I slipped under the covers and sighed, exhausted, closing my burning eyes and sniffing my running nose, trying to tilt my head just right so I could breathe. It was just a cold, but a cold plus pregnancy plus a heavy heart … I just longed for sleep. Jeff turned toward me.

“What did she say?”

I told him. Our sweet little Heidi has had this little struggle for awhile now, but some days it seems to consume her. She has the most precious, tender heart, and sometimes it feels like she’s a flower planted too close to a footpath.

Her petals are so easily crushed. 

The next morn I felt a little better, but a number of concerns still weighed on me as I headed out for my walk. Two hours later, three more weights had managed to heft themselves upon my heart, and by the time I bathed and was dressed for the day I wanted nothing more than to crawl back into bed.

So I did. 

Thankful for a flexible schedule, I slid back under the covers and finally let the tears flow, and as the tears flowed, I saw the weights cascading around me like a heap of boulders. I could see them named, so clear. Some small, some huge, but all legitimate cares. I let my prayer flow freely too…

“Jesus, I desperately love you. I love my country, I love these precious neighbors who don’t know you. I love my mom, my family, I love my church, my children. The weight of care feels crushing. Please, show me what to do.”

Not so much a word or voice but a knowing filled my head, heart, soul, the very room:

PRAY.

YOU MUST PRAY.

Of course. The story from the kids’ history lesson the day before rushed back into my memory:

The quiet revival of Jeremiah Lanphier.

It was 1857. The country was in severe turmoil and the Civil War was brewing. Tension was at fever pitch. Jeremiah Lanphier was no politician, orator, statesman. He wasn’t even a member of the clergy. He was a layman evangelist, who saw the needs around him and had the simple idea:

Pray. 

So he posted a notice:

Prayer Meeting from 12 to 1 o’clock—Stop 5, 10, or 20 minutes, or the whole hour, as your time admits.

That was it.

At 12 o’clock noon on September 23, 1857, he climbed the stairs to the 3rd story of the old church building. No one else had shown up. No doubt he felt disheartened, but he dropped to his knees and determined to pray, whether or not anyone arrived.

At 12:30, another man quietly climbed the stairs, and joined him.

Then another, until there were six in total.

Just six.

They prayed for a few minutes, then agreed to return the next week.

The next week there were 20.

The following week, 40. 

Within six months, there were some 10,000 gathering to pray in New York City every week, in different locations. Prayer meetings cropped up nationwide, in every denomination, bringing thousands to Christ each week. One account reads:

When the revival was at high tide through the nation, it was judged that 50,000 persons a week were converted. And the number who joined the churches in 1858 amounted to almost 10 percent of the country’s total church membership! If the estimate of one million converts is correct (some say the number is closer to 300,000), that accounts for one-thirtieth of the total United States population of that time—and almost all in one year! (CS Lewis institute)

This quiet revival quaked our entire country. 

All through bended knee.

Did all this prayer keep our country from Civil War? No, but it undoubtedly influenced the course of our nation and saved the souls of thousands who would soon be swept into eternity through the bloody years that followed, through the war that would claim more lives than any other our nation has ever seen.

All because a man most of us have never heard of decided to pray. 

Friends, there’s no shame in tears shed out of love, out of burden, out of heartbreak. That’s the Fellowship of the Brokenhearted. But we cannot let that drive us to despair, or anger, or overwhelm. God has made a way for us to be mighty in Him …

…it is on our knees. 

{There is nothing so urgent as prayer. Thank you so much for reading.}

 

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