By Samuel L. Brengle (1860 – 1936)
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:16).
All great soul winners have been men of much and mighty prayer, and all great revivals have been
preceded and carried out by persevering, prevailing knee-work in the closet. Before Jesus began His
ministry, when great multitudes followed Him, He spent forty days and nights in secret prayer and fasting
Paul prayed without ceasing. Day and night his prayers and pleadings and intercessions went up to God
(Acts 16:25; Phil. 1:3-11; Col. 1:3, 9-11).
The Pentecostal baptism of the Spirit and the three thousand conversions in one day were preceded by
ten days of prayer. And they continued in prayer until, on another day, five thousand were converted, and “a
great company of the priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 2:4-6; 4:4; 6:4-7).
Luther used to pray three hours a day, and he broke the spell of ages and set captive nations free.
John Knox used to spend nights in prayer, and cry to God, saying, “Give me Scotland, or I die!” and God
gave him Scotland.
Over and over again, Mr. Wesley in his journals – which, for lively interest, are next to the Acts of the
Apostles – tells us of half and whole nights of prayer, in which God drew near and blessed people beyond
expectation, and then he and his helpers were empowered to rescue England from paganism and send a
revival of pure, aggressive religion throughout the whole earth.
The night before Jonathan Edwards preached the wonderful sermon that started the revival which
convulsed New England, he and some others spent the night in prayer.
A young man named John Livingston, in Scotland, was appointed to preach at one of the great
assemblies. Feeling his own utter weakness, he spent the night in prayer, and next day preached a sermon,
and five hundred people were converted. Glory to God! Oh, my Lord, raise up some praying people!
Mr. Finney used to pray till whole communities were put under the power of the Spirit of God and men
could not resist the mighty influence.
But let no one imagine that this is easy work. It is difficult and amounts sometimes to an agony, but it will
turn to an agony of joy in union and fellowship with Jesus. How Jesus prayed!
The Rev. William Bramwell, who used to see hundreds of people converted and sanctified everywhere he
went, prayed six hours a day, and yet he said he always went to secret prayer reluctantly. He had to pull
himself up to it. And after he began to pray, he would often have dry seasons, but he persevered in faith,
and the heavens would open, and he would wrestle with God until the victory came. Then, when he
preached, the clouds would break and rain down blessings on the people.
The Rev. John Smith, whose life, William Booth once told me, had been a marvelous inspiration to him,
like Bramwell, always spent much time in prayer. He always found it hard to begin, and then got so blessed
that it was hard to stop. Everywhere he went, mighty revival waves went also with him.
Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray, and not faint” (Luke 18:1); and Paul said, “Pray without ceasing” (1
One daredevil, praying, believing man can get the victory for a whole city or nation sometimes. Elijah did
on Mount Carmel; Moses did for backsliding Israel; Daniel did in Babylon. But if a number of people can be
led to pray in this way, the victory will be all the more sweeping. Let no one imagine, in a wicked heart of
unbelief, that God is grudging and unwilling to answer prayer. He is more willing to answer those whose
hearts are right with Him than parents are to give bread to their children.
Let us come boldly to the throne of grace and ask largely, that our joy may be full! (Heb. 4:16).
– From Helps To Holiness.
By Samuel L. Brengle (1860 – 1936)