Dr. Lyman Beecher said of the great revival in Rochester, N.Y., conducted by Mr. Finney, that it was the greatest revival in the Christian era.
During Mr. Finney’s evangelistic ministry, hundreds of thousands were converted to God through his labors, joined to those of the church. His Lectures on Revivals “ have been most wonderfully blessed in the conversion of sinners, directly and indirectly, not only in this country, but in foreign countries. When they were published in this country, 12,000 of them were sold as fast as they could be printed. They were reprinted in England and France. They were translated into Welsh, French and German. One publisher in London put out 80,000 volumes of them. Great revivals followed wherever they circulated.
But why did such revivals follow Mr. Finney’s preaching, and the reading of his lectures? I will let Mr. Finney answer this question himself. Said he, in his autobiography - “Let the reader remember that long day of agony and prayer at sea, that God would do something to forward the work of revivals, and enable me, if He desired to do it, to take such a course as to help forward the work. I felt certain then, that my prayers would be answered, and I have regarded all that I have since been able to accomplish, as in a very important sense, an answer to the prayers of that day. The spirit of prayer came upon me as a sovereign grace, bestowed upon me without the least merit, and in despite of all my sinfulness.
He pressed my soul in prayer until I was enabled to prevail; and through infinite riches of grace in Christ Jesus, I have been many years witnessing the wonderful results of that day of wrestling with God. In answer to that day’s agony, He has continued to give me the spirit of prayer.”
Said Dr. N. Murray: “Prayer is the power of the Church; and could I speak as loud as the trumpet which is to wake the dead, I would thus call upon the Church, in all branches and in all lands: ‘Awake! Awake! Put on thy strength, O Zion! Put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem! Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.’” Patriarchs, prophets, apostles. martyrs, reformers, were mighty in prayer. — Prevailing Prayer, by Wigle
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893
Charles Finney wrote many books that are still in print. For an introduction to his life, we enjoyed the biography written by Basil Miller. Also, look into the life of Daniel Nash for more information about the prayers that surrounded the revivals. He was Finney's Prayer Minister.