Good Reading

I have read several good books lately. One of the books was loaned to me by CrossPointer, Judy Johnson. The title is The New York City Noon Prayer Meeting: A Simple Prayer Gathering that Changed the World by Talbot W. Chambers.

Although a bit difficult to read at times, I encourage anyone who is interested in prayer to pick up a copy. The difficulty in reading is due in large part to the eloquent use of the English language. That is a sad commentary, isn’t it? That is, in the sense that is difficult reading because the language is so eloquent. It is a sad commentary in the way we use and abuse the English language today.

Speaking of our use and abuse of the English language, it is my understanding that the average New York Times Best Sellers are written on a third grade reading level. What does that say about us as readers?

Back to The New York City Noon Prayer Meeting.

The Foreword by Dutch Streets explains the impact of this prayer meeting:

One of the great wells in America’s godly past is New York City’s Fulton Street Noon Prayer Meetings in 1858, under the leadership of Jeremiah Lanphier. It was remarkable in its scope and influence, touching cities from beyond the Mississippi River all the way across the Atlantic to England. Only God knows for certain the fullness of its impact, but it is generally accepted that it sparked a revival that touched the entire nation and other parts of the world.

The Introduction reveals more detail into Lanphier’s burden for the city of New York. As a detail of great symbolism, the author noted that the location of the Fulton Street Noon Prayer Meetings was in the exact same vicinity where the World Trade Centers recently stood before 9-11.

Lanphier’s plan was very simple. He asked businessmen to come over their lunch hour to pray. On the first day, for the first thirty minutes he sat alone praying. Then six men showed up. But God was already there doing His work. Two weeks later there were over 40 people present! Soon every church and public meeting hall in New York City was filled with noonday prayer meetings. Thousands of New Yorkers were meeting daily at noon to pray. And what was the result? One astonishing result was over 150,000 new believers.

Soon people from the world over were writing prayer letters to Lanipher regarding their salvation or the salvation of a family member. One particular letter stood out in my reading of the book:

From a Little Girl.
Savannah, Ga., August 28, 1858.
Dear Sir:
I am a litter girl, and scarcely know how to write to a perfect stranger on so important a subject. But oh! I want to be a Christian so much;…I saw a notice in a New York paper the other day, that God’s people would pray for any one who sent on their request to you at the Fulton Street Prayer Meeting; so I thought that I would write, and ask their prayers in my behalf. Perhaps God, in his great mercy, may see fit to answer your prayers, and make an angel of [me].

With salvation on my mind so much lately, I was taken back by the humility of the writer. Someone requesting prayer for their own salvation would be considered an oddity in today’s church.

Yet there is more.

For a Church in Texas.
Dear Sir:

In the name, and for the honour and glory our blessed Jesus of Nazareth, we humbly and earnestly beseech an interest in those prayers which have been so signally blessed heretofore for others, in behalf of both preacher and people of our little Church in Texana. We long to see the stately steppings of Immanuel in our midst.

Y’rs in the love of a crucified Redeemer.

In summary, there are many things I took away from the book as positive. Perhaps greatest of these was the outright dependence in God’s Sovereignty the people expressed in their prayers and in their request.

If you want to be challenged to pray, then I suggest you pick up a copy today. After reading The New York City Noon Prayer Meeting my prayer for CrossPoint is to find a deeper dependence on the Sovereign One in the saving of many souls and in the awareness of the crucified Redeemer’s “stately steppings in our midst”.


1 Response to “Good Reading”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    June 5, 2007 at 7:57 am

    Judy loaned me that book and I read it back in January. It made me realize how important prayer is in our lives and gave me a sense of urgency for revival in America. It is sad to see how far we have come. But I know that God is still powerful and can do it again.

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