In 1868, Mrs. Maggie Newton Van Cott held a revival meeting at Stone Ridge, Ulster Co., N. Y. At the opening of the meeting, she announced, under the influence of the Spirit as she believed, that there would be a glorious revival, and that two hundred souls would be converted.
Some were shocked at the prediction; and some of the very best people in the church were grieved, for they felt certain that she was doomed to disappointment. She labored for more than a week with little fruit. Her strength began to give way. Her warmest co-workers began to tremble for her. One morning she remarked to the lady at whose residence she was staying:
“I am going into the parlor to settle this church-matter with the dear Master. Please do not allow any one to come near me. If I do not come out in time for dinner, do not call me. If I am not with you in time for the afternoon meeting, you may call in the friends. I shall, in the name of God, this day have victory or death.”
It was a bitter cold day in February, and no fire had been kindled in that room all winter, and the frost was thick on the window-panes. She wrapped a large shawl around her, and bowed before God; and presented the promises covered with the blood of the Savior, and in them there could be no failure.
“Ask, and ye shall receive,” stood before her as in characters of living fire. Also “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” “If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
It was the same voice that awoke slumbering chaos, and new-made worlds teeming with life, glorious and grand. An hour passed - another followed - she had grappled in with God’s Word, and in the anguish of her spirit, as she afterwards declared, she could in a certain degree understand the Scripture, where it describes the Master’s agony in the garden, when He sweat great drops of blood. In those hours of the most intense struggle of spirit, the great drops of sweat rolled from her brow.
The tempter suggested: “Give it up, God will not give the answer today.” “Then today, on this spot, I die,” was her answer. The agony increased. The prayer became a struggle as for life. “I will not let Thee go. Thy word is truth. Thou hast said, "Now is the time." O God, now send the answer; now my Father, hear me for the sake of souls - for the two hundred. Christ has paid the price of their redemption. I plead His merits -- I will not yield -- I will not move - I will not let go my hold - Thou canst not turn me away Behold Thine own dear Son pleads - the Spirit intercedes Give, O give the answer.”
That moment a sweet ripple of peace floated over her soul, and soon shouts of rapture flooded her spirit.
That night twenty seekers bowed at the altar of prayer. In less than five weeks two hundred and thirty-five persons professed faith in Christ.
Thus it ever is, “The fervent, effectual prayer of the righteous availeth.”
- The Harvest and the Reaper
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893