Jun
07
2010

Are Our Pants Too Tight?

(Maybe we are just too big for our britches)

The year was 1865. The Civil War had just ended. It was the end of four long years of death and devastation. In the same year a 36 year old Englishman set out to blaze a trail for the cause of Jesus Christ that few men before him and even fewer after have been able to equal. The most powerful weapon in his arsenal was fervent prayer. It was not unusual for him to hold all night prayer meetings when he came to preach the Word of God. People would flood the altars every where he went. “The power of God was wonderfully manifest in the meetings…people were frequently, struck down, overwhelmed by the presence and power of God.”

His success at setting the captives free was uncanny, especially when one considers those who he strived to reach. His battle cry was “Go for souls and go for the worst.” The worst of sinners were saved, saloons were closed and entire cities were shaken. However, his success attracted not only supporters but also enemies. Those who served with him were pelted with hot coals, sprayed with tar and burning sulphur, beaten, stoned and even kicked to death in the streets. But he continually resisted his enemies with a cheerful “God bless you”, and a prayer. Often, he himself was in the thick of it. When spit on during one meeting, he encouraged those with him saying, “Don’t rub it off – it’s a medal!”

Many nights he would come home bleeding and bruised after being attacked for preaching in the slums. Some nights after being beaten and ridiculed he would come home and take his wife’s hand and say, “Kate, let me pray with you.” After praying with her he would rise from his knees armed with fresh courage and hope. He needed all the hope his wife Catherine could inspire
in him. She encouraged him, “if we get tired we had better go and be done with, anything is better than a dead church.” Despite the intense pressures of the ministry they had a happy united family. They were blessed with nine wonderful children.

Once while traveling, the car was detained. William took advantage of the opportunity and exhorted some idle factory workers. He said, “Some of you men never pray, you gave up praying long ago. But I’m going to say to you; won’t you pray for your children that they may be different?” Within minutes 700 men knelt in silent prayer. At another time, two fellow Christians set out to found a new work, only to meet with failure and opposition. Frustrated and tired they appealed to William to close the work. He sent back a telegram with two words on it, “TRY TEARS.” They followed his advice and witnessed a mighty revival.

During the course of his ministry it is said William traveled over 500,000 miles and preached 60,000 sermons. On many occasions his mid-week service would attract as many as 17,000. This was done without technology, modern facilities, elaborate programs, and a host of other substitutions that has robbed us of the power of God and left us with nothing more than a form of godliness. How many of us have traveled this many miles without an airplane or air conditioning?

And yet, General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army accomplished this feat during some 65 years of ministry. Nearly all of William and Catherine Booth’s original passion and love for the lost and dying have been lost in the grind of corporate churches and “the better way” we seem to have replaced the old ways and ideas with.

Perhaps in this day of plenty when education and technology has removed us from the prayer closets and the all night prayer meetings we should reflect upon the words of this great pioneer.

“Work as if everything depended upon your work, and pray as if everything depended upon your prayer.”

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Written by Andrew Frascone in: Uncategorized |

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