Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Man of Prayer

It is impossible for me to do a listing of "soul shapers" without including E.M. Bounds (1835-1913).  A compilation of his writing on prayer simply entitled "E.M. Bounds on Prayer" has for years remained as close as my Bible and "My Utmost for His Highest."  No writer has impacted my prayer life more than this this 19th century American preacher and writer.  His works have been a steady source of information, inspiration, and conviction.  Edward McKendree Bounds has ended more than just a few dry season in my prayer life.
A Methodist preacher before the American Civil War, he joined the Confederate Army as a chaplain.  But, actually, even before he enlisted he was arrested as a Southern sympathizer and put in a Union prison camp.  After the war he served several churches as pastor and began his writing career.  As a man who rose at 4 am each day to pray, he was not just a writer about prayer, but a practitioner as well.  He wrote and published writings on prayer as a way of encouraging the church and, particularly, its preachers to pray.  The last seventeen years of his life was lived in Washington, Georgia where much praying and writing was done.  Though not as well known as some who have dared to write about prayer, I am convinced that no one of the 19th or the 21st century has more to offer any believer who is hungry for a deeper life of prayer.

My favorite and most often read E.M. Bounds quote is:  "What the church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more and novel methods.  She needs men whom the Holy Spirit can use--men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.  The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men.  He does not come on machinery, but on men.  He does not anoint plans, but men--men of prayer."  How the church of today needs to embrace this word written over a hundred yeas ago.  The church of today does many things well, but not always does it appear to have learned that nothing can take the place of people praying. 

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