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No Room for Human Merit

Psalm 118:23 “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.”

II Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God”

II Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

A year after the beginning of the 1857 Prayer Meeting Revival, Pastor Talbot Chambers observed the following:

“No devout or thoughtful mind can review the history which has been given, without being irresistibly led to the conclusion, expressed by the words of the Psalmist upon a different occasion: ‘THIS IS THE LORD’S DOING; IT IS MARVELLOUS IN OUR EYES.’  It is easy to trace the hand of Providence in every step of the course we have narrated.  The appointment of the Missionary [Lanphier] just at the period when it was made, the upspringing in his mind of the conception of a business men’s prayer meeting, its peculiar features, the state of the times prompting men to pray, the absence of any unusual attractions, the extraordinary rapidity with which mid-day meetings for prayer were multiplied; all these indicate the immediate agency of the Most High.  The Lord alone was exalted in that day.  There is no room for human merit to insinuate itself.”

“But it can scarcely be doubted that the main cause of the general popularity of the meeting was the gracious purpose of the Lord, making use, in His adorable sovereignty, of this means to alleviate the gloom of temporal calamities, and lead the minds of the children of men to higher ends than ‘the meat that perisheth.’  In no other way can we account for the eagerness with which multitudes of men would flock together at an unusual, and to many most inconvenient hour, for the purposes of worship, to a place where there were none of the attractions which alone, in ordinary circumstances, move men in masses to attend a religious service.  There was no eloquent orator, no noted revivalist, no display of intellectual abilities, native or acquired; nothing to gratify a refined taste, or stimulate a jaded imagination, or cater to itching ears.  It was simply a gathering of men who turned aside from secular cares to consecrate an hour of prayer or praise – an assembly in which the chief part was taken by laymen, and these, persons not distinguished for any unusual gifts or culture.”

Pastor Chambers made very clear that God deserved all the credit and the glory for the results of the revival of which they were a part.  It was the Lord’s doing, and it was marvelous in their eyes.  The hand of Providence could be traced to every success, and it was all according to God’s gracious purposes.  In no way could they account for the massive impact of the meeting; there was no room for human merit to insinuate itself.

Any good that happens in our lives, any positive impact we are able to make, or any great movement for the Lord of which we are a part, is totally and completely attributable to the hand of Providence.  In no other way should we account for any success; there is no room for human merit to insinuate itself. 

During this week of Christmas, may we reflect on God’s glorious love through His unspeakable gift.  Our Saviour Jesus Christ is good and He is perfect, and His birth is marvelous in our eyes!  May God rightfully earn all the credit, all the glory, and all the attention for the joy of this season.  The hand of Providence throughout human history led to this glorious event as a part of His gracious purposes.  In the salvation of man, there is no room for human merit to insinuate itself. 

PLEASE PRAISE GOD FOR HIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT DURING THIS SEASON AND THROUGHOUT THE YEAR!

ADMIN:  The quotes above comes from the Talbot Chambers book “The New York City Noon Prayer Meeting: A Simple Gathering That Changed The World”.

Evils to Guard Against

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Proverbs 29:23 “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”

One of the regular, faithful members of the prayer meetings at Fulton Street made the following observation:

“We are in danger of spiritual pride, because so many eyes are turned to the Fulton Street Prayer Meeting, and because so many requests for prayer come to us from all parts of the land.  I know that many feel troubled because they come; some, because they occupy too much of the attention of this meeting; others, because they fear that the impression will be created that this is the Prayer Meeting above all others, where God hears and answers prayers.  Now both these evils are to be guarded against.”

The success of the Fulton Street Prayer Meetings may have been in part because of their vigilant sensitivity to the trappings of pride.  While God was working in miraculous ways, this group of believers was bombarded with attention, flooded with requests, and esteemed among men.  In order to protect themselves and the Lord’s continued workings through them, they strove to avoid being elevated, insulated, or isolated. 

They knew that pride goeth before destruction.  They realized that pride could bring them low, but humility could yield honor.  They embraced the truth that the fear of the Lord is to hate evil.  They acknowledged that esteem among men can be an abomination to God. 

Believers today must be vigilantly sensitive to the trappings of pride.  Whenever God works in miraculous ways in our lives, our ministries, our families, or our communities, we must strive to avoid being elevated, insulated, or isolated. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO VIGILANTLY PROTECT OURSELVES AND THE LORD’S WORKING THROUGH US.  We are in persistent danger of spiritual pride; and elevation, insulation, and isolation are evils to constantly guard against.

ADMIN:  The quote above comes from the Talbot Chambers book “The New York City Noon Prayer Meeting: A Simple Gathering That Changed The World”.

Teach Us How to Pray

Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Renowned hymn writer, Phoebe H. Brown, wrote the following hymn entitled “Jesus, This Mid-Day Hour” for the 1857 Prayer Meeting Revival:

Jesus, this midday hour of prayer
We consecrate to thee.
Forgetful of each earthly care,
We would thy glory see.

We come thy presence to implore;
O teach us how to pray!
Impart us to thy Spirit’s power,
Thy saving grace display.

Baptize with energy Divine
The contrite soul afresh;
O bow the stubborn will to thine,
And give the heart of flesh.

Unite our hearts, unite our tongues,
In lofty praise to thee,
Accept the tribute of our songs
Thou Holy One in Three.

Today in twenty-first century America, we need to embrace the truths conveyed in this simple hymn.  We need to consecrate a dedicated, daily time of prayer for revival and renewal in our land.  We need to set aside earthly cares, and seek His glory.  We need to beg for God to guide our prayers, impart His power, and display His saving grace.  We need to be baptized with energy Divine, while yielding our stubborn wills to Him.  And, we need to be unified in our lofty praise to our Lord.

PLEASE PRAY FOR GOD TO GUIDE THE PRAYERS OF AMERICAN CHRISTIANS.  “We come thy presence to implore; O teach us how to pray!  Impact us to thy Spirit’s power, Thy saving grace display.”

And In Every House

Acts 5:42 “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel”

Acts 2:46-47 “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.  Praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

Though the prayer meetings were multiplying throughout New York City, across America, and around the world, there were those whose rigorous work schedules prevented them from attending any of the weekday meetings.  These workers had their mornings, lunchtimes, and evenings consumed with work requirements.  Yet in these cases, personal meetings allowed small groups of believers to meet together daily to pray as a part of the larger movement.  While they could not necessarily gather daily in the temple, they could do so in every house, continuing daily with one accord and singleness of heart.  As a result, they could stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.  The larger meetings were powerful and potent, while the smaller meetings allowed connection to God through prayer for all believers at all times.

Our busy lives in twenty-first century America sometime crowd out our scheduled large cooperate worship that should be part of a properly prioritized life of faith.  Yet, we can always make time for daily prayer – by ourselves, with our families, or with those other believers who are around us.  Such distributed prayer meetings can be a powerful supplement to regularly attended church, and even the busiest believer can always make time to stop and pray.  Our prayers for our nation should originate from every house, as we continue daily with one accord and singleness of heart.  In this way, we can stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.  Larger worship and prayer meetings can be powerful and potent, but such smaller meetings can allow connection to God through prayer for all believers at all times.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO PERSONALLY AND CORPORATELY PRAY FOR OUR NATION AND OUR LEADERS.  May it be said of us that “daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”

Mighty Showers of Grace

Ephesians 3:16-21 “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love to Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world with end.  Amen.”

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

An individual shared the following testimony during the Prayer Revival of 1857:

“I came from India, and I landed but yesterday.  I have come all the way from that far distant land to see for myself what the Lord is doing in America.  I am an Englishman by birth, but my home is in India.  We have heard of the glorious outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon your Churches, and we have rejoiced at it with exceeding joy.  We believe as you believe, that we stand in the first breaking light of a most eventful day – an era of greater displays of Divine grace in the salvation of sinners than the world has ever seen.  We need faith that is equal to the times.  We need confidence to ask great things of God, and we shall get great things.  Ask little things, and we shall get little things.  But ask mighty showers of grace, and they will be poured out like a flood upon us.”

This Christian came all the way from India to New York City to see the miracle of God for himself; a miracle that had been activated by prayer.  He saw the desperate need for a miraculous moving of the Spirit of God that demanded faith that was equal to the times.  He also provided a critical reminder to all of us on the importance of a confidence to ask great things of God and to avoid small faith that merely yields small results.  He yearned for mighty showers of grace that would be poured out like a flood upon them.

We desperately need a miraculous moving of the Spirit of God that demands faith equal to the times.  Today in America, we need confidence to ask great things of God because we yearn for great results while avoiding small faith that yields small results.  We need mighty showers of grace that would pour out like a flood upon us.

PLEASE PRAY FOR FAITH AMONG AMERICAN CHRISTIANS THAT IS EQUAL TO THE TIMES!  Oh that we would hear people say once again: “I have come all the way from that far distant land to see for myself what the Lord is doing in America.” 

ADMIN:  The testimony above comes from the Talbot Chambers book “The New York City Noon Prayer Meeting: A Simple Gathering That Changed The World”.

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