Christianity 201

July 21, 2022

E. M. Bounds Quotations

“I think Christians fail so often to get answers to their prayers because they do not wait long enough on God. They just drop down and say a few words, and then jump up and forget it and expect God to answer them. Such praying always reminds me of the small boy ringing his neighbor’s door-bell, and then running away as fast as he can go.” – E.M. Bounds

Unlike other entries in our quotations series, this one had a different beginning. Stu Mack blogs at Stuart Writing and wrote a reflection titled What an Old Bloke Taught Me about Prayer. He describes going into a Christian bookstore and asking for recommendations. The clerk mentioned four different authors.

…I was drawn to Bounds because her face lit up when she talked about him. She claimed that Bounds knew more about prayer than any other person living or dead, besides Jesus himself. I left the store with “The Necessity of Prayer” by E M Bounds.

The next day I sat on my shoreline rock, the waves frothing and the sun shining on my back, and I opened the book. Reading that day, I thought I’d slipped from time into eternity: time flew past with the turn of every page, but I did not notice. As I read Bounds’ words I became convinced that he was a man who not only wrote a lot about prayer, but who also was a devoted man of prayer.

Bounds entered ministry when he was in his twenties. He was a lawyer before that and he had a keen mind for information. His passion for truth led him into a deep relationship with the Bible. He was convinced that scripture held all the answers we need, a conviction which shows in his writings about prayer.

Bounds based his writings upon years of Bible meditation and reflection and prayer. One of the reasons I liked Bounds from the first meeting (reading his book) was that he loved the Bible and wrote about the Bible. Jesus is at the heart of his writings! I learned from Bounds that if I wanted to know Jesus more, I had to come by the path of prayer, and that if I wanted to learn to pray more fruitfully, I needed to be walking closer to Jesus.

There was one point that Bounds made that transformed my own prayer life. Before Bounds I struggled with prayer (actually, at times I still do). I came to a chapter called “Prayer and Desire”, and in it he wrote, “If you have no, or little, desire to pray, then pray for the desire to pray.”

I really liked that and I began to do it. I saw my desire for praying grow fast. I previously felt I had to pray, but now I was finding that I WANTED to pray; I WANTED to get to know God in the way that Bounds seemed to know God…

Stu recommends reading the biography of Bounds on Wikipedia which he describes as “pretty accurate.” Bounds lived from 1835 to 1913.

Now on to our quotations…

On Prayer

“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.”

“That man cannot possibly be called a Christian, who does not pray.”

“God’s revelation does not need the light of human genius, the polish and strength of human culture, the brilliancy of human thought, the force of human brains to adorn or enforce it; but it does demand the simplicity, the docility, humility, and faith of a child’s heart.”

“Prayer is the helpless and needy child crying to the compassion of the Father’s heart and the bounty and power of a Father’s hand.”

“He who is too busy to pray will be too busy to live a holy life. Satan had rather we let the grass grow on the path to our prayer chamber than anything else.”

“Paul, Luther, Wesley —what would these chosen ones of God be without the distinguishing and controlling element of prayer? They were leaders for God because mighty in prayer. They were not leaders because of brilliancy in thought, because exhaustless in resources, because of their magnificent culture or native endowment, but leaders because by the power of prayer they could command the power of God.”

“Prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.”

“Prayer honors God, acknowledges His being, exalts His power, adores His providence, secures His aid.”

“I would rather have prayer without words then words without prayer.”

“The prayers of God’s saints are the capital stock in heaven by which Christ carries on His great work upon earth.”

“There is neither encouragement nor room in Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes; all must be strenuous, urgent, ardent. Inflamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delight heaven. God would have His children incorrigibly in earnest and persistently bold in their efforts. Heaven is too busy to listen to half-hearted prayers or to respond to pop-calls. Our whole being must be in our praying.”

“A consecrated life is both a prayer life and a thanksgiving life.”

On leadership:

“We are constantly on a stretch, if not on a strain, to devise new methods, new plans, new organizations to advance the Church and secure enlargement and efficiency for the gospel. This trend of the day has a tendency to lose sight of the man or sink the man in the plan or organization. God’s plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.”

“We are in danger of substituting churchly work and a ceaseless round of showy activities for prayer and holy living. A holy life does not live in the [prayer] closet, but it cannot live without the closet.”

“What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, 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.”


Sources: AZ Quotes, Good Reads, Anchored in Christ, Prayer Coach, Grace Quotes, Viral Believer, E.M.Bounds Online

Image: E.M.Bounds Online

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for the mention – hope it touches readers of your blog to dig deeper into prayer, and closer to reading more of Bound work. Every blessing.
    Stu Mack

    Comment by Stu Mack — July 22, 2022 @ 10:23 am | Reply


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