THE REVIVAL OF 1857 - 1858*
The years leading up to 1857 were years of tremendous growth and prosperity for America.
Population was booming, people were becoming wealthy. The "cares of the world" captured the
minds and hearts of Americans, chocking out their interest in God and His kingdom. Churches
were declining in numbers, strength and influence.
Businesses by the thousands all over the country were forced to the wall, banks failed,
and railroads went into bankruptcy. In New York alone, 30,000 people lost their jobs. Wall
Street was out of control. Adding to the financial crisis, the country was gripped by the
tensions of racial issues. The future of the nation was bleak indeed.
DO THESE TIMES SOUND FAMILIAR, DENVER?
At the same time on Fulton street in New York City, (a few blocks from Wall Street and the
future site of the World Trade Center) the North Dutch Church, in a state of decline,
employed a BUSINESS MAN, Jeremiah Lanphier, as a lay missionary. He began to visit homes,
distribute Bibles, and tracts, and advertise church services. Facing a discouraging response,
he found comfort in prayer.
One day he prayed, "Lord, what would you have me to do?" He sensed God's
leading to begin a weekly prayer service at noon hour for workers and business people to commune
with God. The agenda was for salvation and the Holy Spirits' empowerment. With little human
planning, a nation-wide revival broke out among the people in "Union Prayer Meetings." 1,000,000
people accepted Christ and became involved in churches in a two year period.
*Kathryn T. Long: The Revival of 1857-1858 was referenced above