In 1857 there were 30,000 men idle on the streets of New York. Drunkenness was rampant, and the nation was divided by slavery. God raised up a praying businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier. On September 23, 1857 he began a noontime prayer meeting in an abandoned church on Fulton Street (six blocks north of Wall Street) in the Financial District of Manhattan. Out of a city of 1 million people, only six people showed up a half hour late.
The group decided to meet the next week and there were 14. The next week there were 23. The following week there were 40. Within weeks there were thousands of business leaders meeting daily. God moved so powerfully that the prayer meeting spread across the nation and touched cities and towns from coast to coast. It is estimated that nearly 1 million people were converted out of a national population of 35 million, including 10,000 weekly conversions in New York City for a season. The revival was a key part of the Third Great Awakening.
Between 1860 and 1920, as answers to prayer, many Christian welfare organizations were formed, including the Bowery Mission, the McCauley Street Mission, the American branch of The Salvation Army (begun in London), and the Student Volunteer Movement, as well as a great outpouring of interest in world missions.
September 2007 marked the 150th Anniversary of the Fulton Street Revival. This video explores the story of Jeremiah Lamphier's prayer movement and how the lessons of his passion for prayer can be applied today.