This is not about Oprah. This is the account of a revival that started in 1857. Think it could happen again? Read this short, encouraging excerpt, then click the links at the end to read the full story and discover “The Secret” of this 19th century move of God.
The Presbyterian Magazine reported that as of May there had been fifty thousand converts of the revival. In February, a New York Methodist magazine reported a total of eight thousand conversions in Methodist meetings in one week. The Louisville daily paper reported seventeen thousand Baptist conversions in three weeks during the month of March. And according to a June statement, the conversion figures stood at 96,216–and still counting. All but two of the youth in one high school were saved. A similar event took place in Toledo, Ohio. These are just brief examples of what was happening constantly all across the nation.
Those on ships approaching the east coast at times felt a solemn, holy influence, even one hundred miles away, without even knowing what was happening in America.
Revival began aboard one ship before it reached the coast. People on board began to feel the presence of God and a sense of their own sinfulness. 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.
The battleship North Carolina was anchored in New York harbor as a naval receiving ship. More than a thousand young men were on board. Four Christians agreed to meet together for prayer and knelt on the lower deck. The Spirit of God so filled their hearts with joy that they broke into song. Ungodly men on the top deck heard the singing, looked down, and saw the boys kneeling. They began running down the stairs, mocking and jeering. The convicting power of the Holy Spirit so gripped them that by the time they reached the bottom deck they fell on their knees and began crying for mercy.
***Image is of D. L. Moody in the inquiry room.