The following is a story of a crippled woman who is credited with bringing revival to her nation of England. It is a simple reminder of our most important ministry, our prayer ministry.
…Finding…that he could be spared from Chicago, and desiring to learn more of the Bible from English Bible students, Mr. Moody determined to cross the sea again. He started for a short trip in June, 1872. This visit calls for special consideration on account of one incident that undoubtedly marked another turning point in Mr. Moody’s career.
He was determined not to get into work, if he could help it; but one day, at the close of the service in the Old Bailey prayer-meeting, the Rev. Mr. Lessey, pastor of a church in the North of London, asked him to preach for him the next [Sunday]. Mr. Moody consented.
The morning service seemed very dead and cold. The people did not show much interest, and he felt that it had been a morning lost. But at the next service, which was at half-past six in the evening, it seemed, while he was preaching, as if the atmosphere was charged with the Spirit of God. There came a hush upon all the people, and a quick response to his words, though he had not been much in prayer that day, and could not understand it.
When he had finished preaching he asked all who would like to become Christians to rise, that he might pray for them. People rose all over the house until it seemed as if the whole audience was getting up.
Mr. Moody said to himself:
“These people don’t understand me. They don’t know what I mean when I ask them to rise.” He had never seen such results before, and did not know what to make of it, so he put the test again.
“Now,” he said, “all of you who want to become Christians just step into the inquiry room.”
They went in, and crowded the room so that they had to take in extra chairs to seat them all. The minister was surprised, and so was Mr. Moody. Neither had expected such a blessing. They had not realized that God can save by hundreds and thousands as well as by ones and twos.
When Mr. Moody again asked those that really wanted to become Christians to rise, the whole audience got up. He did not even then know what to do, so he told all who were really in earnest to meet the pastor there the next night.
The next day he went over to Dublin, but on Tuesday morning received a dispatch urging him to return, saying there were more inquiries on Monday than on Sunday. He went back and held meetings for ten days, and four hundred were taken into that church.
After some time what was, perhaps, the secret of this marvellous manifestation of the Spirit’s working was revealed. There were two sisters belonging to that church. One was strong, the other was bed-ridden. One day as the sick woman was bemoaning her condition the thought came to her that she could at least pray, and she began to pray God to revive her church. Day and night her prayer went up to God.
One day she read in a paper an account of some meetings Mr. Moody had held in America, and, though she did know him, she began to pray that God would send him to her church. On the Sunday Mr. Moody preached, her sister went home and said:
“Whom do you think preached this morning?”
She suggested the names of several with whom her pastor was in the habit of exchanging.
Finally her sister told her, “It was Mr. Moody, from America.”
“I know what that means,” cried the sick woman; “God has heard my prayers!”
Mr. Moody believed that it was this revival that carried him back to England the next year.
From The Life of Dwight L. Moody by His Son, William R. Moody (his son), pp. 152-154.