“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
In September 1857 a newly appointed city missionary, Jeremiah Lamphier, started weekly prayer meetings in the Dutch Reformed Church at Fulton Street in New York City. Those meetings did not have a very promising beginning because for the first half an hour he prayed on his own before being joined by six other people. But those prayer meetings grew considerably so that by the following spring up to ten thousand people were gathering for prayer every day in New York. Those prayer meetings were the beginning of the great Revival in the USA of 1858.
Also, here in Northern Ireland at exactly the same time as the prayer meetings started in New York; Jeremiah McNeely, James McQuilkin, John Wallace and Robert Carlisle, four young men from the Kells and Connor area of Ballymena were urged by their minister, Rev. J.H. Moore, “to do something more for God.” As a result, they began to pray together every week in the Schoolhouse in Kells for a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God. These prayer meetings eventually led to the great awakening of 1859 when one hundred thousand souls were swept into the Kingdom of God. These men were encouraged to continue in prayer by the reports of the great blessing that was being experienced in the USA. These prayer meetings at first were small, both in number and in attendance but they increased until sixteen prayer meetings were being held every night in the Ballymena area. Also, when the Revival was at its height a great prayer meeting was held in Botanic Gardens in Belfast when as many as thirty thousand people from all over the Province assembled to pray.
These examples from Church history teach us the vital lesson that every work for God begins in the prayer meeting. The book of Acts establishes that principle for us; it is a book that tells a thrilling story of multitudes of souls being saved and Churches being commenced in cities that previously were heathen strongholds. But always remember that the book of Acts starts in the Church prayer meeting (Acts 1:14).
Sadly, prayer meetings today are dwindling and dying. Often, they are held in the smallest room in the Church and they have the smallest congregation of the week. How tragic that is! But always remember that if you would want to do a work for the Lord and if you want your own congregation to be revived by the Lord then you must get back to the prayer meeting. Let me encourage every Christian to be faithful in attendance at your Church prayer meeting. Don’t be so busy that you can’t go to the midweek meeting at your Church.
– Rev. David McMillan Excerpt from – The Paper Pulpit