Are There Limits on Intercessions and Prayers?

lucy in


America’s greatest prayer outpouring began on September 23, 1857, in the Old Dutch North Church in New York City. A former businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier, was hired by the church to visit neighborhood homes. His outreach was not that successful, but a new idea dawned on him while he made his rounds.

Lanphier felt businessmen might like to get away once a week for a short period of prayer. Most businesses closed down from 12 Noon to 1 p.m. So, he came up with the noontime prayer meetings and handed out pamphlets entitled, “How Often Shall I Pray?”

Six businessmen eventually arrived at the first prayer meeting. The following week, twenty men showed up. The numbers increased each week until October 14, 1857, when one hundred showed up, but on that particular day, something else happened: a financial panic hit America. Banks closed. Railroads went bankrupt. Thousands of New Yorkers lost their jobs. Businessmen rushed to the meetings.

The prayer meetings were soon held on a daily basis and other places opened their doors for noontime prayer meetings.

Within six months, ten thousand businessmen attended over one hundred and fifty different prayer meetings in New York City on a daily basis. And across the nation, the Spirit of Prayer started meetings for businessmen in Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Louisville, Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, and countless other cities.

This prayer outpouring is known as the Businessman’s Prayer Revival or the Layman’s Prayer Revival. The revival continued full strength for over a year and even continued in the Confederate Army’s camps during the Civil War. It is estimated that as many as six percent of Americans were converted during this revival.

Okay, consider this: this great prayer revival did not stop the Civil War from happening nor did it blunt the extreme judgment meted out on the Southern states. Why not?

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,”says the Lord,“who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

Our prayers and intercessions have one limiting factor: the Lord Jesus Christ. We begin with His name on our lips and end with His revelation in our hearts. We will never go past the limits He sets for us in our prayers and intercessions. Never!

So, when zealous believers say that we can pray all of America’s problems away, I clench my teeth and bite my tongue, hoping they are correct and knowing they are probably not.

You see, often the Lord wants us to build roads with our prayers for us to travel on during bad times rather than bridges to bypass them.


Filed under Christianity, Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

4 responses to “Are There Limits on Intercessions and Prayers?

  1. So much wisdom and insight in this , Mr. Larry. “We begin with His name on our lips and end with His revelation in our hearts” and Jesus wanting us to build roads to travel on with our prayers, during hard times , rather than bridges to bypass them so resonates with me. Thank you! And God bless you as you pray.
    P.S. Have any doors been opened for you?

  2. Debbie,

    Thanks. There may be a door with a little crack in it. I’ll just have to keep smacking it with my battle-ax. God bless you.

  3. Thank you for this post. It goes against the flow of many prophetic words today.

    For what it’s worth, I’d like to share a “revelation” I received over 30 years ago. I had been reading the books of Chronicles. When I finally finished I closed my eyes and immediately I saw a huge stadium filled with people praising God. I asked the Lord who they were and felt He told me that as it was in the end of Judah, so it would be in the US. A great revival was coming (comparable to that of the revival during Josiah’s reign), but the evil of Manassah’s reign was great, and could not be ignored. God would send the revival to give people opportunity to clearly hear and understand the gospel so they could repent and come to Him. Many would be saved, but a sizeable percentage of the responses would be shallow. When a time of persecution followed, they would fall away. And then judgment would come.

    When the Promise Keeper’s gatherings occurred, I asked the Lord if that was what I saw. He said they were not–greater gatherings would come that would include men, women and children.

    The tragedy, of course, is that according to this “revelation” the revival will not have a lasting impact on many. On the other hand, some who responded to God’s call during Josiah’s reign became the seed of the remnant. We would have to include Jeremiah, Daniel and friends, and Ezekiel as fruit of that revival. As well as Nehemiah, Ezra, and the many who eventually made the journey to resettle Jerusalem.

    I’m not so foolish as to say this is an accurate word in all respects. But I’ve not been able to shake it because I believe it contains truth. It actually influences all I see and read concerning events in our nation.

  4. Solveig,

    The Word of Faith movement built us up to believe God answers prayers, but the downside was that we began believing that we can do all things through our faith, which is not true. The Bible states we can do all things through Him who strengthens us, with the emphasis on Him: the Alpha and the Omega.

    What a great revelation you received over thirty years ago. It goes along with some words I have read by other people. Although there are those who may disagree, I believe that revival is a short-term wind that fills our sails and moves us along the seas of time according to what the Lord wants to accomplish in that time period. It begins with Him and ends with Him. We, at best, just get to hang on for the ride.

    I copied and pasted your revelation into a Word document so I will remember it for the future. When the revival hits, I want to remind people to ground themselves for the after-revival time period.


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