We knew a preacher, still living, who was appointed to the charge of a church in Springfield, Ill. The church seemed very much depressed. It's life was at a low ebb. It was in the midst of the harvest, in the hot weather, when things seemed most depressed.
The pastor, a holy man of God, announced on Sabbath evening to a small congregation of a score or two of persons, “There will be a prayer-meeting in this church tomorrow morning at sunrise for the revival of the work of God and for the conversion of sinners.” The people wondered at the notice, and went home.
The pastor went up into his study, which was in the parsonage by the side of the church, and gave that night to prayer. Just as the East began to lighten up a little with the coming day he had the assurance that his prayer was answered, and casts himself down on a sofa for a little rest. Presently he awoke suddenly to see the sun shining on the wall over his head.
He sprang up and hooked out of the window to see how late it was, when he saw the sun just rising above the horizon. Looking down into the yard by the church, he was overjoyed to see the church crowded with people, and the yard foul, and teams crowding into the street for a long distance. God had heard his prayer, and had sent out his Spirit into the community, and there had been no sleeping in Springfield that night. People in the country who knew nothing of the appointment got up in the night, hitched up their teams, and drove into town and to the church to find out what the matter was. A good man had taken hold of God.
The prayer-meeting began, and was closed that night at eleven o’clock. Several souls were converted. A gracious work broke out, and the community was greatly blessed. The foregoing we certify to on the highest authority, having it from the lips of the man himself, whom every body knowing him believes as soon as any thing outside of the Bible.
We greatly need earnest, persevering, believing prayer. One night of such prayer kept by all the Church would startle the nation. We sorely need a mighty baptism of power. We have all the other elements of success. We lack no machinery. We have truth, and the experience of its saving power and the appliances.
What we now need is the outpouring of the Spirit upon us as a people. We must rekindle our fires. We must make our churches centers of saving power. One hour a day spent by the church in earnest prayer for the revival of God’s work would make the coming year the most memorable in the history of the church.
If you do not feel burdened, ask for the spirit of prayer, and that shall be given you. Forsake your sins and leave yourself with God, and give yourself to prayer, and all over the land God will hear and answer, and pour out his Spirit, and bestow his power, and make this year a revival year. – Bishop C.H. Fowler
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893