Union Prayer Meetings were a primary component of the 1857 to 1859 Layman’s Prayer Revival that started in downtown Manhattan at the Dutch Reformed Church in the fall of 1857. Those prayer meetings demonstrated what God can do as His people unite and seek Him in passionate, one-accord prayer on behalf of the spiritual famine in their cities and nation.
What were the Union Prayer Meetings like? They started at noon and lasted one hour. The majority of the time was spent in intercessory prayer on behalf of requests shared by those attending. Most requests were focused on the spiritual needs of the lost and those who were not in close fellowship with Christ.
The meetings were multi-denominational and crossed social, economic and ethnic lines. The meetings were filled with a deep sense of awe and stillness, unity, God’s conviction concerning sin, and a deep love for Jesus and the lost. The meetings were often attended by lost people, and many trusted Christ during the services. Other gatherings spontaneously sprang up in cities across the nation.
What did God do in response to these focused prayer gatherings? First, He revived His church. Involvement in the evangelistic mission skyrocketed as believers and churches began to obey God and emphasize outreach to the lost through door-to-door visitation, preaching services and the development of organizations devoted to world missions. Second, God sent spiritual awakening among the lost multitudes across America as nearly one million people were converted among a population of 30 million people in America.
In Jeremiah 33:3, God says to His people, “Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” The phrase “call to me” is an invitation from the Lord for His people to unite and seek Him through urgent, united and passionate prayer.
This call to united, passionate prayer comes with a two-fold promise: “I will answer you,” which demonstrates God’s willingness to act on behalf of His people; and “show you great and wondrous things, which you do not know,” which is a promise to answer their prayers with God-sized results. Thus, this invitation to seek the Lord in Jeremiah 33:3 is a call to united, passionate prayer that unleashes God’s redemptive power into a hopeless and overwhelming season of spiritual, moral and physical decline and devastation.
“…this invitation to seek the Lord in Jeremiah 33:3 is a call to united, passionate prayer that unleashes God’s redemptive power into a hopeless and overwhelming season of spiritual, moral and physical decline and devastation.”
This is the seventh year that N.C. Baptists have united in a “Pray for 30 Days” prayer emphasis during October for revival and spiritual awakening in our state, nation and world prior to our Annual Meeting in November.
The 2018 emphasis is called “Who is My Neighbor” and is based on Luke 10:29. Churches and individuals can access the resources related to this year’s call to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening by visiting prayfor30days.org or praync.org. Resources include a 30-day “Who is My Neighbor” devotional with prayer points and videos. Participants who register will receive a daily prayer prompt through text or email during October.
With 65 to 90 percent of evangelical churches in America declining or maintaining and gospel impact and engagement at a very low point, the church in America finds itself in an ever-increasing hostile, hopeless and overwhelming place as paganism, evil and lostness marches forward.
How will we respond? Will we step up and embrace God’s call to united, passionate prayer on behalf of the spiritual famine in America? What will you and your church do? Will you unite with others and pray? If there ever was a day that we needed God’s power unleashed upon and through His church in America, it is today. What will you do?