Prayer is the truest measure of a person. It is the greatest indicator of our success in any endeavor.

In 1857, Jeremiah Lanphier was called to be a city missionary. He felt led to begin a daily prayer meeting where business people in New York City could gather for midday prayer. The first meeting was in the upper room of the consistory building of the Dutch Reformed Church in Manhattan. Only six people attended, then 14, and the next week 23. Eventually the prayer meeting out grew the church itself. Prayer meetings multiplied across the city until daily gathering for prayer took place in almost every public building in New York City.

J. Edwin Orr writes, “When people are found getting up at six in the morning to pray, or praying late into the night, or giving up their lunch time to pray at a noonday prayer meeting, that is extraordinary prayer.” The newspaper sent a reporter to investigate the growing revival. The reporter visited 12 prayer meetings in one hour on one day and counted 6,100 men fervently seeking God in prayer. At the peak of the revival, it’s estimated that nearly 10,000 people were converted weekly in New York City, roughly 1% of the population per week!

I wonder if those six people at the first prayer meeting were discouraged that first week. They had no inkling they were starting something that would impact hundreds of thousands of lives. Rarely does anyone know they are making history while they are making it. But if we pray like the members of the early church did, our prayers have the potential to write and rewrite history.

In Zechariah 4, The Lord encourages the remnant who are about to rebuild the temple, “Do not despise small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” God rejoices when we take even the smallest steps in the right direction. Those small steps become giant leaps in God’s kingdom.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, and if we do the ordinary, God will add the extra to it.”

Rev. Dr. William Lewis