How Canada was Once Impacted by a Powerful Revival of Prayer
A powerful Prayer Revival erupted in Hamilton, Ontario in the fall of 1857 and spread to other parts of Canada. This prayer revival resulted in thousands turning to Christ and the revival and renewal of many churches. Entire towns were impacted.
Prayer meetings were begun in Hamilton after a visit from Phoebe Palmer and her husband, Walter, in the fall of that year. The Palmer’s were from New York City where a powerful prayer revival had recently begun after a layman began a prayer meeting in the Dutch Reformed Church on Fulton Street in that city. Within a short time that prayer meeting had spread all over the U.S.
As in the Fulton Street meeting, a spirit of prayer gripped the hearts of the people in Hamilton. They did not want to hear preaching; they wanted to pray. In answer to their prayers, God began to work mightily in the city. In just a few days around 400 people were converted. The November 5, 1857 issue of the New York Christian Advocate and Journal reported on the “Revival Extraordinary” in Hamilton;
The work is taking its range with persons of all classes. Men of low degree and men of high estate for wealth and position; old men and maidens, and even little children, can be seen humbly kneeling together, pleading for grace. The mayor of the city, with other persons of like position, are not ashamed to be seen bowed at the altar of prayer beside the humble servant.
The revival spread as the Spirit of God was poured out in response to the prayers of His people. Conversions were multiplied. The following year, in 1858, A. B. Earle, a Baptist evangelist, reported that he was one of five ministers baptizing new believers simultaneously because of the massive numbers. Concerning the awakening in one particular Canadian village, Earle wrote, “I went out at midnight near my boarding-house and could distinctly hear the voice of prayer in the houses, in the barns, in the fields, in the streets.”
God will touch Canada again if He can find a people who will pray and obey. At a critical moment in Israel's history when the nation had strayed far from God and His ways and was facing destruction, God said through Ezekiel, And I sought for anyone among them who would repair the wall and stand in the breach before me on behalf of the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one (Ezekiel 22:20; NRSV). God was looking for someone who would pray and intercede on behalf of the land. Sadly, He found no one. May God, at this time in history, find in us a people willing to stand in the breach in intercessory prayer on behalf of the land.