"The effective prayer of a righteous man (or woman) can accomplish much." (James 5:16b)
In 1871 a fire destroyed much of Chicago, including the church of the great evangelist and preacher, Dwight L. Moody. He went to London in 1872 to rest for a few months and was determined not to preach. However, God had other plans. A Congregationalist minister persuaded Moody to preach at their lower middle-class church near a prison in London. In his biography of Moody, John Pollock relates the following story;
Sunday morning's smug, stolid drowsiness made him (Moody) rue his irresolution in accepting (the invitation to preach). Unknown to him, a woman hurried back to her younger sister, a mere slip of a girl but permanently bedridden, name Marianne Adlard, and broke the news that Mr. Moody of America had preached. Marianne exclaimed: "I know what that means! God has heard my prayers!" ...Marianne had been praying daily, "O Lord, send this man to our church." These sisters prayed that afternoon for Mr. Moody and for their church.
That evening, from the moment Moody mounted the pulpit, the congregation listened, hushed and alert. His every word seemed charged as with electricity. At the close, he asked any who wanted their "lives changed by the power of God through faith in Jesus Christ as a personal Savior," and wanted "to become Christians," to rise, that he might pray for them. People rose all over the chapel.
Surprised, Moody thought that either he or they had made a mistake and told them to sit. He repeated what he meant by "becoming a Christian" and asked that those who wished should withdraw to the adjoining hall. He watched, astonished, as scores of men, women, and older children made their way quietly to the hall. Moody addressed this second meeting with the utmost care, enlarging on repentance and faith. The whole room rose when he put his question the third time. He told them to meet their minister, who was as dazed as he was, the next night.
Moody agreed to remain on in London and spoke nightly all that week and the next. "Four hundred were taken into membership of that church," James Sprunt, a Baptist minister in Somerset, wrote fifty-three years later, "and by the grace of God, I was one of that number."
God used the effective prayers of Marianne to accomplish great things in her little church back in 1872. This weak, bedridden girl's prayers had a very powerful impact on Moody's ministry resulting in hundreds of souls being saved, to the glory of God. I'm sure Marianne has heard her Lord say "Well done good and faithful servant." I hope you too are praying for your Pastor's ministry and the salvation of the lost who the Lord may bring to your church. Maranatha!