Tuesday, October 27, 2020 -
The “Fulton Street Revival,” also labeled the “Third Great Awakening,” lasted for nearly two years. Between a half million and a million gave their lives to the Lord as a result. Not only that, but the most significant philanthropic and Christian giving that America had ever seen up until that point was a byproduct of the revival.
Many have heard of the Fulton Street Revival or the Third Great Awakening, but few know the back-story of it. It was the middle of the 1850s, and a depression left many people angry and out of work. The nation seemed on the brink of civil war, which it was. Banks also were failing at a rapid rate.
Jeremiah C. Lanphier was just an ordinary layperson led to become the full-time director of evangelism at the North Reformed Dutch Church in New York City. But as hard as he tried, it seemed all his efforts were for naught; he became very discouraged, after posters, door-to-door efforts, even though bathed in prayer, seemed to fail. He decided to take a different approach, and announced a weekly noon prayer meeting for one hour at the Old Dutch Church on Fulton Street, hoping the city’s businessmen would come out. Only a handful did show up. The following wee, however, there were twenty. That number doubled the third week, and it continued to grow until the building was overflowing. Soon similar prayer meetings began in other American cities, and newspapers began to report on what the Holy Spirit was doing. Many employers closed their offices and stores for the hour so employees and customers could attend the hour of prayer and testimony. No famous Christian leaders were involved in the revival, just common folks seeking to be used of the Lord and surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
But what if Jeremiah Lanphier had given up upon the discouragement of what seemed like failure? Romans 2:7 speaks of those who by perseverance in doing good will be rewarded with glory, honor, and immortality - - eternal Life! Jeremiah Lanphier simply was obedient and persevered. When he met with what seemed to be failure, he didn’t give up praying for the Holy Spirit to move upon hearts, and he in turn tried another way to reach people with the gospel message. He didn’t give up. And the result was one of the greatest revivals in the history of America.