God Is Seeking For Intercessors
By Gordon Cove
Prayer is the greatest unused force in the world. God has placed in our hands the wonderful key of prayer to use against the forces of evil, but the tragedy is that at this grave hour so few Christians avail themselves of this key at all, and those who do use it do not all know how to use it effectively.
If we have any regrets at all when we get to heaven, one feels sure that the main burden of those regrets will be the fact that we did not do more earnest praying while on earth. Doubtlessly we shall regret the smallness of our prayer life and also that our requests were not more in keeping with the magnitude of God’s mighty power – that we asked for crumbs when we could have had a banquet.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7).
The simplest form of prayer is “asking” or making petitions to God. The most difficult form of prayer, that of intercession, is “seeking” and “knocking.”
The praying people of the Bible were intercessors. Abraham pleaded for Sodom and Gomorrah. Samuel prayed all night for Saul, and continually interceded for the nation. David entreated God for his people. Daniel prayed for the deliverance of the Lord’s people from Babylon.
Christ prayed for His disciples and made special intercession for Peter. Paul was an example of his own exhortation, “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made for all men.”
The one thing that is said to have surprised God is that the voice of intercession had ceased. “And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor” (Isa. 59:16). His delivering mercy depends on intercessors, who will put their shoulder under the burdens of others. “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none” (Ezek. 22:30).
The normal function of prayer is to make intercession for others, not to keep praying for ourselves. There are many good men and women in the church, but very few wrestlers with God.
The very word intercession implies a reaching out for someone else. Intercession is the climax of prayer. It is the outward drive of prayer. It is this form of prayer, and only this form, that helps God in His great plan to win a prodigal world back to His embrace. Nothing else will do it.
Of course, prayer must begin with communion and petition, but it only reaches its climax in intercession. Communion and petition go no further than yourself, but intercession is world wide in its outreach. Prayer is not to be used as the petted privilege of a spoiled child seeking for ideal conditions to indulge his spiritual propensities. It is more than that. It is intercession which cannot be described better than “the perspiration of the soul.”
Intercession Is Hard Work
Intercession is not the job for a lazy Christian. It is sheer hard work. Perhaps that is why some have avoided it. It is a “lifting up,” and to lift up anything is tiring. To keep lifting up is intensely tiring. Raise your arm at right angles to your body, and keep it there for even 10 minutes and see how tired you become.
“Much prevailing strength has the supplication of a righteous man in its working” is one rendering of a well-known verse.
Now you can understand Second Corinthians 6:1 – “Workers together with Him.” How? Through this life of intercession. This is the work to which our glorified Lord is ceaselessly devoting Himself. “He ever liveth to make intercession.” Therefore when we engage in intercession we are in the closest and highest co-operation with Him and doing the most effective work with Him that it is possible to do.
The cause why some Christians are so apathetic in intercessory prayer is to be found in the effort required to bring our sensuous and earthbound natures into true union with the Spirit of God. True prayer is labor. Epaphras labored in his intercessions. We are told in Ephesians 6:18, that our prayers are to be offered like this: “Praying with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
Note the “alls” in this verse: (1) “With all prayer” (2) “With all supplication” (3) “For all saints.” The word “persevere” here means, “being sleepless thereunto.” Paul knew the natural slothfulness of man, especially in the matter of prayer. Sometimes we are on the very verge of a great blessing, and we get drowsy.
Satan and His Evil Spirits Seek to Hinder Intercessory Prayer
Intercessory prayer is hard work because it brings us into open conflict with Satan and his evil spirits who are lodged in the “heavenlies.” Prayer affects evil spirits in two ways. First, being itself an effort of the spirit of man, it is setting in motion of a force proper to that realm where the nature of being is spirit: “We wrestle against evil spirits” and are thus an obstacle to their activities. And then, second, prayer is an appeal behind and above those heavenly rulers to the Supreme Ruler who dominates them.
Someone has said that prayer is the greatest opportunity ever offered to a Christian. If that is true, then you can understand why there should be enemies to stand in the way of the prayer life. Satan would not be a good general, he would not be a strategist, unless he attempted to destroy the prayer life, especially the life of intercession for lost souls.
When Jesus won the great victory of Calvary, He, in effect, said to His disciples: “I have won back this world from Satan. Now you must take it from Satan. Take what I have won for you.” But Satan will not easily let go what has been his for centuries. He is a tremendously stiff fighter.
Therefore, prayer must be persistent. The taking must be as insistent as Satan is persistent, and that’s where the fight comes in. That is why at times it seems when we are praying that a pair of hands go around our throats and nearly choke the life out of us.
Moffat renders Ephesians 6:14 as follows: “Hold your ground, tighten the shield of truth about you, wear integrity as your coat of mail, have your feet shod with the stability of the Gospel of peace, above all, take faith as your shield to enable you to quench the fire-tipped dart flung by the evil one…praying at all times in the Spirit, with ALL MANNER OF PRAYER and entreaty…be alive to that…attend to it unceasingly.”
You will notice that from this translation, the object of the Christian soldier’s coat of mail or armour, is that he may enter the prayer fight. The failure of all Christian enterprise is a prayer failure. It is because we have not prayed that tenacious, persistent, intercessory prayer that will not yield until the answer comes, that we are not seeing souls saved as we should do.
Triumphant Prayer That Brings the Answer
Abraham prayed, and if but ten righteous men had been fond in the cities of the plain, they would not have perished; Jacob wrestled till the break of day and prevailed; “Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among them that call upon His Name; they called upon the Lord and He answered them” (Psa. 99:6); Solomon prayed and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple; Hezekiah prayed and fifteen years were added to his life. Daniel and his brethren prayed, and were delivered out of their distresses; the Apostles prayed, and the Holy Spirit descended upon them, and all through the ages men and women have called upon Him and He has heard and answered them.
One powerful wrestler with God has often been made a blessing to an entire church. What then would follow if the church were entirely composed of wrestlers? Nothing would be able to retard its progress or prevent its power over the world.
What is true of laymen engaged in intercessory prayer is likewise true of preachers. The preachers whom God has honored the most in winning souls have been men who have been the most mighty in the ministry of prayer and intercession – men who have prayed intensely, often with unutterable groanings. They were mighty in preaching because mighty in prayer, for intensified prayer gives spiritual vitality to preaching.
Intercession Is a Priestly Function, and All Christians Are Priests
We are to be “an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). “Ye shall be named the priests of the Lord” (Isa. 61:6). Think what constitutes priesthood. There is, first, the work of the priesthood. This has two sides, one Godward, and the other manward. “Every priest…is ordained for men in things pertaining to God” (Heb. 5:1).
A priest therefore is thus a man who does not at all live for himself. He lives with God and for God, but he also lives with men and for men (Heb. 5:2). His work is to find out man’s sin and need, and then to bring it to God in intercessory prayer. This is the high calling of every believer. “Such honor have all the saints.”
There is no doubt that Epaphras had entered upon his duties as an intercessory priest of God, for we read of him: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect…” (Col. 4:12).
Dr. Parker once said of him: “I do not know that Epaphras was an eloquent preacher, but he was mighty in intercession. He threw his arms around his native church and toiled in prayer for them until his brow was bedewed as with agony, and his whole face lighted up with saintly expectation, that he might see the descending blessing.”
What a mighty, irresistible force the church of God would become in the world if she had within her ranks a host of spiritual intercessors like Epaphras! It is noticeable that the Word says of Epaphras, he is “one of you.” He was not a man of some exceptional ability. He belonged to the local church at Colosse – he was one of their class, one of their kith and kin and one just similar to the rest, a man of passions as they, yet he had entered into the ministry of Christian priests – that of intercessory prayer.
However, because of his intercessory prayers, although he was only just “one of them” he must have counted in God’s sight for thousands or millions of ordinary Christians. This is the kind of man God is on the lookout for. None else need apply, for only such as have taken the trouble, like Epaphras, to learn the secret of intercession, will God take into rulership with Himself in the ministry of prayer and intercession.
We Need a Real Burden for the Church and for the Lost
As long as we can with complacence contemplate our friends, and even our loved ones, going the godless road to perdition; as long as things temporal are to us more urgent than things eternal; as long as it affects us little or nothing that Christ’s church, for which He bled, is harried by wolves, and paralyzed by false doctrines let loose by evil spirits, as long as the office and the fireside are preferred to the prayer closet and the prayer meeting – so long shall we be little stirred in spirit and our prayers will be formal and weak.
We need a real burden for the church and for the lost. The unspiritual have no keen realization of the deepest needs of the world. The bitter cry of the outcast multitude finds no echo in their hearts. Woeful shadows rest upon half the homes in the city; in the breasts of many people we pass in the streets are rankling wounds worse than knife stabs; and throngs of souls sink down daily into darkness and doom; and yet these facts never come into many Christian’s prayers and raise them into intense, irrepressible fervor. Their various acts of devotion are cold-blooded pieties, lacking all pitifulness and urgency.
The great prayer warriors of the Bible got such a burden for the needs of others that they actually identified themselves with the sins and needs of the people for whom they were interceding. Moses made the cause of Israel his own. (See his prayer in Exodus 17, 32, 34; Numbers 11, 14, 21, 27). Isaiah identified himself with the people of “unclean lips” (Isa. 6.5). Daniel made confession for the nation (Dan. 9).
Thus it has ever been in the history of the church. We must get such a burden that we identify ourselves with the ones for whom we are praying. But there are very few who bear the burden of the world upon their souls day and night, who make His cause in every clime their very own, and who, like Eli, would die if the ark of God were taken; who feel it an awful shame and a consuming sorrow, if victory is not continually won in His Name.
Mighty Men of God Who Had a Burden
A burden is a load of care or sorrow. No one will ever be a winner of souls unless he has a burden of souls. It is a serious matter to be without such a burden. Look for a moment at the effects of such burdens on some of God’s bygone saints. Here is the burden as borne by Moses: “And it came to pass on the morrow that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go unto the Lord, peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned to the Lord and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me I pray Thee out of Thy book which Thou has written” (Ex. 32:30-32). What passion and burden is here!
David said: “Horror has taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Thy law” (Psa. 119:53). “Rivers of water run down mine eyes because they keep not Thy laws” (Psa. 119:136). “I beheld the transgressors and was grieved” (Psa. 119:158).
Jeremiah said: “My bowels! my bowels! I am pained at my heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace…” (Jer. 4:19).
Of Daniel it was said: “And I set my face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplications, with fastings and sackcloth and ashes: and I prayed…” “I was left alone… and there remained no strength in me” (Dan. 9:3; 10:17).
Then we read of Jesus: “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane…and began to be sorrowful and very heavy” (Matt. 26:36-37). “And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
Paul could say: “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart, for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren…” (Rom. 9:1-3).
Get a Burden for Your Loved Ones
It has sometimes been suggested that it is selfish to pray for our own loved ones, over whom the heart yearns so much, and therefore we are apt to pray for them perhaps with more intensity and a greater frequency than for others. In answer to this objection it may be said that if we do not pray for them, who will? Who can pray for them with such believing persistency as you?
Having said that, we must also realize that it is selfish if we limit our prayers mainly for our loved ones, and do not pray for our neighbors, relatives, business acquaintances, the unsaved in general. It will be a terrible thing when we get to heaven to realize that there are some in that great underworld of lost souls who are there because we have failed to pray for them.
Why is it that our prayers for the moral and spiritual welfare of others seem sometimes so unavailing? We perhaps do already pray consistently for the conversion of loved ones, friends, neighbors, and those among whom we labor Sunday by Sunday and yet how often we see no sign of spiritual awakening. Possibly they seem to become more indifferent to the claims of Christ; more worldly in their aims and pursuits. Thus we tend to grow weary and discouraged, to become skeptical and apathetic. We continue to pray, but more from force of habit than the expectation that anything will happen as the result of our praying.
So much of our ineffectiveness in prayer is due to the fact that we think of others in relation to ourselves rather than to God. Our prayers are blighted by a sense of personal grievance, of wounded pride; we are hurt because our relatives take so little notice of us, because our life and influence seem to count so little to them. It has been truly said that “pride” is known most surely not by its swagger but by its quickness to grow bitter and despondent.
We are so full of self-love, self-pity, resentment or so distracted by a multitude of vain imaginings, that we never draw nigh to God. Obsessed with self, we blot God out of our vision, and everything becomes distorted. You will remember how the prophet Elijah, when threatened by the wicked queen Jezebel, so allowed her to fill his vision that he lost sight of the mighty God who had wrought such a victory over Baal on Mt. Carmel. Because he thought of Jezebel only in relation to himself, he became fearful, discouraged; all his zeal for God seemed wasted, and he lost all desire to live.
Possibly you have long prayed for the conversion of beloved children without any apparent result. The reason may be that instead of their relation to God as your chief concern, you feel aggrieved because in spite of your good example they pursue a course of conduct which they know must displease you. Inwardly you resent this conduct. Unconsciously you exert an invisible barrier between yourself and them. Perhaps their conduct injures your pride; you feel that in desecrating the Lord’s Day, in living for the world, they are letting you down in sight of your neighbors. How elevated you would feel, how it would minister to your pride, if only they walked with you to the house of God and were active in His service!
Because, however, of their apathy and worldliness, you feel distressed and fail to realize that even your grief may spring from a worldly motive. It is because we are not free from the spirit of worldliness in our ideals, aims, life and service that so many of our prayers are not answered. Prayer in the last resort is worth just as much as the man behind it. If we are proud, prejudiced, full of self-love, our prayer life will suffer from the same defects.
If we are to be effective in our prayers for others, then our supreme concern must be their relationship to God, and not to ourselves. The all-important thing is not their attitude to us but their attitude to God. When we see things in the light of their relationship to God, then all sense of personal wrong, of injured pride, will vanish.
Prayer in its noblest form, that is, intercessory prayer, is dying to self, that we might become alive to God and more effective for God. The Lord Jesus in His high priestly prayer for His disciples said: “For their sakes I sanctify Myself” (John 17:19). He consecrated Himself to the high task of redeeming His own by His death for their sins.
We in turn should consecrate ourselves to the high purpose of bringing our loved ones before the Throne of Grace, thinking not of their indifference or antagonism to us, but of their supreme need of God and His salvation. When we see others with the eyes of Christ, who emphasized the inevitable destruction of Jerusalem rather than its cruel treatment of Himself (Luke 19:41-44), then we shall be more sincere, more fervent in our prayers on their behalf.
Prayer will then be more effectual because our prayers will be more real and more spiritual. No longer blinded by self-love and self-pity, we shall see more clearly the real needs of others. We shall now hear Christ saying: “Ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
The Lord’s Remembrancers
“Ye that are the Lord’s remembrancers (margin) take no rest, and give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isa. 62:6-7).
An intercessory Christian is one of the Lord’s remembrancers. It is hardly possible not to linger a little while over this curious title. We are to give God no rest, and we are not to rest ourselves, for “take no rest” is equivalent to saying that we are never to yield to despondence however much we may feel to be discouraged.
“Give Him no rest” (margin, silence). We are to keep reminding God of His promises and not to suffer Him to be quiet! This is astounding news, yet it is true. All through the Bible God is represented as yielding to the importunity of intercessory prayer.
In His righteous anger with the Israelites, God said to Moses: “Let Me alone, that I may consume this people”; but when Moses prayed, reminding God of His promise to the patriarchs, the record says: “The Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do to His people.”
When we pray with that kind of resolved importunity that will not be diverted from its object, then God opens His hand and pours out the blessings. This kind of prayer is intercessory prayer. Deeper than the need of preachers, deeper than the need of money and organization, is the church’s need today of the forgotten secret of prevailing prayer. God help us to learn the infinite secret of lifting the whole round world, with all its freight and infinite destiny, in the arms of faith and cast it at His feet.
We are thus encouraged both to work and to pray, both to “take no rest,” and to “give Him no rest.” Here is activity and prayer, each unceasing – that is the irresistible combination which the prophet recommends and urges. As someone once said, “We are to pray as if God had everything to do, and to work as if everything depended on ourselves.”
The two great dangers represented here are either that we take too much rest or that we give God too much rest. “What are we to remind God of?” says someone. We are to remind Him of His promises. We must pray to God and remind Him of His promises and beseech Him that they may be brought to pass in our day and generation.
At the same time, we must work in order to see their fulfillment. Many Christians either do not pray enough, or they do not work enough. Prayerless work will soon slacken, and never bear fruit, but idle prayer is, perhaps, worse still. This verse shows us the way the church will be established – “till He establish….”
Abraham’s Intercessory Prayer for Sodom
Here is a wonderful example of what intercessory prayer really is. A guilty city was lying under the ban of God; but one of God’s remembrancers comes forward and says: “If fifty righteous be found here; if forty righteous – if thirty righteous – if twenty – if ten?” “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.”
Abraham was a man who knew what it was to intercede for others. Not once do we find him praying for himself. His prayer for Sodom and Lot, for Abimelech, for Ishmael, all prove his utter unselfishness and what power a man who is God’s friend can have on the history of those around him. Abraham is a remarkable example of the power of prevailing and intercessory prayer. This we may gather from his pleading on this occasion on behalf of Sodom.
It is written that “Abraham drew near.” This statement goes to the very root of the matter and explains more than anything else the real secret of his power in prayer. Had he failed to draw near to God, his petition, however earnest or lucid, would have been nothing better than a lifeless form and not as it was – a living vital force.
Another secret of Abraham’s success was his deep humility of spirit. He considered himself to be but dust and ashes. And let us remember that Abraham at this time was about one hundred years old. Besides this, he was in the Covenant which God had promised to establish to him and his seed after him. Therefore he might have felt justified in urging his plea upon the ground of his position as the chosen of God. But instead of this he confessed he was “dust and ashes.”
So humble was he that he was admitted into God’s own Council Chamber where he had the privilege of pleading in soul contact with his God (Gen. 18:17). Abraham drew near, and God did not repel him. Or show him any aloofness. “Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” Every petition he offered received an answer, neither was the presence of the mercy of God withdrawn so long as he continued to pray and to make intercession, which proves that it was possible for Abraham to have been even more intense and to have gone further with his petitions.
Whenever there are limitations and we fail to reach the highest possibility in the prayer life, the fault is always on the human side and never on the divine. When we pray we should look for results on a scale worthy of God. But as rightly expressed, “This cannot be done unless we concentrate all our strength and desires into every stroke of our prayers.” The strongholds of sin and Satan will not yield to soft indefinite blows and soulless petitions.
Intercession is like someone running in between God and a city or place which is about to be judged and pleading with God to stay His hand. When there was a plague among the people in the camp of Israel and thousands were dying, one of the Lord’s intercessors ran in between – exactly what the word “intercede” means – he ran in between the living and the dead, and the plague was stayed (Numbers 16:42-48). Can we explain such a passage in any other way than the Lord’s intercessors have power put into their hands to move the Hands which move the universe?
Have you ever wondered why Lot did not join in this ministry of intercession along with Abraham? Doubtless the chief reason was because he lacked the divine fellowship of God to the same degree as Abraham. Prayer and fellowship went hand in hand with Abraham, and so it must be if we expect our prayers to be effective. The whole history of the church proves that it is those who live in the closest fellowship with God to whom He reveals His mind.
No, Lot was not sufficiently in touch with God to feel the burden for others and to exercise a ministry of intercession. No agonizing prayer is offered up by him on behalf of the doomed city. No display of godly sympathy for the perishing multitude; no mention even for his own safe deliverance.
The Holy Spirit’s Help in Prayer
The crying need of our day is another great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But the outpouring of the Spirit will always be in exact proportion to the power of the Holy Spirit praying through us. “Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20). What is this power working in us? It is the Holy Spirit making intercessions through the saints with groanings that cannot be uttered.
God’s activity among the unsaved, in conviction and salvation, will never exceed the “power that worketh in us.” The Scripture says: “As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Isa. 66:8). There must be travail before there will be spiritual birth.
Before there has ever fallen a great benediction of God’s blessing upon a church or upon a district, it has always been preceded by prayer. The Israelites sighed and groaned to God before He raised up Moses as their deliverer. Doubtlessly many a heart-rending appeal was made to God by the mothers when their children were torn from them and thrown into the river. The whole nation cried: “O God, visit us!” This travail brought its result.
In David’s day there was a time of religious revival. But what spiritual throes and pangs did David go through. What yearning he had! How he thirsted after the living God! Even when he confessed his own sins, he could not finish his prayer without entreating the Lord to build the walls of Jerusalem.
Remember also the case of King Josiah. The book of the law was found neglected in the temple, and when the young king heard of it he rent his clothes, for he saw that the nation had revolted and that wrath would come upon them. He had a tender heart and feared God, and when he heard the news his heart was ready to break with anguish to think of the misery that their sins now exposed them to. Then there came a glorious reformation which purged the land of idols. Travail of heart produced this amazing change.
Even Christ went not forth to preach until He had spent nights in intercessory prayer, and uttered strong cryings and tears for His hearers.
The secret of success lies in all-consuming zeal, all subduing travail for souls. Do you want your children to be saved? Then you shall have them when you agonize for them.
At one time there was a great outpouring of the Spirit in New England as a result of the teaching on prayer by Charles G. Finney. Largely as a result of this general spirit of prayer it was estimated that for quite a season there was an average of 50,000 conversions a week in the Revival belt. In some places nearly the whole population were saved. In one community every adult person on both sides of a street three miles long were saved but one, and then they united in prayer until God saved the remaining one.
In Finney’s day an ordinary painter got saved and after reading the prayer promises of the Bible, he decided to pray through for revival in certain towns. His method was to pray through for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon a place, and hold on continually until he heard from heaven, and KNEW that he had prevailed with God. Then he would write in his diary, “Today I was enabled to pray the prayer of faith for a revival at…” and put down the date. He continued this until he had recorded the dates on which he was able to prevail for thirty different places. He knew that he had prayed through before he saw any of the results, and in answer to this one man’s prayers, down came the thirty revivals exactly as he had recorded them in his diary!
Mr. Finney, in speaking of the beginning of his revival work, says: “I had been in the habit of rising early in the morning and spending a season of prayer alone in the Meeting House; and I finally succeeded in interesting a considerable number of brethren to meet me there in the morning for a prayer meeting. This was at a very early hour, and we were generally together long before it was light enough to see to read….
“The spirit of prayer that prevailed in those revivals was a very marked feature of them. It was common for young converts to be greatly exercised in prayer; and in some instances so much so that they were constrained to pray for whole nights, and until their bodily strength was quite exhausted, for the conversion of the souls around them. It was very common to find Christians wherever they met in any place, instead of engaging in conversation, to fall on their knees in prayer.”
He further says: “Prayer is an essential link in the chain of causes that lead to a revival; as much so as truth is. Some have zealously used truth to convert men, and laid very little stress on prayer. They have preached, and talked, and distributed tracts with great zeal and then wondered why they had so little success. And the reason was that they forgot to use the other branch of means, effectual prayer. They overlooked the fact that truth by itself will never produce the effect, without the Spirit of God, and that the Spirit is given in answer to earnest prayer.”
Men Who Prayed Down Revivals
Finney also attributes to his great success in soul-winning, not only his personal prayers, but the prayers of others, some of whom followed him with their prayers wherever he went. Of these he especially mentions two: one was a Mr. Abel Clary and another was called “Father Nash.” This Mr. Clary was a preacher, and was so burdened with the souls of men that he did not do a lot of preaching. He gave his whole time and strength to prayer. The burden of his soul would frequently be so great that he was unable to stand, and would writhe and groan in agony. He did not attend any of Finney’s meetings, but he prayed nearly all the time. Sometimes he lay prostrate on the floor, groaning and pleading for souls.
The other of these remarkable intercessors was this “Father Nash.” He sometimes traveled around to the towns where Finney was laboring especially to uphold him in prayer. He would lock himself in a room and plead and intercede until God’s blessing came in a mighty way.
One of the great secrets of all mighty men of prayer down through the ages is that they just would not be satisfied at getting no answers to their prayers!