Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Extraordinary change that comes from ordinary people

New York City, 1857, a businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier wanted to do more for God.  He volunteered his free time to help his church, evangelize, give out flyers and talk to the many unemployed who loitered in the streets every day.  He'd go to the poorest neighborhoods and give his best to save souls.  But the exhaustion would wear on him, and he knew he needed to be revived.  So he'd stop in the empty church and sit and cry out for God's Spirit to renew his strength and vision.  The thought came to him that so many other men in that city were probably feeling the same thing.  Overburdened at work, full of anxiety and worry about their jobs, families and responsibilities - they needed to be revived as well.

So Jeremiah printed up 20,000 flyers announcing a noon-day prayer and handed them all out by himself throughout the businesses and offices of Manhattan.  It was September 23, the day of the first prayer meeting.  He walked into the same empty church, and sat down alone.  He waited and wondered if anyone would come.  Eventually five other men showed up, and they prayed.  The next week, twenty came, the next week 40 came, and each following week, more and more joined them.  It was nothing more than men who were confessing to God with their simple act of coming to that meeting that they needed Him.  Hearts and minds began to turn to God more than Jeremiah ever expected, and the weekly meeting became a daily noontime prayer that didn't just fill the church where he was, but over 100 churches in New York were packed every day at noon with men and women crying out to God.  This even spilled over to other major cities around the US.

Who knows if the statistics are correct, but it is said that there were over 10,000 conversions a week in New York at that time.  Along the Hudson River north of the city, some Baptist churches had so many people asking to be baptized, they even had to chop holes in the solid ice of the river to baptize them then and there in that freezing water - talk about dying to your flesh!

When we listen to the voice of God and simply obey, He moves.  A fruit tree does not bear fruit with grunts and agonizing effort, just naturally as God intended.  I believe there is so much more fruit that we could be bearing for God's Kingdom if we stopped running around trying to force things to happen by our own strength and just simply obey and have the courage to take the risks that He asks of us.  Read tomorrow - I'll explain more of what I mean.


Sandra Tiseira said...

I agree we must listen to his voice and take risks....

Silindile said...

Thanks Mrs Evelyn can't wait to read the next post , its important to hear the word of God and listen to it that is by putting it into practice