“I pray that you may grasp how wide and long and high and
deep is the love of Christ.”
– Ephesians 3:18
1857, a Christian businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier started a noon prayer
meeting in New York City.
He distributed thousand of flyers calling on businessmen to come to the Old
Dutch Church on Fulton Street
at noon on Wednesdays to commune with God. Well, on the first day of the prayer
meeting, 12 p.m. came and went, and Jeremiah was sitting in the room by
himself. 12:10—still nobody. Jeremiah started praying. 12:15, 12:20, 12:25—still
nobody. Finally, at 12:30, one businessman came in, then another and another.
Six joined him for that remaining half hour of prayer.
Wednesday, there were twenty. Then they started meeting daily, and within six
months over twenty prayer meetings had sprung up all over the city, until 10,000
businessmen were gathering in New York
City for prayer. Prayer meetings also popped up across
the country: 200 towns in New York, 150 in Massachusetts, 200 in Ohio, 150 in
Indiana, 50 in Missouri, and so on. Historically, we know it as the Fulton
Street Revival, or the Prayer Meeting Revival of 1857 and 1858. It is estimated
that at the peak of the revival, 10,000 people a week were becoming Christians
in New York City alone—50,000 total per week in
the United States.
Street Revival was a small taste of what could happen across America when God ushers in the next
great revival. God is always at work in and through Christ’s Church. But during
times of revival, His presence and power reach a whole new level. During times
of revival, the Holy Spirit of God FIRST does an extraordinary work among
Christians in the Church, and SECOND, He works through revived Christians to do
an extraordinary work among unbelievers outside the Church. Tens of
thousands—sometimes even millions—of unbelievers get saved.
looking for an example of revival in the early Church, we see it in the apostle
Paul’s time in Ephesus.
For three years, Paul preached the Gospel, started a church and sent out
missionaries. And according to Acts 19:11-12, “God did extraordinary miracles
through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were
taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left
them.” What took place in Ephesus
during those three years was very revival-like. God moved in extraordinary
A few years
later, Paul wrote his famous letter to the Ephesian Christians, and his revival
prayer in Ephesians 3 is an integral part in teaching the Church to reach its
full potential in Christ. In verses 16-19, Paul prays four things for the
#1: Paul prays for the Christians in
Ephesus to have
inner, spiritual strength (v. 16). It’s very common for Christians to say, “I want to know God
better” and “I want God to use me in greater ways.” But honestly, most of us
are too spiritually puny to know God better. And we’re too spiritually flabby
for God to use us in greater ways. You and I may say we want God to bring
revival to our church, families and nation, but, honestly, most of us aren’t
preparing for it. We can’t remember the last time we prayed for more than five minutes
at a time. We have no spiritual strength or stamina. So, Paul prays that we
would bulk up spiritually. Those who experience revival on Day 1 tend to be
those who have been prioritizing prayer, so they’ve been strengthened by the
Holy Spirit to receive a greater outpouring of God.
#2: Paul prays for the Christians in
Ephesus to have
inner spiritual depth (v. 17). If we as Christians are serious about making a greater
impact in the Victor Valley for Jesus Christ, there’s no way around it: We have
to dig deeper and make sure we are solidly grounded in God’s Word and Christ’s
love. One of the greatest prayers you could ever pray for me (or for any other
Christian you know) is for us to be rooted and established in the Word of God
and in the love of Christ.
#3: Paul prays for Christians in Ephesus to have inner
spiritual insight (v. 18). We talk, preach and even sing about the unconditional, never-failing
love of Christ. But Christ’s love is immeasurably wide, unfathomably long,
incomparably high and unimaginably deep. We have only begun to grasp how wide
and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. So, Paul prays that the
Ephesian Christians—and you and I today—would grasp the love of Christ.
Paul pray so fervently for the Ephesian Christians to have inner spiritual
strength, depth and insight? Because, #4:
Paul wanted the Ephesian Christians to be filled with the knowledge and
fullness of God (v. 19). Paul’s ultimate desire for Christians is that they
would know intimately the love of Christ and be completely filled with as much
of God as possible.
like revival to me. Revival is “God.” During times of revival our eyes are
opened, and we realize that, up to that point, we’ve barely known God. And any
spiritual hunger we had for Him before revival came is only intensified when
revival actually comes. We wanted to know God and love God more, but during
revival our desire to know and love God intensifies.
culture is transformed, it will be on the heels of Christ’s Church being
transformed. Christ’s Church is the hope of the world. The Church is Jesus’
chosen vessel for expanding His Kingdom of Heaven here on earth and bringing
glory to God. So, won’t you join me in praying for the Church’s revival?
Dane Davis is the pastor
of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday
services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For
more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.
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