches in the evenings. People began to be converted, ten thousand a week in New York City alone. The movement spread throughout New England, the church bells bringing people to prayer at eight in the morning, twelve noon, and six in the evening. The revival raced up the Hudson and down the Mohawk, where the Baptists, for example, had so many people to baptize that they went down to the river, cut a big hole in the ice, and baptized them in the cold water. When Baptists do that they are really on fire!

When the revival reached Chicago, a young shoe salesman went to the superintendent of the Plymouth Congregational Church, and asked if he might teach Sunday School. The superintendent said, 'I am sorry, young fellow. I have sixteen teachers too many, but I will put you on the waiting list.'

The young man insisted, 'I want to do something just now.' 'Well, start a class.' 'How do I start a class?' 'Get some boys off the street but don't bring them here. Take them out into the country and after a month you will have control of them, so bring them in. They will be your class.' He took them to a beach on Lake Michigan and he taught them Bible verses and Bible games. Then he took them to the Plymouth Congregational Church. The name of that young man was Dwight Lyman Moody, and that was the beginning of a ministry that lasted forty years.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Chicago had a hundred and twenty-one members in 1857; fourteen hundred in 1860. That was typical of the churches. More than a million people were converted to God in one year out of a population of thirty million. Then that same revival jumped the Atlantic, appeared in Ulster, Scotland and Wales, then England, parts of Europe, South Africa and South India anywhere there was an evangelical cause. It sent mission pioneers to many countries. Effects were felt for forty years. Having begun in a movement of prayer, it was sustained by a movement of prayer.

There will be more next time


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prayer and Revival (Part Two)

Let's continue Orr's wonderful article on prayer and revival...

How did the situation change? It came through a concert of prayer.

There was a Scottish Presbyterian minister in Edinburgh named John Erskine, who published a Memorial (as he called it) pleading with the people of Scotland and elsewhere to unite in prayer for the revival of religion. He sent one copy of this little book to Jonathan Edwards in New England. The great theologian was so moved he wrote a response which grew longer than a letter, so that finally he published it is a book entitled 'A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of all God's People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom on Earth, pursuant to Scripture Promises and Prophecies...' Is not this what is missing so much from all our evangelistic efforts: explicit agreement, visible unity, unusual prayer?


This movement had started in Britain through William Carey, Andrew Fuller and John Sutcliffe and other leaders who began what the British called the Union of Prayer. Hence, the year after John Wesley died (1791), the second great awakening began and swept Great Britain.

In New England, there was a man of prayer named Isaac Backus, a Baptist pastor, who in 1794, when conditions were at their worst, addressed an urgent plea for prayer for revival to pastors of every Christian denomination in the United States. Churches knew that their backs were to the wall. All the churches adopted the plan until America, like Britain was interlaced with a network of prayer meetings, which set aside the first Monday of each month to pray. It was not long before revival came.

When the revival reached the frontier in Kentucky, it encountered a people really wild and irreligious. Congress had discovered that in Kentucky there had not been more than one court of justice held in five years. Peter Cartwright, Methodist evangelist, wrote that when his father had settled in Logan County, it was known as Rogue's Harbour. The decent people in Kentucky formed regiments of vigilantes to fight for law and order, then fought a pitched battle with outlaws and lost.

There was a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian minister named James McGready whose chief claim to fame was that he was so ugly that he attracted attention. McGready settled in Logan County, pastor of three little churches. He wrote in his diary that the winter of 1799 for the most part was 'weeping and mourning with the people of God.' Lawlessness prevailed everywhere.

McGready was such a man of prayer that not only did he promote the concert of prayer every first Monday of the month, but he got his people to pray for him at sunset on Saturday evening and sunrise Sunday morning. Then in the summer of 1800 come the great Kentucky revival. Eleven thousand people came to a communion service. McGready hollered for help, regardless of denomination.
Out of that second great awakening, came the whole modern missionary movement and it's societies. Out of it came the abolition of slavery, popular education, Bible Societies, Sunday Schools, and many social benefits accompanying the evangelistic drive.

More on the next post...

Praying for revival in my life and church


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Prayer and Revival (Part One)

For the next few posts, I will share of J. Edwin Orr's article: "Prayer and Revival"

Here is the first part.

Dr A. T. Pierson once said, 'There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.' Let me recount what God has done through concerted, united, sustained prayer.

Not many people realize that in the wake of the American Revolution (following 1776-1781) there was a moral slump. Drunkenness became epidemic. Out of a population of five million, 300,000 were confirmed drunkards; Profanity was of the most shocking kind. For the first time in the history of the American settlement, women were afraid to go out at night for fear of assault. Bank robberies were a daily occurrence.

What about the churches? The Methodists were losing more members than they were gaining. The Baptists said that they had their most wintry season. The Presbyterians in general assembly deplored the nation's ungodliness. In a typical Congregational church, the Rev. Samuel Shepherd of Lennos, Massachusetts, in sixteen years had not taken one young person into fellowship. The Lutherans were so languishing that they discussed uniting with Episcopalians who were even worse off. The Protestant Episcopal Bishop of New York, Bishop Samuel Provost, quit functioning; he had confirmed no one for so long that he decided he was out of work, so he took up other employment. The Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall, wrote to the Bishop of Virginia, James Madison, that the Church 'was too far gone ever to be redeemed.' Voltaire averred and Tom Paine echoed, 'Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years.

Take the liberal arts colleges at that time. A poll taken at Harvard had discovered not one believer in the whole student body. They took a poll at Princeton, a much more evangelical place, where they discovered only two believers in the student body, and only five that did not belong to the filthy speech movement of that day. Students rioted. They held a mock communion at Williams College, and they put on antiChristian plays at Dartmouth. They burned down the Nassau Hall at Princeton. They forced the resignation of the president of Harvard. They took a Bible out of a local Presbyterian church in New Jersey, and they burnt it in a public bonfire. Christians were so few on campus in the 1790's that they met in secret, like a communist cell, and kept their minutes in code so that no one would know.

How did the situation change? It came through a concert of prayer.

More tomorrow...

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Prayer For Revival


We are desperate for you renewal. We say we are followers of Jesus, yet we fail to please you in our hearts and minds and words and actions. Have mercy on us, your people, because we are sinners in great need of of grace and touch.

Come Lord Jesus

150 Years Since the Fulton Street Revival

Good Morning. A friend of mine passed this on to me. It was written by Ed Stetzer and can be read on his blog site:

One of the forgotten "spiritual awakenings" is the Fulton Street Revival. Today is the 150th anniversary of that start of that outpouring.

If I am doing the math correctly, about 3% of the population became Christ followers during this awakening. That would be the equivalent of 10 million people becoming followers of Jesus today.

The North American Mission Board has a video about Fulton Street here.

You can find info about the revival here.

One of the great resources on "awakenings" is on the website of J. Edwin Orr. If you don't know of J. Edwin Orr, Billy Graham considered him "one of the greatest authorities on the history of religious revivals in the Protestant world."

Orr did a lecture series at Church on the Way that includes a presentation on the Fulton Street revival. I would encourage you to watch the lecture-- in some ways, we are in a similar pre-revival situation today.

There is a big celebration in New York today. I was asked to speak at the church planting track that met yesterday. I was VERY conflicted that I was already committed to the SEBTS Convergent Conference. I tried to get a flight to do both, but we all agreed it was too close. Sigh.

The conference web site explains about the awakening:

In 1857 there were 30,000 men idle on the streets of New York. Drunkenness was rampant, and the nation was divided by slavery. God raised up a praying businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier. On September 23, 1857 he began a noontime prayer meeting on Fulton Street in the Financial District of Manhattan. Out of a city of 1 million people, six people showed up a half hour late.

The group decided to meet the next week and there were 14. The next week there were 23. The following week there were 40. Within weeks there were thousands of business leaders meeting daily. God moved so powerfully that the prayer meeting spread across the nation. It is estimated that nearly 1 million people were converted out of a national population of 35 million, including 10,000 weekly conversions in New York City for a season.

Between 1860 and 1920, as answers to the prayer, the Evangelical Social Movement was birthed including the Bowery Mission, the McCauley Street Mission, Salvation Army (begun in London), and the Student Volunteer Movement. Between 1865 and 1900 more African Americans came to Christ than any other ethnic group in North American history. This is our heritage. This is the legacy we hope will infuse the hearts and imaginations of Christs’ followers for decades to come!

God, please send your Holy Spirit on your broken, confused, and imperfect people. We are helpless and hopeless without you. We need your grace and guidance. Refocus us on the cross, the mission, and send us anew into the world. Help us to pray like Jeremiah Lanphier.

Posted on September 23, 2007 1:38 PM | Permalink

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Are We Despate for Revival?

Stephen Olford said the following:

"It is my conviction that we are never going to have a revival until God has brought the church of Jesus Christ to the point of desperation."


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This is Revival

Owen Murphy describes true revival:

"When men in the streets are afraid to open their mouths and utter godless words lest the judgments of God should fall; when sinners, overawed by the Presence of God tremble in the streets and cry for mercy; when, without special meetings and sensational advertising, the Holy Ghost sweeps across cities and towns in Supernatural Power and holds men in the grip of terrifying Conviction; when "every shop becomes a pulpit; every heart an altar; every home a sanctuary" and people walk softly before God, this is Revival!

Today the word Revival has largely lost its real meaning. Our present generation, never having witnessed the mighty movings of God in nation-wide spiritual awakening such as has taken place in past generations, has little conception of the magnitude of such a "visitation."

Heaven-sent revival is not religious entertainment, where crowds gather to hear outstanding preachers and musical programs; neither is it the result of sensational advertising - in a God-sent revival you don't spend money on advertising ; people come because Revival is there! Revival is an "awareness of God' that grips the whole community, and the roadside, the tavern, as well as the church, become the places where men find Christ. Here is the vast difference between our modern evangelistic campaigns and true revival.

In the former, hundreds may be brought to a knowledge of Christ and churches experience seasons of blessings, but as far as the community is concerned little impact is made; the taverns, dance halls, and movies are still crowded, and the godlessness marches on. In revival, the Spirit of God, like a cleansing flame, sweeps through the community. Divine conviction grips people everywhere; the strongholds of the devil tremble, and many close their doors, while multitudes turn to Christ!

(When God stepped down from Heaven)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Revival will bring church growth

Yesterday, I was in a seminar listening to nationally known author, speaker, educator and consultant Gary L. McIntosh. He shared with us five opportunities for change, that is five windows where souls can be harvested for Jesus...

1. A time of crisis
2. A time pastoral change
3. A time of budget preparation
4. A time of REVIVAL!
5. A time of planning

Revival begins with the church, but it will eventually turn outward.

Praying for revival


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Now that school has started again

College and university campuses are full of activity across the nations. Of course, here in Nebraska, we are looking forward to to the USC football game comes to Lincoln to play NU. I will not make any predictions!

Historically, something far more important than football takes place on campuses. It is spiritual revival. J. Edwin Orr, in his book, Campus Aflame wrote...

“It is utterly impossible to divorce the story of student awakenings from the course of missions in countries overseas. From the beginning, one of the most immediate and dramatic effects of college revivals has been the recruitment of personnel for the work of Christ abroad.”

So cheer on your favorite team, but also spend time praying for revival


Monday, September 10, 2007

Jonathan Edwards and Revival

As you read the article below, pray that God will do it once again in the United States (or in the country you live in)

The word ‘revival’ infers that something is dead or dying. ‘Religious’ or ‘Christian revival’ presupposes that the church and its environment are in desperate need of a fresh breath God’s Spirit to awaken it from its slumber. Such was the condition of the North American church and nation in the early part of the 18th century. Spiritual decline and moral decadence ruled the day.


The American Colonists had their own peculiar problems. They were a mixed collection of nationalities in an alien country. They had no central government to bind them together in anything like a national unity and were divided by intense religious convictions and by their nationalistic spirit. Perpetual war with the Indians produced all manner of inhuman passions, removing moral convictions and restraints. A wild and adventurous spirit possessed the people as morals declined and religion decayed. Drunkenness, swearing, immorality, and every form of vice blossomed as never before in their history. The godly aspirations of their Puritan forefathers for a Christian Utopia in the New World had long since died.


The ‘Half Way Covenant’ of 1662 had opened the way for unconverted people to become members of the church and soon unconverted ministers were allowed into pulpits across the land. Secret apostasies and flagrant sins corrupted and weakened the churches. Jonathan Dickinson of New Jersey described the state of the church there: ‘Religion was in a very low state, professors generally dead and lifeless, and the body of our people careless, carnal and secure.’ In Pennsylvania Rev. Samuel Blair stated, ‘Religion lay as it were dying, and ready to expire its last breath of life in this part of the visible church.’ The same conditions obtained everywhere throughout all the Colonies, from New England to the far South.

It was a hopeless situation but ‘man’s extremity was God’s opportunity.’ Into this situation God began to ignite revival fires.


Theodore Frelinghuysen, a Dutch reformed Pietist, began to see revival signs of conversions following his ministry in New Jersey in 1727. The revival spread to the Scottish-Irish Presbyterians under the ministry of Gilbert Tennant, whose father, William, founded the famous ‘Log College’, which later became the Princeton University. The fire leapt over to the Baptists of Pennsylvania and Virginia before the extraordinary awakening that began in Northampton, Massachusetts, under the ministry of Jonathan Edwards in December 1734.


Edwards’s says the town experienced a ‘degenerate time’ with ‘dullness of religion.’ The young people were addicted to ‘night walking, tavern drinking, lewd practices and frolics among the sexes for the greater part of the night. Family government did too much fail in the town.’ Community leaders were locked in bitter disputes. Then, two well-known young people died untimely deaths in the spring of 1734. This had a remarkable sobering effect on the whole town and people began to ask questions about the meaning of life, life after death, eternity and other spiritual matters. Clearly this was a token judgement to grab people’s attention.

In tandem with this, the small and ineffective church was praying for God to move, calling out to God for the souls of their neighbours. Edwards began to preach the Gospel deliberately and powerfully in a series on ‘justification by faith alone.’ In December 1734 six young people were converted. One was a young woman who was quaintly described as ‘one of the greatest company keepers in the whole town.’ Her life was so radically changed that it became the talk of the town and the news of this evident act of God’s grace spread like wildfire. In the next six months 300 of the 1,100 population were converted. That’s more than 25% of the population in 6 months! Revival had come.

In his ‘Faithful Narrative of Surprising Conversions,’ a report on this revival work, Edwards describes some of the unusual supernatural happenings: ‘God has also seemed to go out of his usual way in the quickness of His work, and the swift progress His Spirit has made in His operation, on the hearts of many….There was scarcely a single person in the town, either old or young, that was left unconcerned about the great things of the eternal world …The town seemed to be full of the presence of God…it never was so full of love and full of joy. It was a time for joy in families…our public assemblies were beautiful; the congregation was alive in God’s service, everyone earnestly intent on the public worship…. God was served in the beauty of holiness.’


This was the beginning of a revival that was revitalised with a second wave in the 1740’s. In New England alone ten percent of the total population of 300,000 were added to the churches between 1740 and 1742. Total converts to Christianity reached 50,000 out of a total of 250,000 colonists in New England . It is estimated that a further 30,000 souls were converted through George Whitefield’s numerous visits to America from 1739 onwards. 150 new Congregational churches were established in twenty years.

The increase of Baptist churches in the last half of the century, was still more wonderful, rising from 9 to upwards of 400 in number, with a total of thirty thousand members. There was a similar growth in the Presbyterian and other churches.

Nine Christian university colleges were established in the colonies. The wild frontier society was thoroughly Christianised. Early missionary desire began to emerge, most notably in the ministry of David Brainerd among the Indians. The revival revolutionised the nation’s religious and moral character and determined the destinies of the entire nation country.

One ancient writer states ‘The new converts were ‘fervent in spirit. They thirsted for the salvation of souls. Unexampled efforts. were immediately employed for the spread of the Gospel. Some went from house to house in their respective neighbourhoods warning every man and teaching every man, and exhorting all to turn to the Lord. Pious ministers were stirred to unusual exertion, and old Christians renewed their youth.

They had deep convictions of the evil of sin, and of the peril of a rebellious state. The love of God in Christ overpowered their souls. Their views of the solemn realities of another world were vivid and heart-affecting. Their earnest appeals made the stout hearted tremble, awed many a reprobate into silence, and wrung tears from daring and hardened offenders. Tens of thousands bowed before the majesty of truth. Some of the most powerful preachers emigrated to other States; and wherever they went, the floods of blessing poured over the land.’

Lord do it again in our day and in our nation!

Tony Cauchi
May 2006

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Setting Our Sails Towards Revival

G. Campbell Morgan once said...

"We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind of heaven."

Let us set our sails towards revival by praying for it.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Are we ready for revival?

Yesterday I wrote about Robert Evans and his preparation for revival (see below). Brian H. Edwards rightly points out that revival must begin with the church and God's people...

"We often have a tinted view of revival as a time of glory and joy and swelling numbers queuing to enter the churches. That is only part of the story. Before the glory and joy, there is conviction; and that begins with the people of God. There are tears of godly sorrow. There are wrongs to put right, secret be thrown out, and bad relationships, hidden for years, to be repaired openly. If we are not prepared for this, we had better not pray for revival."

Praying for Revival


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Evan Roberts and the Welsh Revival

Evan Roberts was greatly used during the revival in Wales in 1904. His approach was fairly simple to Christians: Confess your sin and get right with God.

Here is excerpt from the "The Welsh Revival" website (

....Within a month he felt compelled to share this message of the reality of God and the possibility of complete forgiveness of sins with his home youth group at Moriah Loughor.

Summing up the message in 4 parts, Evan pressed it home to the astonished church

1. Confess all known sin

2. Deal with and get rid of anything ‘doubtful’ in your life

3. Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly

4. Confess Christ publicly

By the end of the first week over 60 responded. By the end of the second week Evan had already started on a whirl-wind tour of the South Wales valleys with his team of 5 girl singers and within a year or so 100,000 converts were said to be added to the Welsh Church....

Monday, September 03, 2007

Will Revival Come To America

It has been over a century since a large scale revival visited America. Our nation is over due for another one, and we certainly need one.


prayer always proceeds revival.


are we praying for revival?

Come Lord Jesus

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Prayer for Revival

Father, we are nothing apart from you. We are in despearte need for your touch and revival. Renew your people Lord.