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Power Through Prayer Paperback – July 6, 2012
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About the Author
A chaplain during the American Civil War, Edward M. Bounds was a prolific writer especially about the importance of prayer in Christian life. After being released as a prisoner of war, Bounds traveled the country as an itinerant pastor, bringing many to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
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I can not say I agree with everything Bounds said, but I can not help but be stricken with so many strong statements he made or quoted from the giants of Christianity in the past, among which are as follows (I have to restrain myself from revealing too much of the book):
- Preaching which kills is prayerless preaching. Without prayer the preacher creates death, and not life. The preacher who is feeble in prayer is feeble in life-giving forces. Professional praying there is and will be, but professional praying helps the preaching to its deadly work. Professional praying chills and kills both preaching and praying. Much of the lax devotion and lazy, irreverent attitudes in congregational praying are attributable to professional praying in the pulpit.(Ch.3)
- Prayer--secret fervent believing prayer--lies at the root of all personal godliness. A competent knowledge of the language where a missionary lives, a mild and winning temper, a heart given up to God in closet religion--these, these are the attainments which, more than all knowledge, or all other gifts, will fit us to become the instruments of God in the great work of human redemption. (Ch.4, quoted from Carey's brotherhood)
- Preachers who are great thinkers, great students must be the greatest of prayers, or else they will be the greatest of backsliders, heartless professionals, rationalistic, less than the least of preachers in God's estimate. (Ch.4)
- The character of our praying will determine the character of our preaching. (Ch.4)
- Prayer is humbling work.  It abases intellect and pride, crucifies vainglory, and signs our spiritual bankruptcy, and all these are hard for flesh and blood to bear. It is easier not to pray than to bear them. ...perhaps little praying is worse than no praying. Little praying is a kind of make-believe, a salve for the conscience, a farce and a delusion.(Ch.5)
- No ministry can succeed without much praying, and this praying must be fundamental, ever-abiding, ever-increasing. (Ch.6)
- A desire for God which cannot break the chains of sleep is a weak thing and will do but little good for God after it has indulged itself fully. The desire for God that keeps so far behind the devil and the world at the beginning of the day will never catch up. (Ch.9)
- "The leading defect in Christian ministers is want of a devotional habit." Richard Cecil (Ch.10)
- "I urge upon you communion with Christ a growing communion" -- Sam Rutherford (Ch.11)
- "All the minister's efforts will be vanity or worse than vanity if he have not unction." -- Richard Cecil (Ch.16)
- Apostolic praying was as taxing, toilsome, and imperative as apostolic preaching. They prayed mightily day and night to bring their people to the highest regions of faith and holiness. They prayed mightier still to hold them to this high spiritual altitude. The preacher who has never learned in the school of Christ the high and divine art of intercession for his people will never learn the art of preaching (Ch.17)
- "If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith." -- Martin Luther (Ch.20)
This is an unquestionably must read for Christians who long for sweet and growing communion with Christ and need some fuel and fire to do so.
As E. M. Bounds served as an Army chaplain in the Civil War, his thoughts and opinions perhaps carry additional weight. He truly served in the trenches of this evil world and knows what it takes to combat the cosmic powers over this present darkness.