Exeter Hall, London - D L Moody (1875)


The Christians of London are rather rallying round the noon prayer meetings in Exeter Hall. Every day the hall is crowded and the spirit of prayer prevails. The request for prayer that are sent in are so numerous that they have to be grouped. They embrace all ranks and conditions of society and all phases of mental difficulty. Surely the Lord has great things in store for London when he is awakening such a spirit of importunate prayer.

Monday was devoted, as has been the custom in other places, to reports of the Lord’s work. Mr Moody‘s brief address from the words, “Declare his doings, among the people,“ was directed to the importance of spreading abroad the news of the Lord’s work in different parts of the land and of the world. During the great American revival of 1857, the work was carried on in that way. The news was carried from one town to another, and the people said, “If God is working in other places, why not here?“ So they got together and began to pray, and God worked in every city throughout the land. What we want now he said, is that those who are in the harvest field should declare God's doings among the people. He went on to say how his heart was cheered the night before when a father came into the inquiry room with a noble-looking young man. The tears were trickling down his cheeks, and he said, “Here is my son; I have long been anxious for him, and now he is anxious for himself.“ Shortly afterwards, a mother came into the room with her four daughters who she wanted brought to Christ. It was a beautiful sight to see that mother pouring out a heart in prayer for her children. “I have good news from Liverpool,“ continued Mr Moody. “I have letters this morning to say that the work has only just commenced there.“ He referred to the young men’s meeting of which an account appeared in our last issue. He also read a letter stating that the Glasgow noon meeting of that day was to be devoted to special prayer for London. It would seem as if God were moving the heart of Christendom to pray for London. Let us take courage. Mr Moody proceeded to speak of the lack of workers in the inquiry room, and said, the night before, one worker sometimes had to talk to 15 or 20 inquirers. Every Christian ought to be at work doing what they could do to bring others to the Lord. There are hundreds and thousands in London, waiting for someone to tell them the way of life.

Mr Patton gave several striking cases he had met with in the inquiry room.

Many Christians had tried to speak to others about salvation and found it a very hard thing, but they would find it easier now than in bygone days. The spirit of God was moving mightily on the hearts of the people outside, to bring them to the feet of Christ; and if Christians would put themselves at Christ's disposal, did they suppose He would leave them unhelped? It would be contrary to the manner in which Christ treats his servants. Mr Dale then made some remarks of the results of the work in Birmingham, somewhat similar to those which recently appeared in our columns. 

Lord Radstock spoke of the remarkable movement going on in Russia. There are hundreds and probably thousands of souls who have been brought to Christ, and who are now spreading the knowledge of the Word of God by Bible readings. There were many difficulties and even persecution was not unknown; let there be prayer for that great country with its 80 millions of souls.

Rev, W H Chapman related his experiences in the inquiry room and said that if Christians were to be used there to the conversion of others, they must have their hearts on fire with love to Christ and souls, then the tongues would speak.

On Tuesday there was again a crowded attendance and the spirit of the meeting seemed to harmonise well with Mr Moody‘s subject, “prayer,“ founded on two Corinthians 20, 3–21. If our aim is single and our motive is pure and we want to see God's son, glorified, he will answer our prayers and bring deliverance. Mr Moody told of a young man, whom he had met in the inquiry room, who had been touched, not by anything in the sermon, but by a letter from his mother who told him to go to the meeting and she would be praying for him. He said this to encourage mothers to pray for the conversion of their children.

in the season of remarkably fervent and urgent prayer that occupied the last half hour, one minister on the platform, in very touching language, offered prayer for fathers, as well as mothers, that God would visit unconverted, drunken and dishonest fathers. He also pleaded with God for a blessing on fatherless children.

Special prayer was asked for and offered for Calcutta and India generally.

“Prayer“ was again Mr Moody‘s theme on Wednesday. He divided praying Christians into three classes – those who “ask,“ but do not wait for the answer, and are surprised when it comes; those who, when prayer is not answered, “seek“ to know and find out what the trouble is, and those who keep “knocking“ till the answer comes. A few “knocking“ Christians in London would bring down a great blessing. The sweetest lesson he had learned during the last few years as a Christian was to let God choose for him in temporal affairs.

Mr Sankey sang “knocking, knocking, who is that?“ which reminded the audience of the contrast between the patient, persistent, pleading with sinners “Of thy Saviour, waiting there,“ and the feeble, faithless, intermittent prayers of His saved ones.

Mr Donald Matheson desired praise to be given to God for the way in which the door had been open in France during the past years; and a gentleman in the audience added a word or two about the popularity of Mr Sankey's, hymnbook in Germany, whence he had just returned. 

Mr Grattan Guinness, who has had considerable experience of the Lord’s work in France, offered thanksgiving for spiritual blessing vouchsafed to that country and also besought a rich blessing on London at this time.

The meetings on Thursday and Friday were well-sustained. Mr Moody continued his remarks on prayer, referring on Thursday to the teaching of the Lord’s prayer, and especially the duty of Christian forgiveness. On Friday he dwelt on hindrances to prayers being answered.

"The Christian," March 25th, 1875.



The noon meetings do not decrease in interest or importance as the novelty wears off. They are assuming a settled business-like tone and on many occasions the spirit of prayer is so prevalent and manifest that two or three persons at the same moment start to their feet to pour out their desires to God. The prayers are remarkable for fervency and directness.

At Tuesday's meeting the public requests were very numerous and comprehensive. The final one was as follows: "Two ladies, one of them almost an infidel, were prayed for ten days ago. Praise is asked; they have found Christ through the London meetings."

Mr Moody's address was an exposition of the 23rd Psalm, and some of his thoughts were very fresh and fragrant. He showed how the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th Psalms were three links of one chain. The 22nd shows us a God of judgment, the 23rd a God of peace, and the 24th a God of glory. Speaking on the verse, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil," he said, all that death could do to Christians was to throw its shadow on its path. Where Christ was there could be no darkness. "Goodness and mercy" were like two footmen that waited upon every child of God. All his sons and daughters were rich.

Mr Sankey having sung, "Through the valley of the shadow I must go," the audience joining in the chorus, Mr R. Radcliffe said he had just received a telegram from Liverpool, stating that a previous report of twenty being added to the communion of one church through the house-to-house visitation, was far beneath the mark. He went on to speak of the London visitation and said the time had now come for visitors to commence in every part of London. The superintendents for the west had taken their districts, and they wanted now to commence in the south and east. There were multitudes of souls in the east who never entered a place of worship, and clergymen and others there had written for labourers. "We must bring labourers from the west and other parts of London," said Mr Radcliffe. "Some of you can afford to drive or go by the trains and omnibuses; you must come out of the west and go into the poor districts of the east. You did so fifteen years ago, and God gave an amazing blessing. God is with you still and in a mightier fashion than in days gone by, and He will be with you again." But the work was not to be confined to London; indeed, he was convinced it would not be confined to Britain. It would extend into
Germany and it might be to Paris. It would be taken up in America, and many thousands of souls would be gathered not only by the public preaching of the gospel but the Church returning to their first works learning the apostolic method. They would visit the house of the nobleman in the west and the dens of thieves and murderers in the east. Mr Radcliffe renewed his appeal for volunteers and counselled them to meet any opposition with the "soft answer that turneth away wrath. He looked for such a blessing to come down on the preaching and the visitation, and such signs following, in the closing up of trades in London
that were not proper to be carried on, as London had never seen.

Mr Sankey prayed that the spirit of kindness and love be exhibited by the Christians in dealing with opposition to the work.

After further prayer Mr Moody read an interesting letter he had received from Liverpool from a convert.

Among the requests for prayer at the meeting on Wednesday was one " for a clergyman who has been backsliding for some years." Dr Landels was the voice of the meeting in presenting the many special requests to "Him who sitteth upon the throne," and his prayer had in it a tone of reverent familiarity with God, which seemed to make prayer a very real thing - a necessity of our spiritual life.

The opening hymn was, "Oh sing of His mighty love," and this paved the way for Mr Moody to speak on human love, or "Charity," as strongly taught in 1 Cor. xiii. The chapter was one that it was good to read on our knees, and afterwards to see if our lives corresponded with what we had read. He exposed in very strong terms the too prevalent desire among Christians, ministers and others, to seek their own advancement, rather than the glory of Christ. He quoted passages to show that no less than three times when Christ had been talking to his disciples of his approaching death, did they immediately begin to discuss amongst themselves who should be the greatest! This spirit is one of the greatest hindrances in the Church of God
today. May God give us grace to rise above it! Many a man who is unsound in charity and in patience denounces a man they think unsound in the faith. We want our hearts to be full of love.

Rev. Mr Jones, of Liverpool, said the word of the Lord was making good progress there. The previous Friday night there were 200 inquirers at Victoria Hall. Twelve months ago such a thing would have been deemed impossible. He read a statement made at a meeting of Unitarians in Liverpool on Monday last. The speaker at the meeting said he had regarded with interest the work of Messrs. Moody and Sankey. While he had not the remotest sympathy with their theology, and was inexpressibly shocked with their bad taste, yet he was compelled to say that, somehow or other, they had imported into the hearts of many wanderers and profligates a higher and better interest, which had carried them away from their own pursuits and he believed they had done more good in a month than the Unitarian body had done in ten years.

Rev J Shillito of Birmingham reported the spread of the work among the places adjacent to that town. Last Saturday morning a minister came in from another town in the neighbourhood and asked him to take part in special services there. Mr Shillito expressed surprise, as, previous to Messrs. Moody and Sankey's visit, this minister had been averse to the movement. The
minister replied,  "God is doing a great work in our midst. At one of our prayer meetings we were all broken down. Two-thirds of the meeting were in tears. Fifty-two members of the congregation have decided for Christ and a number of others are inquiring the way to Jesus. I was opposed to the movement, but God has exerted his power, and has broken down my

"The Christian," April 1st, 1875.

Additional Information

Opened in 1831, the Hall was pulled down in 1907 and replaced by the Strand Palace Hotel.

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