Dear Praying Friends,
America in September 1857 was in spiritual, political, and economic decline. With deep division on the slavery question and a civil war on the horizon, a financial panic hit. Banks failed, railroads went bankrupt, factories closed, and joblessness grew. Amid the strain, Jeremiah Lanphier, a New York City layman, advertised a noon-time prayer meeting. Six people came. But the prayer meeting grew, spread, and then exploded across the city, then on to other cities across America and beyond. It was God's doing (Christianity.com). Meanwhile, God-sent revival broke out across the Atlantic:
In 1856 in Ulster, Ireland, James McQuilkin was invited to tea. There a visiting woman skirted the civilities of discussing the weather and spoke openly on a subject McQuilkin found uncomfortable: the condition of the soul. After another guest at the tea party described the nature of her Christian experience, the visitor said, "My dear, I don't believe you have ever known the Lord Jesus." McQuilkin later wrote, "I knew that she spoke what was true of me. I felt as if the ground were about to open beneath me and let me sink into hell. As soon as I could, I left the company. For two weeks I had no peace day or night. At the end of that time I found peace by trusting the Lord Jesus."The following year McQuilkin felt burdened to pray for his neighbors. He asked three friends to join him. Once a week the four men gathered at the village schoolhouse to pray for each person in their community by name. The town was Ahogill, County Antrim, Ulster, Ireland. The date: September 1857. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, God was laying the same burden on many hearts, and similar prayer groups started throughout Northern Ireland. Pastors began preaching about revival. In December 1857 McQuilkin's group rejoiced to see the first conversion in Ahogill. But widespread revival did not come. Still, God's people prayed -for nineteen more months. Then one morning in the city of Ballymena, just six miles from Ahogill, a young man fell prostrate in the crowded marketplace and called out, "Unclean! Unclean! God be merciful to me a sinner!" The night of March 14, 1859, the McQuilkin group responded by inviting Christians to a prayer meeting at the Ahogill Presbyterian Church. The church was so crowded that they moved the meeting out into the street. There hundreds of people knelt in the mud and rain, confessing their sins and praising God. They were the first of one hundred thousand people God called to himself in 1859 in what became known as the Ulster Revival.There was a great spiritual movement among young people. It was not uncommon for teenage boys to hold street meetings to reach their peers for Christ. At one such street meeting an Irish clergyman counted forty children and eighty adults listening to the preaching of twelve-year-old boys. The results of the revival were remarkable. In 1860 in County Antrim the police had an empty jail and no crimes to investigate. Judges often had no cases to hear. With their owners converted, pubs closed and alcohol consumption fell so drastically that whiskey distilleries were sold. Gambling at horse races fell off by 95 percent. A visitor to Ulster reported "thronged church services, abundant prayer meetings, increased family prayers, unmatched Scripture reading, increased giving, converts remaining steadfast." The Ulster movement touched off similar revivals in England, Scotland, and Wales. God drew hundreds of thousands of people to himself, and it all began with a woman unafraid to speak spiritual truth over tea (Michael and Sharon Rusten, The One Year Christian History, 2003).
Like the woman Jesus spoke of in Luke 18, who persisted until she obtained justice, we must not cease to seek godly reformation: righteousness and justice in every sphere of society. Yet we cannot succeed without God-sent revival. Our churches need revival, and our nation needs awakening, now! Please join us in observing the National Day of Prayer, May 1. Pray for our Watchman on the Wall Pastors Briefing May 21-23, and urge your church to observe Call2Fall, Sunday, June 29. May God revive His Church and may we be the salt and light he made us to be!
NYC Churches Violated Again -After years of being repeatedly denied equal footing with other non-profit organizations to rent unoccupied NYC public school buildings for weekend services, a three judge panel from New York's Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the churches again. ADF Attorney Jordan Lorence says they will appeal the ruling to the full court. Pastor and NYC Councilman Fernando Cabrera hopes Mayor Bill De Blasio will keep his campaign promise to reverse the discriminatory policy decreed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Even if so, the case must proceed to correct this ruling (See Homeless Again; Church in the Lurch, Hear Perkins, Lorence and Cabrera).
- God defend your people and the Churches of New York City! May those in authority do right and honor the rights these churches are guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights! (Jdg 10:10 ff; 2 Sam 23:3; Is 54:17; Zech 2:8; Ps 11:3; 1 Cor 15:57 Jas 3:1)
Finally, please pray for the Pelletier Family, specifically Justina, because of the incredible injustice being done (Bill Introduced to Free Justina, Huckabee on Justina). Pray for Israel and the U.S. Sign up for Washington, a Man of Prayer on May 7. Thank you for praying!
Chaplain & National Prayer Director
Chaplain & National Prayer Director