1/28/2019

WILL GOD JUDGE AMERICA FOR DESTROYING INNOCENT LIFE?


Is America headed for Divine judgement because of its disregard for human life and its contempt for the most vulnerable among us? Consider what just happened in the state of New York. Legislators approved the killing of unborn babies right up to the day of birth and then stood and cheered when it was announced that it had passed.
The law also removed protection for an infant accidentally born alive during an abortion. In other words, even a live baby outside the womb can be killed. Adding insult to injury, the governor ordered the World Trade Center tower to be lit pink to celebrate this law that will inflict untold suffering and death on countless babies.
Since abortion was legalized in 1973, over 50 million innocent babies have had their lives snuffed out because someone considered them an inconvenience.
Will God wink and turn a blind eye to this holocaust and disregard for innocent life?
America’s Founders Believed that God Judges Nations
America’s Founders believed that God judges nations as well individuals—that He judges individuals for personal sins and nations for national-institutional sins. This was the basis for much controversy at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 when accommodation was made to the southern slave states for fear that a successful Union could not be established without their involvement.
The Great Awakening (1726-70) had unleashed anti-slavery sentiments, especially in the North, as the revivalists purposely reached out to blacks, both slave and free. As a result, when the separation from England came in 1776, several states, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York immediately took steps to abolish slavery—something they could not do under George III.
Founders, such as Benjamin Franklin, released their slaves and began to advocate for abolition. Most Founders had come to agree with John Adams who said,
Every measure of prudence . . . ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. I have throughout my whole life held the practice of slavery in abhorrence.
Nonetheless, at the Constitutional Convention, the majority was willing to cut a deal with the southern slave states to gain their participation. Some of the Founders, however, such as such as George Mason, saw this as an ungodly compromise with evil and vehemently protested.
Mason, who is called the “Father of the Bill of Rights,” warned of Divine judgment if the slavery question was not settled then and there. He declared,
Every master is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of Heaven upon a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 9-100.
Thomas Jefferson issued a similar warning, for it was in the context of the continuance of slavery in America that he warned,
God who gave us life, gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that His justice cannot sleep forever (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 10).
Was the Civil War God’s Judgement for National Sin?
Many see the Civil War with its widespread destruction and excessive loss of life as the fulfillment of the warnings of judgement issued by Mason, Jefferson, and others. The destruction of property and the loss of life was truly apocalyptic.
Estimates of the loss of life range from 625,000 to over 700,000 soldiers and an unknown number of civilians. By way of comparison, in WWII 50,000 American soldiers lost their lives. In the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan less than 10,000 Americans have died. More lives were lost in the Civil War than in all wars combined from the American Revolution through the Korean Conflict.
The magnitude of the loss is amplified by the fact that the United States population at the time was only 31 million. This would be comparable to 7 or 8 million Americans losing their lives today. Add to that the fact that this war—the most devastating of all wars--was fought on American soil.
It was truly a devastating time. The wounded and maimed were everywhere. Weeping could be heard in homes throughout America. In many homes both father and sons were missing. Hardly a family could be found that had not lost multiple family members.
Mercy Precedes Judgement
Four years before the onset of the Civil War a great prayer awakening engulfed America. Churches, halls, fire stations, and auditoriums throughout the nation filled with people wanting to pour out their hearts to God. It seemed that a spirit of prayer came upon the entire nation.
Charles Finney, the great revivalist, said that people preferred prayer meetings to meetings where preaching was the central activity. He said the attitude seemed to be, “We have heard preaching until we are hardened; it is time to pray.”
At the height of this revival it was estimated that 50,000 people were being converted to Christ every week. Although its greatest impact was the fall and winter of 1857-58, it continued into the War and, no doubt, saved the nation from total ruin.
The Reason for the Prayer Awakening
Some have suggested that the Prayer Revival of 1857-58 was an outpouring of God’s mercy preceding national judgment for the national sin of slavery—that it was God giving the nation an opportunity to deal with this sin and thereby avoid the coming judgment.
Others would emphasize that the revival was God’s way of strengthening and preparing the nation for the terrible time of suffering it would endure through the Civil War. In their excellent book, FIREFALL: How God Has Shaped History Through Revivals, McDow and Reid write,
The Prayer Revival laid the foundation to give spiritual resources that would help the nation survive this conflict. Roy Fish notes that one of the major functions of the great awakening of 1858 had to do with its preparation of the country for its fratricidal war which clouded the horizon” (Hyatt, TheGreat Prayer Awakening, 34-35).
Abraham Lincoln Considered the Civil War a Divine Judgement
President Abraham Lincoln believed that the War to be an expression of Divine judgement on the land. He made this clear when he issued a proclamation for a national day of “humiliation, prayer and fasting” for April 30, 1863. Writing in the midst of the War, he declared,
And whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is Lord:
And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 36).
How Judgement Can be Averted
With the rejection of God and truth in our culture and such contempt for life in the womb, can America presume that it will avoid judgement from God?
This judgement does not come by God thundering directly from heaven, but by Him allowing the consequences of human choices to unfold. Both Scripture and history teach us that God, as the moral governor of the universe, providentially allows people and nations to suffer the consequences of their own deeds, when they refuse His grace.
Both history and Scripture also teach us that the future of America rests squarely on the shoulders of the professing Christians of this nation. This is borne out by the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:13 where He compares his followers to salt, warning that if salt loses it saltiness—that quality of tartness and pungent flavor that gives it its value— then it becomes useless.
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
One of salt’s most important qualities that made it valuable in the ancient world was that of a preservative. Salt resists corruption and spoilage. Salted meat lasts for long periods of time, even in warm weather, and before refrigeration, this made it especially valuable.
But salt that has lost its pungency and strength is no longer of value and is discarded, trampled underfoot by men, Jesus said. This reminds us of what may have happened in Russia in 1917.
I cannot document this, but some years ago I heard a lecture in which it was said that the very weekend the Bolsheviks took control of Russia, the largest church in that nation was having a conference to determine whether a cloth should be used on the communion table. They lost their saltiness and became trodden underfoot by an atheistic communist regime.
Here are five ways the American church can be salt and thereby restrain the moral corruption around us and avert Divine judgement.
1.    Do not compromise Jesus as the only way to God (John 14:6).
2.    Be committed to God’s word as the ultimate source of truth (John 8:31-32).
3.    Love the praise of God more than the praise of men (John 12:43).
4.    Refuse to be conformed to popular culture (Romans 12:2).
5.    Speak the truth in love and stand for life (Ephesians 4:15).
I would also encourage you to follow the lead of Vice-President Mike Pence and begin to pray for another national, spiritual awakening throughout our land. Since its inception, God has graciously sent such awakenings at critical moments in our nation’s history. In II Chronicles 7:14 He has promised to do it again, If My people . . ..

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58, available from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. Check out his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.

1/20/2019

THE HEBREW INFLUENCE IN THE LIFE AND NAME OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.


In the thinking of the ancient Hebrews, a person’s name was bound up with that person’s existence. Parents gave names to their children based on their hopes and aspirations for that child. A change of circumstances or a change of character often called for a new name to express the change that had taken place, as in the case of Abram to Abraham and Jacob to Israel. The name could, in fact, stand for its owner to such an extent that it could become a concept interchangeable with him.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not born with that name. He was born Michael King, Jr. on January 15, 1929. His father, however, being a Baptist minister, understood this Hebrew concept of the significance of names; and through an unexpected providential set of circumstances, he was led to give his five-year-old son a new name that defined his life and work. It happened like this.
In 1934, Dr. King’s father, Rev. Michael King Sr., travelled with a group of Baptist pastors to the Holy Land and then attended a week-long Baptist World Alliance conference in Berlin.
While in Germany, King and others visited many of the religious, historical sites related to Martin Luther and his work of Reformation. They saw, for example, the Wittenberg church where Luther boldly nailed his 95 theses, an act by which he challenged the oppressive papal system and ignited the Protestant Reformation.
King was greatly inspired by Luther’s life, work, and courage. He was so inspired, in fact, that upon returning home he changed his name to Martin Luther King, Sr. and changed the name of his five-year-old son to Martin Luther King, Jr. The rest is history. 

Those ancient Hebrews were obviously much wiser than they are given credit for in the modern world. Just ask Dr. King!


This article was derived from the Preface of Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, The Charismatic Luther. To view the numerous books he has written on church and spiritual awakening, visit Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.

1/17/2019

A "SIMPLE" FIX FOR TODAY'S CHURCH

But I fear, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
II Corinthians 11:4

During the fall and winter of 1857-58 a third Great Awakening swept across America. It came unexpectedly and swept hundreds of thousands into the kingdom of God. It helped end slavery and provided the spiritual resources necessary to preserve the nation through its darkest hour.
This Awakening had some peculiar features, including the fact that people did not want to hear preaching or be entertained—they wanted to pray. This Great Prayer Awakening was also characterized by a unique simplicity--a simplicity of format, purpose, and leadership that hearkened back to Jesus and the New Testament.
More than anything, the contemporary church would do well to learn these three simple lessons from the Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58.
Lesson 1
A Simple Format & Structure
This nation-shaking revival began when a businessman and home missionary with the Dutch Reformed Church decided to begin a noon prayer meeting for businessmen in downtown Manhattan. His desire was that business people in the area would come during their lunch break and pray for the conversion of the many new non-Christian immigrants that were pouring into the city.
The format for this prayer meeting on Fulton Street was simple. At 12 noon the leader of the meeting would open with one or two verses of a well-known hymn, an opening prayer, and then read any prayer requests. Anyone was then free to pray, share a prayer request, or give a testimony.
No one, including visiting ministers, was allowed more than five minutes and if anyone took more than their allotted time the leader would ring a bell signaling for that person to conclude their prayer or comments. Promptly at 1 p.m., the meeting was dismissed with a concluding prayer by the leader or someone appointed by him.
Although very punctual and simple in format, the meetings were accompanied with great spiritual power. An overwhelming sense of God’s presence seemed to pervade the very atmosphere and marvelous answers to prayer began to occur. As if drawn by an invisible force, people began to come from all parts of the city to be in the prayer meeting.
The room they were using was soon filled and then two adjoining rooms were opened and filled. It was standing-room-only with men and women being drawn from throughout the city.
From this simple prayer meeting on Fulton Street, a Great Prayer Awakening spread across America. Many of the prayer meetings that sprung up in different cities used this same simple format and saw incredible results.
Lesson 2
A Simple Purpose
The simple purpose of the Fulton Street prayer meeting was to pray for the conversion of those who did not know Christ. Yes, they prayed for other needs and requests, but the conversion of the unsaved was their stated purpose for gathering to pray.
God honored their simple purpose. Along with the many Christians who were drawn into the prayer meetings, many non-Christians begin to come and experienced overwhelming conviction of their need for Christ.
One notorious criminal nicknamed “Awful Gardiner” came into the meeting and was gloriously saved and transformed. This created a further sensation and news of the prayer meeting spread throughout the city and beyond.
During another meeting, a man wandered in who intended to murder a woman and then commit suicide. He listened as someone was delivering a fervent exhortation and urging the duty of repentance. Suddenly the would-be murderer startled everyone by crying out, “Oh! What shall I do to be saved!”
Just then another nonbeliever arose, and with tears streaming down his cheeks asked the meeting to sing the hymn, “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me,” which he remembered from his youth. As the praying throng enthusiastically lifted their voices in song, both men were converted on the spot (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 20).
This simple purpose of reaching the lost guided the revival as it spread throughout the land. Finney estimated that at the height of the revival fifty-thousand were being converted per week—and that without the aid of modern communication and technology.
Conservative estimates place the total number of conversions at around one million, but some have suggested that as many as two million may have been converted. The March 1858 issue of a religious journal reported,
The large cities and towns from Maine to California are sharing in this great and glorious work. There is hardly a village or town to be found where ‘a special divine power’ does not appear displayed (Hyatt, The Great PrayerAwakening, 26).
Lesson 3
Simple Leadership
The Great Prayer Awakening began with a simple layman who did not claim any special gift or calling, and it continued to be led by laypeople who claimed no special position or title. Pastors, ministers, and revivalists seemed to be laid aside.
The prayer meeting on Fulton Street was begun by Jeremiah Lanphier, a Christian businessman who was a nobody in Christian leadership circles. He had no desire to be a pastor or revivalist, but began the prayer meeting out of a deep burden and concern for those in his city that did not know Christ.
The daily meetings were led by Lanphier or some other simple, nameless believer. As the revival spread to other cities, these meetings, for the most part, were led by more nameless, faceless believers, unknown on earth but renowned in heaven.
The famous revivalist, Charles G. Finney, was still alive at the time but played no leading role in the revival. He later wrote in his Memoirs,
This revival had some very peculiarly interesting features. It was carried on to a large extent through lay influence, so much so as almost to throw the ministers into the shade . . . the people very extensively seemed to prefer meetings for prayer to meetings for preaching. The general impression seemed to be, “We have had instruction until we are hardened; it is time for us to pray” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 31).
This was a New Testament expression of the body of Christ. The New Testament church knows nothing of the sharp division that exists today between a professionalized clergy and the people known as the “laity.” This division comes from historical developments, not from the New Testament.
“Laity,” in fact, comes from the Greek word laos, which is translated as “people” in the New Testament and always refers to the whole people of God. Paul, Peter, John and Barnabas, though obvious leaders, are all part of the laos, i.e., the people of God. In the New Testament Church, the laos (people) are all filled with the Spirit and equipped to carry out the work of the ministry.
One of those profoundly impacted in this revival was a young D. L. Moody who later became the nation’s most successful evangelist/revivalist. Interestingly, Moody never sought ordination, influenced, no doubt, by what he saw God accomplish through the simple people of the Great Prayer Awakening.
Expect God, in the days ahead, to raise up an army of simple, nameless, faceless people and use them to ignite the greatest revival America has yet seen.
Concluding Thought
What the contemporary church needs more than anything is not a new revelation, impartation, program, order or structure, but a return to the simplicity of Jesus and the Gospel. As Paul said to the Corinthian church in II Corinthians 11:4, But I fear, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58, available form Amazon in both kindle and paperback. To read about his vision for another Great Awakening, check out his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.

1/10/2019

THE QURAN OR THE BIBLE? WHAT WOULD THE FOUNDERS SAY?

Rashida Tlaib, the new Congresswoman from Michigan, took the oath of office with her hand on a copy of the Quran. She then commented that "some of our Founding Fathers knew more about Islam than some members of Congress now," which was probably a reference to Thomas Jefferson who owned a copy of the Quran.
Tlaib is not the first to depart from the tradition established by the Founders and use a religious book other than the Bible for taking the oath of office. In 2007, Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, also chose to be sworn into Congress with his hand on a Quran.
What would America's Founders think of this break from the tradition they established? Would they be indifferent about it? Or would they be concerned?

A ten-year project instituted to discover where the Founders got their ideas for America’s founding documents found that by far the single most cited authority in their writings was the Bible. They seldom, if ever, quoted from the Quran. 

They were children of the Reformation and they had been impacted by the Great Awakening that brought a renewal of faith to all of Colonial America (for documentation of this, see my book Pilgrims and Patriots). This renewal of faith included the Reformation emphasis on the Bible as the final authority for life and liberty. 
Indeed, the First Continental Congress was opened with an extended time of Bible reading and prayer. And when George Washington placed his hand on a Bible and took the oath of office as America’s first president, it was no mere formality. It was an expression of his commitment to the Bible as the ultimate source of guidance and authority for his administration.
Jefferson, after reading and comparing the Quran and other writings with the Gospels, wrote, “Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observations, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.” He not only took the oath of office with his hand on a Bible, he closed all presidential documents with the appellation, “In the year of our Lord Christ.”
The Founders understood the power of values and belief systems in a way that most Americans today do not. They were convinced that only the Bible--centered in Jesus--offered a belief system and set of values that would sustain the free Republic they had brought into existence. 
Washington affirmed this when he said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” It was respect for the Bible as a guide for life and liberty that led James Madison, while president, to sign a federal bill in 1812 that provided economic aid for a Bible society in its goal of the mass distribution of the Bible (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 145).
The Founders’ respect for the Bible was highlighted when the first English Bible printed in America in 1782 included a recommendation from Congress. The producer of the Bible, Robert Aitken, had written a letter to Congress in which he asked for that government body’s sanction on his work. In the letter, Aitken called this Bible, “a neat Edition of the Scriptures for the use in schools.”
Congress enthusiastically responded to his request and offered the following recommendation to be included in this first English Bible printed in America.
Resolved: That the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an instance of the progress of the arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.
The Founders lived at a time when the European Enlightenment and its emphasis on reason was drawing many on the European continent away from the Bible. America’s Founders, however, saw no dichotomy between the Bible and reason. The well-known Catholic scholar, William Novak, says,
Everywhere that reason led, Americans found the Bible. If they read Francis Bacon, they found the Bible. If they read Isaac Newton or John Milton, they found the Bible. In Shakespeare, they found the Bible. In the world of the founders, the Bible was an unavoidable and useful rod of measurement, a stimulus to intellectual innovation (Hyatt, Pillars of the American Republic, 16).
This primary role of the Bible in America’s founding was acknowledged by Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, when he declared, “That book, sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests.” It was also confirmed by the twenty-sixth president, Theodore Roosevelt, who said, “No other book of any kind ever written English has ever so affected the whole life of a people.”
America's Founders were tolerant of non-Christians, not becasue they were indifferent, but because it is what Jesus taught. They were tolerant also becasue they believed in the power of the Christian message. They believed that, if given a level playing field, the truth of Christianity would prevail. Jefferson declared,
Truth can stand by itself … If there be but one right religion and Christianity that one, we should wish to see the nine hundred and ninety-nine wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free inquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves.

Nations derive their values primarily from religion. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria have derived their values from the Quran and Islam. The oppression and lack of individual freedom in those nations is obvious to all. Why then would anyone want to bring those same values to America?

Ameica's Founders believed that only Christianity provided the moral and intellecutal underpinnings for a stable and prosperous nation. They would, therefore, be very concerned with someone taking the oath of office with their hand on a Quran, which they would see as an expression of allegiance to that book. 
Yes, America was founded on Biblical values. It is time, therefore, for a “Back to the Bible” movement that will reeducate Americans, beginning with the church, as to what the Bible actually teaches, and the role it played in the founding of America.
Dr. Eddie Hyatt has written several books on America’s Christian origins and they are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He also conducts “America Reawakening” events, an inspiring PowerPoint presentation that documents how America was birthed out of a great spiritual awakening and a Christian worldview.

1/08/2019

WHEN THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER COMES UPON A NATION


When a “spirit of prayer” comes upon a person, congregation or nation, they desire to pray more than anything else. Their hearts are overwhelmed with a yearning towards God and nothing but prayer will suffice and satisfy. This kind of prayer  is a work of the Holy Spirit and is mentioned in Romans 8:26.

This is what happened in the Great Prayer Revival of 1857-58. As if drawn by an invisible force, multitudes throughout the nation crowded into churches, fire stations, lodges and halls to pour out their hearts to God in prayer.
The did not want preaching or singing. They did not want to be  entertained. They wanted to pray. Charles G. Finney said the general impression seemed to be, “We have had instruction until we are hardened; it is time for us to pray.”
This prayer revival began with a simple layman named Jeremiah Lanphier experiencing a deep concern for the unconverted and spiritually indifferent. Out of this concern, he obtained a third story room in the Old Dutch Church on Fulton Street in downtown Manhattan and invited local businessmen to come and spend their noon hour in prayer.
Although simple in format and absent of hype, the meeting grew until every day it was standing room only. Men, women and the unconverted were drawn as if by a magnet into the prayer meeting. Marvelous answers to prayer were multiplied and many remarkable conversions occurred.
Many pastors began attending the daily prayer meeting, and seeing the passion for prayer, began opening their churches for prayer meetings. They were amazed to see multitudes fill their sanctuaries to pray both day and night.
A spirit of prayer seemed to be unleashed from the Fulton Street meeting to the nation. Prayer meetings began springing up in Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago and in a multitude of smaller cities and rural areas.
Characterized by a Solemn Sense of God’s Presence
The prayer meetings were characterized by a solemn sense of God’s presence and much convicting power. Sinners seemed helpless in God’s presence as the arrows of the Almighty pierced their hearts.
For example, in a noon prayer meeting at a church in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan, the sanctuary was crowded with a standing-room-only crowd when a prayer request was read from a wife asking prayer for her unsaved husband.
Immediately, a man stood to his feet and with tears exclaimed, “I am that man. My wife is a good Christian woman and she must have sent that request. Please pray for me.” He sat down and immediately a man in another part of the house stood to his feet weeping, and as if he had not heard the first man, declared, “That was my wife who sent that request. She is a good Christian woman and I have treated her badly. Please pray for me!” He sat down and another man stood, also convinced that it was his wife who sent the prayer request and after him a fourth and a fifth with similar confessions.
One writer described a “zone of heavenly influence” that pervaded the eastern seaboard, extending out into the Atlantic and impacting the passengers and crews of approaching ships. He wrote,
Revival began aboard one ship before it reached the coast. People on board began to feel the presence of God and the sense of their own sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicted them and they began to pray. As the ship neared the harbor, the captain signaled, “Send a minister.” Another small commercial ship arrived in port with the captain, and every member of the crew converted in the last 150 miles. Ship after ship arrived with the same story: both passengers and crew were suddenly convicted of sin and turned to Christ before they reached the American coast (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 24-25).
Finney told of a prayer meeting in Boston in which a man stood and declared that he had just travelled almost two thousand miles from Omaha, Nebraska and had found “a continuous prayer meeting all the way” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 22).
The Nation is Awakened
A young D. L. Moody attended daily prayer meetings in Chicago and wrote to his mother, “Oh, how I do enjoy it! It seems as if God were here Himself.” In Washington D.C., Presidents Pierce (1853-57) and Buchannan (1857-61) attended prayer meetings that were organized in that city.
In Charleston, South Carolina, the black pastor of the Anson Street Presbyterian Church, John Giardeau, established a prayer meeting in 1858 and exhorted his people to “wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
The prayer service grew until the auditorium was overflowing with more than two-thousand people. As on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit suddenly fell upon those at the Anson Street Church, a congregation made up mostly of slaves.
They began to sob, softly, like the falling of rain; then, with deeper emotion, to weep bitterly, or to rejoice loudly, according to their circumstances. It was midnight before he could dismiss the congregation. The meeting went on night and day for weeks. Large numbers of both black and white were converted and joined churches in the city (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26).
Finney described 1857-58 as a time when “a divine influence seemed to pervade the whole land” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26). He estimated that at the height of the revival fifty-thousand were being converted in a single week—and that without the aid of modern communication and technology.
Conservative estimates place the total number of conversions at around one million, but some have suggested that as many as two million may have been converted. The March 1858 issue of a religious journal reported,
The large cities and towns from Maine to California are sharing in this great and glorious work. There is hardly a village or town to be found where ‘a special divine power’ does not appear displayed (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26).
The Third Great Awakening
This was America’s “Third Great Awakening.” For any revival to be called a “Great Awakening” it should have the following three characteristics.
1.     It is an obvious sovereign work God in that it has arisen apart from any identifiable human plan, strategy or design.
2.      It is non-sectarian and touches people of all sects and denominations. No one group, or church can “own” the revival.
3.       It is not localized or regional but has an obvious national impact on the nation and its culture. 
The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58 possessed these characteristics, which is why I have chosen to call it America’s “Third Great Awakening.” 
The Reason for the Great Prayer Awakening
Some have suggested that the Prayer Revival of 1857-58 was an outpouring of God’s mercy preceding national judgment for the institutional sin of slavery—that it was God giving the nation an opportunity to deal with this sin and thereby avoid the coming judgment.
Others would emphasize that the revival was God’s way of strengthening and preparing the nation for the terrible time of suffering it would endure through the Civil War. In their excellent book, FIREFALL: How God Has Shaped History Through Revivals, McDow and Reid write,
The Prayer Revival laid the foundation to give spiritual resources that would help the nation survive this conflict. Roy Fish notes that one of the major functions of the great awakening of 1858 had to do with its preparation of the country for its fratricidal war which clouded the horizon” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 34-35).
Giardeau, the black pastor from South Carolina, believed the revival was sent to prepare the hearts of so many who would soon lose their lives in the Civil War. He described the revival as “the Lord’s mercy in gathering His elect for the great war that was soon to sweep so many of them into eternity.”
The Greatest Tragedy in American History
There was, indeed, great loss on all fronts, but none so great as the loss of human life. Estimates of the loss of life range from 625,000 to over 700,000 soldiers and an unknown number of civilians. The magnitude of the loss is amplified by the fact that the United States population at the time was only 31 million.
By way of comparison, in WWII 50,000 American soldiers lost their lives. In the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan less than 10,000 Americans have died. More lives were lost in the Civil War than in all wars combined from the American Revolution through the Korean Conflict.
It was truly a devastating time. Weeping could be heard in homes throughout America. In many homes both father and sons were missing. Hardly a family could be found that had not lost multiple family members.
The nation was devastated only a few years after the Great Prayer Revival. However, there is evidence that the spirit of prayer continued during the war and, no doubt, preserved the populace and the nation from utter ruin.
Prayer Continues During the War
Although this great Prayer Revival is often identified with the years 1857-58, it did not suddenly cease after those dates. Those dates merely identify the revival at its height and period of its greatest impact. There are reports of prayer meetings being prominent in both the Northern and Southern armies—a carry-over from the Prayer Revival.
When, for example, things were not going well for the Union army in the early days of the war, President Lincoln expressed concern that the “rebel soldiers” were praying more fervently than those of the North. The noted historian, Mark A. Noll, says, “Revivals were common in both camps of the Blue and the Gray” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 35).
A National Day of Prayer Changes the Course of the War
With the North suffering one defeat after another and things looking grim for the state of the Union, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution asking the president to proclaim a national day of fasting and prayer.
President Lincoln then designated April 30, 1863 as a national day of humiliation, prayer and the confession of national sins, which would include the sin of slavery. In this proclamation, he said,
It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is Lord.
Lincoln’s Prayer of Faith
Because the influence of the Great Prayer Awakening was still fresh in the minds of the people, they responded en masse to Lincoln’s call to prayer. And after this national day of repentance and prayer, there was an almost immediate turn of the war in favor of the North--but not before a severe test of faith.
The following June, a confident General Robert E. Lee led 76,000 Confederate troops north into Union territory, i.e., into Pennsylvania. The populace was terrified and there was much panic. Lincoln, however, having been impacted by the Prayer Revival, found solace in prayer. He said,
When everyone seemed panic-stricken, I went to my room and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed. Soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul that God Almighty had taken the whole business into His own hands (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 38).
The Confederate forces were defeated at Gettysburg on July 3 and that battle proved to be the turning point for the war. Some would say the victory at Gettysburg was coincidental, but the change came on heels of the national day of repentance, prayer and fasting. One writer surmised that the North did not win the Civil War, but that prayer won the war.
The War Ends • The Healing Continues
For all practical purposes, the war ended in the spring of 1865, when Robert E. Lee and the last major Confederate army surrendered at the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9. Over the next few months smaller units throughout the South laid down their arms and the bloodiest four years in American history came to an end.
It was from this era and out of this environment of both prayer and the sufferings of war that the Negro spiritual came forth that included the repeated phrase, “Ain’t gonna study war no more.” It captured the deepest feelings of many who longed for peace and a sense of God’s blessing once again on the nation.
Gonna lay down my burdens,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside, down by the riverside.
Gonna lay down my burdens,
Down by the riverside.
Ain’t gonna study war no more.
Gonna sit down with Jesus,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside, down by the riverside.
Gonna sit down with Jesus,
Down by the riverside.
Ain’t gonna study war no more.
If My People Will Humble Themselves and Pray
America is once again deeply divided and there is no answer to be found in politics, education or formal religion. There is, however, an answer and the Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58 points us to that answer. The answer is a serious meeting with God in prayer.
A national healing will occur when God’s people meet, not in Washington D.C, but in II Chronicles 7:14. This is a promise of national healing with certain conditions attached—conditions related to prayer.
We can be encouraged that Vice President Mike Pence often quoted this passage during the 2016 presidential campaign as a basis for national healing. When he took the oath of office, he purposely placed his hand on a Bible opened to this passage. It reads,
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s latest book, The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58, available from Amazon in both kindle and paperback. To read more about his vision for America and the world, visit his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.