He wasn't a preacher or church-guy. He was a nobody who knew how to pray into the presence of God. He used the 4th floor room of the old Dutch Reformed Church and invited merchants, mechanics, clerks, strangers and businessmen to join him each Wednesday for a prayer time at noon.
It all began on the 21st of September, 1857, with 6 strangers. On the following Wednesday, 20 showed up. By the 3rd week, there were 40. Soon they changed to daily prayer times and expanded to three floors of the old church.
God was showing up … invading the impossible everyday. By springtime, prayer meetings were being held in buildings throughout the city. The newspapers reported that over 6,000 were attending daily prayer meetings in New York, and the "prayer meeting" craze had spread to Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and Philadelphia.
By May, a prominent newspaper reported that New England had been profoundly changed by these prayer meetings. And, within the next two years, noonday prayer meetings were being held in 15,000 cities across America.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16 TNIV).