Edward McKendree Bounds Promotes Prayer

This is the day that … Edward McKendree Bounds was born in 1835, in a small log cabin in Missouri, USA.

His father was a leading figure in “the social, economic and religious fibre of the town” … but he died when Edward was in his mid-teens.

After studying law, 21 year-old Edward practised for three years and then entered the Methodist ministry. Then came the Civil War … and Bounds was accused by the Union army of being a Confederate sympathiser. He was arrested and harshly treated … then ‘exiled’ from Missouri as long as the war continued.

On 13 May, 1863, he became a chaplain to the Confederate forces … he was wounded at the battle of Franklin, Tennessee … and again was captured by the Northern forces.

After the war he returned to ministry, married Emmie Barnett, and built a great church in St Louis. After the death of Emmie, 10 years later, he married her cousin.

And he took on the editorship of the Christian Advocate, an influential Christian newspaper. During the nine years that followed many powerful articles came from his pen, especially in connection with prayer. His volume, Power Through Prayer, is still in print, and has long been regarded as a classic on that subject.

In 1894 he parted company with the Methodists – their “political, worldly and merchandising attitudes he would not condone”. He continued an itinerant “revival” ministry, and his pen was ever busy.

At the age of 58, and for the next nineteen years (till he went home to be with the Lord at age 77) he started and continued to write books. The rest of his time was spent in intercessory prayer and in an itinerant revival ministry. It is said that he prayed daily from 4am to 7am before he would begin work on his writings.

His principal legacy is his example and writings on the subject of earnest prayer. “What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better (machinery), not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost 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.”

On 24 August, 1913, E.M. Bounds entered his rest.

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.

Oswald Chambers who Never Wrote a Book

This is the day that … Oswald Chambers was born in 1874, in Scotland … the author of 30 best-sellers, who never wrote a book!

“Thirty-two volumes bear his name on the cover, including My Utmost for His Highest, (which has been a blessing to thousands in their daily quiet time), but he never knew about any of them!” (Christianity Today, Sherwood Wirt, June, 1974).

His parents had been baptised by Charles H. Spurgeon and his father was later ordained to a Baptist pastorate by that same ‘prince of preachers’.

Oswald’s conversion took place on the way home from hearing Spurgeon preach. Oswald remarked to his father, “had the opportunity been given, he would have given his life to Christ.” The wise parent told him that he could do that very thing then and there … so it was “standing under a gas lamp in a London street” Oswald Chambers began his Christian pilgrimage (Os. Chambers, by D. Lambert, page 12).

He studied art, entered Bible College, married Gertrude Hobbs, and founded a Bible College in Clapham, England.

After four years as principal of a Bible Training College in Dunoon (Scotland), from 1911-1915, Chambers sailed for Egypt to join the staff of the YMCA, as a chaplain among the troops during World War I. He arrived in Egypt on 9 October, 1915, and many of his Bible lectures, given to thousands of soldiers solidly over the next two years, were taken down in shorthand. He was rushed to hospital in Cairo, and on 15 November, 1917, God took his servant home … at the age of 43 years.

It was then his wife gathered his writings: scraps of paper with scrawled notes, never intended for publication. Friends who had sat at his feet and taken notes of his messages sent them to her.

So it was, Baffled to Fight Better, rolled from the press shortly after his death …

In Chambers’ biography by his wife, Dinsdale T. Young pens this tribute in the Foreword: “Whenever I met him he did me good. He had a richly endowed mind which he reinforced by ceaseless study and prayer. His utterances in public were charming in form, rich in suggestion and full of ‘power from on high’. In his delightful and spiritual writings his works do follow him” (page 9).

And so the name of Oswald Chambers lives on in the 32 books he never knew he wrote!

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.

Andrew Murray

This is the day that … Andrew Murray was born in South Africa, in 1828.

His father was a Scot who pastored a Dutch Reformed Church – some 500 miles north east of Cape Town – for 44 years.

The two sons were sent to Scotland for their education, and after graduation they both set their sights on the ministry.  This meant theological training in Holland … and a culture shock!  For now they found themselves surrounded by clergy who “drank alcohol and used tobacco.”  Their father wrote to his sons and warned them to abstain from such practices.

During his theological studies (at the age of 17, in 1845) he received news that another son had been born to his parents.  His reply:  “And equal I am sure will be your delight when I tell you that I can communicate to you far gladder tidings over which angels have rejoiced, that your son has been born again!”

Ordained with his brother, John, on 9 May, 1848 (Andrew’s 20th birthday), they returned to minister in South Africa.

Nearly 50 years of serving the Lord lay ahead, during which time Andrew Murray pastored four churches, wrote 250 books and booklets (many of which became best sellers and are still in print), and preached at great conferences in Europe and America.  He spoke at the English Keswick Convention and Moody’s Northfield Conference.

Whilst it is true that his books seem to breathe “a holy serenity,” he was not a quiet speaker.  Even in his old age we are told that he was dynamic and demonstrative in the pulpit.  “When church custodians heard that Mr Murray would be preaching (in their church) they would remove everything extraneous lest he knock them down and break them!”

Death came on 18 January, 1917 – his dying words being to the nurse who attended him:  “Have faith in God, my child.  Do not doubt Him” (Biography, page 243).