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.