Rev. E. M. Bounds’ most well-known writings are about prayer. In his classic “Power through Prayer” he tells a fascinating story about Mr. Moody. The Moody church had burned to the ground in Chicago and D.L. Moody didn’t know what to do. Ivor Powell, the great preacher/writer in his own right that many of our own people have heard in person, also tells the same story from Rev. Bounds’ book about prayer in a sermon he preached about the “Windows of Heaven and Daniel.” I thought I’d share this with you today. Ivor Powell writes:
“On page 148 Bounds writes, “When D. L. Moody’s church in Chicago lay in ashes, he went over to England, not to preach, but to listen to others preach, while his new church was being built. One Sunday morning he was prevailed upon to preach in a London pulpit. But somehow the spiritual atmosphere was lacking. He confessed afterward that he never had such a hard time preaching in his life. Everything was perfectly dead, and, as he vainly tried to preach, he said to himself, ‘What a fool I was to consent to preach. I came here to listen, and here I am preaching.’ Then the awful thought came to him that he had to preach again that night, and only the fact that he had given the promise to do so, kept him faithful to the engagement. But when Mr. Moody entered the pulpit at night, and faced the crowded congregation, he was conscious of a new atmosphere. ‘The powers of an unseen world seemed to have fallen on the audience.’ As he drew toward the close of his sermon he became emboldened to give out an invitation, and as he concluded, said, ‘If there is a man or woman here who will tonight accept Jesus Christ, please stand up.’ At once about 500 people rose to their feet. Thinking that there must be some mistake, he asked the people to be seated, and then, in order that there could be no possible misunderstanding, repeated the invitation, couching it in even more definite and difficult terms. Again, the same number arose. Still thinking that something must be wrong, Mr. Moody for the second time asked the standing men and women to be seated, and then invited all who really meant to accept Christ to pass into the vestry. Fully five hundred people did as requested, and that was the beginning of a revival in that church and neighborhood. This brought Mr. Moody back from Dublin, a few days later, that he might assist the wonderful work of God.
“The sequel, however, must be given, or our purpose in relating the incident will be defeated. When Mr. Moody preached at the morning service, there was a woman in the congregation who had an invalid sister. When she returned home she told the invalid that the preacher of the morning had been a Mr. Moody from Chicago, and on hearing this, the sister turned pale. ‘What,’ she said, ‘Mr. Moody from Chicago! I read about him some time ago in an American paper, and I have been praying God to send him to our country and our church. If I had known he was going to preach this morning I would have eaten no breakfast. Now, sister, go out of the room, lock the door, send me no dinner; no matter who comes, don’t let them see me. I am going to spend the whole afternoon and evening in prayer.’ And so, while Mr. Moody stood in the pulpit that had been like an ice-chamber in the morning, the bed-ridden saint was holding him up before God. The Lord, who delights to answer prayer, poured out His Spirit in mighty power.”
I began hearing stories about the old preachers and the blessings of God on their lives and ministries when I was a young man. The main constant in all these accounts was the praying of godly people. These great works and ministries would have never happened had they not been covered and saturated with prevailing prayer. I love that our church has some people like this invalid sister in our church family. We need more. I am asking the Lord to raise up more prayer warriors. If we as a church are to have an impact on our community and grow in our mission footprint around the world, it will only come as our men and women engage in the hard work of prayer.