Friday, June 10, 2011

BRC: A God-Sized Vision, week 4

The reading this week took us down the road once again of the power of prayer. The first two revivals they talked about, the 1st & 2nd Great Awakenings, I have heard of before. This one was new to me. But what is not new is the economic situation they described before the revival hit in America.

It was the mid 1850's and it was fairly clear America would be going to war because of the slave dispute. But what became more clear was the economic disaster that took place. The stock market crashed on October 10, 1857. Amherst President, Heman Humphrey said, "Men went to be dreaming all night of their hoarded treasures, and woke up in the morning hopeless bankrupts" (79).

It was about this time that Jeremiah Lanphier started a businessmen lunch hour of prayer in NYC. Within a few weeks, he had over thirty businessmen praying during their lunch hours. Here is what happened at the meetings:
"Each meeting opened with the group singing three to five verses from a hymn. Then someone led in prayer, read Scripture, and opened the floor for prayer requests. sings set the ground rules: 'No Controverted Points Discussed,' 'Prayers and Exhortations not to exceed five minutes,' and 'Not more than two consecutive prayers or exhortations.' Businessmen could come and go as they pleased, according to their schedules. Five minutes before 1:00 p.m., they sang a closing hymn, then a pastor delivered a benediction." (81-82)
By the middle of 1858, it was estimated there were some 10,000 businessmen praying during their lunch hours in NYC. But then it spread to other cities. Philadelphia found itself with men praying. Even Boston had men praying. As I read this, there is one quote in a book by some of the men from Philadelphia that really made me stop and think:
"God leads his people to pray for that which he designs to give." (84)
That is one to think about. The authors of this book acknowledge what was meant by this quote is "that before God pours out his Spirit in revival, he grants a spirit of heartfelt petition" (84). May we have this sort of spirit of heartfelt petition. From here, preaching entered. Men prayed and then they listened to the preaching of God's Word. I loved how they described who was responsible for this event. They said,
"On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached; Luther preached, and Livingston, and Whitefield and Wesley! Great spiritual movements have usually identified with some eloquent voice; but NO NAME, except the name that is above every name, is identified with this meeting." (85)
Their point is that in the revivals in the past, there were great names associated with the events. This one, the only name associated was Jesus. May we live like that. May we live that the only name associated with any ministry we are involved with is Jesus!

And now your turn. I know a few of you are still reading with me. Your thoughts?

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