Great Saints Who Have Gone Before Me…

While driving home from my recent ministry trip to New England, I was listening to a lecture given by Dr. Wilbur Smith (about 40 years ago) to the students at Moody Bible Institute. One of the challenges he gave to the students was to learn from some of the great saints that had gone before them (there at Moody), something they could do by reading their published sermons, their other writings and in some cases, their biographies. (As an aside, Wilbur Smith was renown for his enormous personal library and for being a voracious reader.) But getting back to his challenge to the students to learn from those that had gone before them, Dr. Smith suggested they would observe to very important things about all of them:

  • #1) Their absolute dependence upon the person & the power of the Holy Spirit;
  • # 2) Their practice of committing everything to God in prayer.

While doing my devotional reading this morning,  I was reminded of Wilbur Smith’s lecture and the points he made, particularly the point regarding prayer… and this carried over into the afternoon where I found myself searching my archives for a few of my favorite quotations on the subject — some of which I have taken the liberty to include below ~

The first is from D.L. Moody himself: “Prayer does not mean that I am to bring God down to my thoughts and my purposes, and bend his government according to my foolish, silly, and sometimes sinful notions. Prayer means that I am to be raised up…into union and design with Him; that I am to enter into His counsel and carry out His purpose fully.”

The next from Moody alumni R.A. Torrey: “Prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouses of God’s infinite grace and power. All that God is, and all that God has, is at the disposal of prayer. Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer, except that which lies outside the will of God.”

The next is from E.M. Bounds: “Prayer is the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest & highest when, upon his knees in prayer, he comes face to face with God; for when a man is speaking to God in Prayer, he is at his pinnacle!”

The next, from Andrew Murray: “Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things…above all that we ask or think.”

The “trilogy” that follows addresses the connection between prayer and spiritual warfare ~

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil; He mocks at our wisdom…but he trembles when we pray.” (Samuel Chadwick)

“Do we know the power of our supernatural weapon of prayer? Do we dare use it with an authority of a faith that commands as well as asks? God baptizes us with holy audacity and divine confidence! He is not wanting great men, but He is wanting men who will dare to prove the greatness of their God.” (A.B. Simpson)

“Prayer could set at your right hand an angel whose touch could shatter a millstone into smaller dust than the flour it grinds, and whose glance could lay an army low. ‘What will prayer do for you?’ I answer: ‘All that God can do for you’.” (F.W. Farrar)

“For the weapons of our warfare are not physical weapons of flesh and blood, but they are mighty before God for the overthrow  and destruction of strongholds, inasmuch as we refute arguments  and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God; and we lead every thought  and  purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ.” (2Cor. 10:4-5, Amplified)


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