>The seventh lesson from his life is the power of prayer. Mr. Moody believed in a God who answers prayer; and his life was a constant demonstration that his faith was true. It was prayer that made the obscure man noted.
After the Chicago fire he went to London to rest, and to learn from the Bible scholars there. He had no intention of preaching. One Sunday morning he was persuaded to preach in a church in London. Everything about the service dragged. He wished that he had never consented to preach. There was a woman in the city who had heard of Mr. Moody’s work in America, and had been asking God to send him to London. This woman was an invalid. Her sister was present at the church that Sunday morning. When this hearer reached home she asked her sister to guess who had spoken for them that morning. She made one guess after another of those with whom her pastor was in the habit of exchanging, and then gave it up. Her sister said “No, Mr. Moody from Chicago.” The sick woman turned pale and said “This is an answer to my prayer, if I had known that he was to be at our church, I should have eaten nothing this morning, but waited on God in prayer. Leave me alone this afternoon; do not let any one come to see me; do not send me anything to eat.” All that afternoon this woman gave herself to prayer.
As Mr. Moody preached that night, he soon became conscious that there was a different atmosphere in the church. “The powers of an unseen world seemed to fall” upon him and his hearers. As he drew to a close he felt impressed to give out an invitation, He asked for all who would accept Christ to rise. Four or five hundred people rose. He thought it must be that they misunderstood him, and put the question several ways that there might be no mistake. But no, they had understood. He then asked them to go to an adjoining room. As they passed out, he asked the pastor of the church who these people were. He replied: “I do not know.”
“Are they your people.”
“Some of them.”
“Are they Christians.”
“I do not think so.”
In that adjoining room he put the question very strongly, but still there were just as many who rose. He told them to meet their pastor the next night. Next day he left for Dublin, but no sooner had he reached there than he received a telegram from the pastor saying that he must return and help him, as a great revival had broken out and there were more out the second night than the first. Hundreds were added to the church at the time.
That was the beginning of his work as an international evangelist.
Few men have had so many people praying for them, and to that fact much of his success was due. Many are saying, “We shall never have another Moody”; but we shall, in everything that is essential, if as many people take to praying as earnestly for some other man. The great Scotch, Irish and English revivals under Mr. Moody in 1873, 1874, and 1875, were due more to the remarkable praying to which he moved men than to the remarkable preaching which he did himself.
It was by prayer he overcame difficulties. When great and apparently insurmountable difficulties rose in any path he was pursuing, how often he would say, “Let us take this to God in prayer.” Then how easily he led us all into God’s very presence and with what mighty power of simplicity and faith he took hold upon God. Then the difficulty was overcome. Only last summer great obstacles rose to projects that were dear to him and me. One day he drove up to my house and said, “I want you to ride with me.” As we rode up “Lover’s Retreat,” we talked all these things over, and when we reached a quiet spot he laid down the lines and said, “now pray.” After that he led in prayer — just took hold of God in prayer in that way he had, and that settled the difficulty. The work has gone on all right. Thus he overcame obstacles by an appeal to Him to whom “nothing is too hard.”
By prayer he got money for the Lord’s work. Some people have an idea that Mr. Moody “hustled” for money, and so he did; but his dependence was upon God, and prayer. God heard him. During the World’s Fair he said one day as the inner council of workers sat down to dinner, “We need $7,000.00 for the work to-day, $1,000.00 has come in; I do not know where the other $6,000.00 is to come from, but we must have it, let us pray for it before we eat.” In simple trust in God he took the matter to Him in prayer. We were long at the table discussing the work. Before the dinner was over, there came a knock at the door, a telegram was handed to Mr. Moody which he opened and read, and then passed on to me to read to the group. It read something like this : “D. L. Moody : your friends have taken up at the close of this morning’s session an offering for your work in Chicago. $6,000 has been subscribed, more to follow. “H. M. Moore.”
Mr. Moore has since told me that as that morning session drew to a close. Dr. Gordon, who was presiding, said to him, “I have a feeling that Mr. Moody needs money for his work in Chicago, what do you think of taking up a collection?” He agreed, with the result mentioned. That opportune feeling must have come to Dr. Gordon about the time that we knelt in prayer in Chicago.
One day last summer Mr. Moody found to his surprise that $20,000 was needed at once for the schools in Northfield and Chicago. He told no one about it, but went alone with God and prayed, “Send me this $20,000, and send it in such a way that I will know that it comes from Thee.” The manner of its coming was so manifestly from God that no person with any spiritual perception could doubt for a moment who sent it. Mr. Moody has received several millions of dollars for one form of Christian work and another, and all in answer to prayer.