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Posts Tagged ‘E.M. Bounds

Hard To Find A Prayer Meeting

Leonard Ravenhill said that the prayer meeting was the Cinderella of the Church.  He said that she (the prayer meeting) was unloved and she was tucked away in the castle.  Yet beauty is truly found in the prayer meeting.  It was prayer, after all, that Jesus sent His disciples to after His ascension to the Father (Acts 1:14).  It was on the day of Pentecost, while the disciples were at prayer, that the gift of the Holy Spirit came.  After Pentecost, the disciples continue to pray (Acts 2:42).

In fact, prayer marked the early disciples.  All through the book of Acts we find the church at prayer.  In Acts 3:1 that Peter and John were heading to the temple during the hour of prayer.  It seems from this text that the Apostles kept the hour of prayer.  They continued to seek God.  These Apostles did not trust in their Pentecostal experience in Acts 2 to keep them.  They kept on praying, kept on seeking.  Paul the Apostle would later write that disciples are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to be devoted to prayer (Colossians 4:2), to be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).  Prayer was not then some vain ritual.  Prayer was their direct communication with the Father through the Lord Jesus (John 14:13-14; Hebrews 4:14-16).  The Apostles had seen the power of prayer in the life of the Lord Jesus (Luke 5:16).  In fact, it was the prayer life of Jesus that caused the Apostles to come to the Lord and ask Him to teach them to pray as well (Luke 11:1).  They heard the words of Jesus to always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).

And yet what about us?  Is my life marked by prayer?  Is my life marked by my seeking His face?  If prayer was a focus for the early disciples, why not also today?  If the early disciples needed to pray, we also ought to seek God’s face as well!  We have exchanged prayer for technology.  We have substituted the presence of God with emotions.  We have convinced ourselves that we can make it though with human power but not with the power of God.  As E.M. Bounds wrote, “Men are looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.”  God does not anoint methods.  God anoints people.  God may very well work through some of our methods but He is looking for people who will cry to Him and those He will use for His glory.

Prayer meetings are hard to find these days.  There was a time when the church would often meet to pray.  I remember as a boy going to New Year’s Eve prayer meetings and I remember going with my parents to the prayer meetings at our church.  Some of those prayer meetings were more teaching and more talking than actual prayer meetings (what one man called “worthless prayer meetings”).  When I was a young disciple, Wednesday night was often called “prayer meetings” instead of “family night.”  These days, prayer meetings are hard to find.  Churches have many programs but the prayer meeting is all but abandoned these days.

We need a revival of the prayer meeting.  We need churches that preach the truth to not only preach the truth but pray.  If Jesus is truly on His throne, this should stir us to prayer.  If Jesus is truly risen from the dead, this should stir us to prayer.  If Jesus is our faithful high priest, this should stir us to prayer.  If we look at our fallen sinful world and yet see the promise of God in Psalm 110:1, this should stir us to prayer.  If we have truly experienced the gospel, this should stir us to prayer.

I pray that the prayer meeting makes a comeback.  I pray that God will stir His children to pray.  I pray that the Holy Spirit, who teaches us to pray (Romans 8:26-27), will stir up His people to prayer.  The cults are seeking their false gods.  The false religions of this world are seeking their false gods.  How much more should we who know the true and living God not seek His face?  We often seek God for His hand but oh for us to seek His face!  Our God alone hears our prayers (Psalm 65:2).  Our God alone is able to move mountains (Mark 11:22-24).  Our God alone is able to save.  Let us seek His face!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/25/2014 at 4:26 PM

John MacArthur on E.M. Bounds

John MacArthur recently made comments about E.M. Bounds at his Strange Fire Conference.  His attack on Bounds is not defined as MacArthur merely states that he read a book by Bounds while in college that he says “was worse” than the mystics he had been reading on prayer.  MacArthur never states the problems he has with Bounds.

I have wrestled with this and I cannot read into MacArthur’s mind as to why he opposes Bounds but I suppose it would be two fold.  First, I suppose MacArthur would oppose Bounds because Bounds places much emphasis on prayer.  Obviously, MacArthur would reply that we need to be balanced between prayer, evangelism, studying and teaching the Word, etc.  Prayer, while important, would not be the most emphasized ministry I suppose that MacArthur would want to push.  Again, I am just giving my thoughts here as I don’t know the man.

Secondly, I suppose Bounds’ Arminianism would be a problem for MacArthur.  Though Bounds does not talk about Arminianism, we know that he was a Methodist chaplain for the Confederacy during the American Civil War.  Bounds was captured by the Union and was held in prison in Tennessee until the end of the Civil War.  He then returned to Georgia where he preached and prayed until his death.  Many of his books today on prayer were not penned by him but came following his death.  MacArthur, no doubt, would not appreciate Bounds’ Arminianism.

I for one have loved Bounds for many years.  His books on prayer have taught me much about prayer.  I have read nearly all of his works.  I have also encouraged many other disciples to read and study the prayer books of E.M. Bounds.  Bounds, contrary to what MacArthur seems to suggest, is not mystical.  Bounds does not present an unbiblical notion about prayer.  If Bounds fails, it is that he guilty of praying too much?  Bounds was known to have prayed up to nine hours a day before his death.  Yes Bounds preached and yes he taught the Word but in has later years, he spent his time in prayer.  It was from his times of prayer that his books would be born.

I don’t see how one can downplay prayer.  The disciples came to Jesus in Luke 11:1 and didn’t ask how to preach.  They didn’t ask Him how to teach theology or how to do miracles.  The disciples asked one question and one question only, “Teach us how to pray.”  Jesus lived a life of prayer (Luke 5:16).  Jesus said that His own disciples would be marked by praying (Matthew 6:5).  He told His disciples to ask anything in His name (John 14:12-14).  Jesus also taught His disciples to pray always and not lose heart (Luke 18:1).  Jesus said that if we pray in true faith, we could move mountains (Mark 11:22-24).  The Apostles continued this in the book of Acts (Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4) and in the Letters (Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 4:2-3; 5:16; etc.).  How then can we just place prayer among other duties?  Prayer is what should be our focus and it should lead us toward doing greater works for the kingdom.

Ironically MacArthur penned a devotional book on prayer, Alone with God in which he quotes from Bounds.  Why quote from Bounds if he is so bad?  To read the works of Bounds on prayer, I suggest this book.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/04/2013 at 4:11 PM

Four Kindle Works You Need on Prayer

Prayer is so vital to the life of the disciple of Jesus that Jesus said that His disciples would pray (Matthew 6:5).  Our Lord’s own prayer life was so powerful that His disciples came to Him and asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1).  Oh how often have I prayed those words to Jesus!  Oh how often have we neglected to seek God in prayer!

I urge you to read these books and allow the Holy Spirit to purge you of laziness in prayer.

1.  The Path of Prayer by Samuel Chadwick.  Only $0.99 and this book is full of wisdom form a man of prayer.  He was the master of Cliff College when Leonard Ravenhill was a student there.

2.  Why Revival Tarries? by Leonard Ravenhill.  Great book that first challenged this vessel to prayer.  Brother Leonard had a way with words and his prophetic voice is missed in the church.

3.  Praying Hyde by E.G. Carre.  John Hyde was a great man of prayer and you’ll be challenged as you read his stories.  Brother John was such a man of prayer that he earned the nickname “Praying Hyde” and “Apostle of Prayer.”  Like Rees Howell, Praying Hyde knew how to touch the throne of God and God heard his cries often.

4.  The Complete Collection of E.M. Bounds on Prayer.  E.M. Bounds was a man of prayer.  Most of his works came after his death in which he left behind his notes on prayer.  Bounds was a Confederate chaplain during the American Civil War but he learned how to pray and God heard his cries and saved many souls during the Civil War through this man’s preaching.  He was imprisoned by the Union and there he taught others how to seek God.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/08/2013 at 10:00 AM

How To Develop a Stronger Prayer Life

Let me briefly give you some pointers to developing a stronger prayer life.  These points have been points that I myself have put into practice in my own prayer life.  No doubt we all know that God wants us to pray (Jeremiah 33:3).  Jesus said that His disciples would be a people of prayer (Matthew 6:5).  It was the prayer life of Jesus (and not His teaching or His miracles) that the disciples wanted to learn about the most (Luke 11:1).  Paul admonished the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV) and he told the disciples in Colosse to “continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2 NKJV).  Revelation 5:8 records that the prayers of the saints rise up before the throne of God.  How vital then prayer is to the disciple!

How can we then strengthen our prayer lives?  Here are some quick points.

1.  Meditate on “Prayer” Scriptures.

Meditating upon the Word of God is so important (Psalm 1:1-3).  The Word of God is our delight (Psalm 119:162).  Jesus said that we were to abide in His teachings (which is His Word) to be His faithful disciples (John 8:31-32; cf. Matthew 7:24-27).  The Word of God is the only weapon the disciple is given to combat Satan and the lies of the world (Ephesians 6:17).  We are to renew our minds which can only occur in the Word of God (Romans 12:1-2).

I advise taking the “prayer” Scriptures and writing them down where you can read and re-read them to meditate upon them.  Passages such as 1 Samuel 12:23; Matthew 6:5-13; 7:7-11; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24; Luke 18:1-8; John 14:13-14; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 4:2; etc.  I would urge you to study all the major passages on prayer.  A good book on this is the book, The Spirit Helps Us Pray: A Biblical Theology of Prayer.  

2.  Study the Lives of Great Intercessors.

Study the lives of great prayer warriors such as John Hyde, David Brainerd, Leonard Ravenhill, E.M. Bounds, Andrew Murray, Charles Spurgeon, Rees Howells, David Livingstone, John Wesley, Martin Luther, and many more.  John Bunyan was a great man of prayer.  William and Catherine Booth, founds of the Salvation Army, were great intercessors.  Read and study their lives and imitate their faith in God (Hebrews 13:7).

3.  Read Books on Prayer.

A few books that I would highly recommend would be Why Revival Tarries? by Leonard Ravenhill, The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on PrayerPrayer by John Bunyan, A Method of Prayer by Matthew Henry, and The Path of Prayer by Samuel Chadwick.  

4.  Pray With Other Intercessors.

Find some men of God (if you’re a man or find women if you’re a woman) who seek God earnestly and pray with them.  Lay aside your Arminianism or your Calvinism to seek God with your brethren.  As long as we are orthodox in our theology over the major issues, seek God with such folks.  There is so much to learn from praying with others.  I first learned how to pray by praying with some older saints who are now with Jesus.  They taught me how to tarry in God’s presence, how to seek God earnestly for who He is not what we can get from Him, to learn to view prayer not as merely asking for things but to know God and love on Him in worship.  1 Timothy 2:8 should guide us here.

5.  Pray! 

To read on prayer or study Scripture on prayer or to meditate on prayer is not the same as praying.  Prayer must be practiced.  To merely talk about prayer is not the same as praying.  I know of churches that faithfully preach the Word of God and can expound on prayer but if they just talk about prayer, what is the point?  Prayer must be “worked” out.  Prayer must be something that we don’t just study but earnestly do (James 5:16-18).  The key difference between us and the early Church is not so much theology but its practice (Acts 2:42-47).  Prayer is important and powerfully because of who we are seeking, the sovereign God of the universe.  Let us pray!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/02/2012 at 8:48 PM

The American Civil War as a Theological Crisis

Mark Noll has written a book by the title of my post.  I have not read his work but assume he is speaking of the same subject as my own concerning the theological nature of the American Civil War.  The roots of the Civil War lie as far back as the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776.  Even then the seeds were planted for division between the States as some of the founding fathers wanted a strong Federal Government while others wanted a Union among individual and yet equally powerful States.  The issue of slavery was not settled with the signing of the Bill of Rights and this moral issue would tear at the nation for nearly 100 years before the Civil War would erupt in 1861 after the election of abolitionist President Lincoln (who actually only favored forbidding slavery in the West and did not wish to end the practice in the South) and the session of South Carolina from the Union in December of 1860.

What goes unnoticed is the theological crisis that culminated with the Civil War.  This issue was slavery.  For the Church, States’ rights was not the issue.  It was the evil practice (according to the abolitionist) of slavery or the fact that the Bible did not forbid slavery from the pro-slavery point of view.  There were passionate evangelicals on both sides.  For instance, George Whitefield stood before the Georgia State Assembly during his trip to America in the 18th century and asked the Georgia Assembly to continue the practice of slavery.  Whitefield justified slavery for two main reasons.  First he said that this gave the slaves from Africa the opportunity to hear the gospel and be saved and then secondly, the fact that the Africans could work the harsh lands of Georgia and were use to the heat.  John Wesley opposed Whitefield over this issue and Wesley encouraged William Wilberforce in his fight to end slavery in England.  It would be the last letter Wesley would ever write.

Jonathan Edwards owned slaves.  Edwards felt that slavery was not forbidden in Scripture, like Whitefield, and he argued that God could use slavery to save souls (such as the case with Paul in the epistle to Philemon).  Edwards also felt that it was the duty of the Christian to not be harsh to slaves, to preach the gospel to them, and to be good to them.

Charles Finney opposed slavery in all forms.  He believed it went against the Word of God that says that we are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).  How could another human enslave another human made in God’s image?

E.M. Bounds, the great prayer warrior from the state of Georgia, fought along side the Confederates and was their chaplain.  He was captured and put in prison in Tennessee.  Bounds would there learn to pray for as much as 9 hours a day.  Bounds opposed slavery but because he was a Southerner, he supported States’ Rights and believed his duty to serve his country during the War.  He returned to his home in Washington, Georgia where he lived out his days in peace, praying and preaching the gospel in Methodist churches.

Henry Ward Beecher was the most famous preacher during this era.  Beecher was known for his powerful speaking ability and pastored a church in New York City (one of the largest in America at that time if not the largest).  He even was invited to London, England to preach alongside of Charles Spurgeon but Surgeon declined because Beecher was known for his adultery (which he committed several times during his ministry).  Beecher was the first “seeker sensitive” preacher as he learned early on not to preach on any subjects his crowds did not enjoy.  Beecher was also very outspoken against slavery.  His sister wrote the famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and it was Henry Ward Beecher who would preach at the dedication of Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC back to the Federal Government following the end of the Civil War.  Beecher was loved and adored by slaves for his passionate preaching against slavery.

Even among the military, there were men on both sides who argued from the Bible.  Robert E. Lee, the general of the Confederate military, was deeply religious.  He would spend hours reading his Bible and praying.  Lee did not favor slavery but he did own slaves whom he released after the start of the Civil War.  Lee felt the South would never win the war so long as slavery was not banned in the South.  To Lee, it was a moral issue and one that the North would win unless the South followed suit.

General Stonewall Jackson was likewise deeply religious.  Jackson was known for his encouragement to his men to pray and read their Bibles.  Jackson opposed allowing his soldiers to invite prostitutes into the camp, opposed gambling, opposed drinking.  Jackson would spend hours on his knees in his tent before going to battle praying.  Jackson, however, loved war.  He loved to fight.  He found glory in commanding an army and he was a very good commander.  Jackson also believed, like Edwards and Whitefield before him, that slavery could be used to further the kingdom of God.  How else could the Africans hear the gospel?  Who would dare venture into the dark continent of Africa to preach the gospel (that would be the great David Livingston)?

In the North, President Lincoln wrestled with the “African problem” of slavery.  Lincoln is hard to pinpoint theologically.  He never attended church very much.  Never joined a church.  He did pray and he did read the Bible.  From the time he was a boy he would memorize from the book of Psalms.  His second inaugural address is filled with Bible references.  Lincoln, at the beginning of the Civil War, did not want to end slavery in the South.  He merely wanted to contain it and not allow it in the Western states.  The South knew that if this happened, the “free” States would force their rule upon the South and end slavery.  They would rather secede then try to fight that battle in Washington.  Lincoln realized that the North needed a moral reason to fight.  During his re-election campaign in 1864 we begin to see Lincoln’s anti-slavery position begin to take root.  Lincoln knew that the North would not want to continue to fight the South unless they could see that their battle was a moral battle and not just a battle for land.  This issue, wrote Lincoln of the South’s secession, was not about the Federal Government but whether men would be allowed to be free.  Was our Bill of Rights wrong to say that all men are created equal and deserve liberty?  How can this be when 4 million African slaves were in bondage?  Lincoln believed their fight was a fight to free people from bondage.  Their mission was much like Christ’s, to free people from bondage.  I am not sure where Lincoln stood regarding salvation but he used the Bible often to back his belief that slavery was wrong.

More thoughts about this issue are coming….

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/29/2012 at 9:49 PM

One Note on Modern Books on Prayer

I mentioned in a previous post my disdain for many books that I have read on prayer as of late by modern writers.  I want to add that I find it interesting that when you read older books on prayer such as E.M. Bounds, Samuel Chadwick, John Bunyan, or Charles Spurgeon, they rarely use any personal illustrations and in fact don’t rely on many illustrations at all.  R.A. Torrey might be the exception to this in his book, How To Pray.  Leonard Ravenhill, as far as I have read, never used personal illustrations much in his books other than telling a brief story about purchasing a book by E.M. Bounds on prayer while in college.  It seemed the older books on prayer focused entirely on prayer and the Scriptures.  I find comfort in that much more than in story after story about the author and their “great faith.”  What we really need to hear is not how God provided you with your 100,000 square foot building but what the does the Scriptures teach on prayer.

Just another reason I enjoy older books on prayer.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/21/2012 at 5:53 PM

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