The Power of Prayer
The New York Revival of 1858
The Autumn of 1857 saw New York in the midst of financial failure which ruined many of its one million people. J.W. Alexander, returning there from Europe, found ‘a pall of mourning over every house’. But, unlike other times of national disaster this era was accompanied by a renewed spirit of prayer to be followed by a manifestation of the ‘marvelous lovingkindness’ of God as thousands were brought from worldly sorrow to the possession of everlasting riches and life in Christ.
Samuel Prime’s work, written with the aid of other ministers, gives a first hand record of the year which saw America’s last national awakening- a revival which, noiseless and unexpected, was in striking contrast with the idea that evangelism is primarily a case of human effort. In 1858 the great truths ‘made exceedingly prominent’ were ‘the influence of the Holy Spirit and free salvation through the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ’.
This is largely the human story of people into whose lives God came. But the main lesson is abiding. The Spirit of God, Prime believed, intended the revival to be a lasting example to the church of the relationship between His work and believing prayer. This rare title was the last which Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones urged for republication before his death. Few books can be more relevant for the church today.
About the Author
Samuel Irenaeus Prime was born at Ballston, New York in 1812. He studied at Williams College and Princeton Theological Seminary before becoming a minister in the Presbyterian Church in 1834. The ill-health which accompanied his pastoral labours led him to concentrate upon a written ministry. So, from 1840 until his death in 1885 he was the Editor of the influential New York Observer.
The Power of Prayer: The New York Revival of 1858 was Prime’s most popular book.
“Every Christian should read this, especially pastors. I read it aloud each night with my family. You will be in awe, cry, laugh and at times perplexed. An amazing account of what God can do, and that through praying men and women, a praying church, and how Sovereign his Spirit truly is over history. A timely read for our present generation. May God awaken a praying church where prayer dominates one more time!” — Sam