Necessity of Prayer

FOR almost a century Edward McKendree Bounds's books on prayer have been classic works, stimulating and inspiring Christians to become prayer warriors. A forceful writer and very deep thinker, Bounds spent the last seventeen years of his life reading, writing, and praying. He rose at 4 A.m. daily for many years, and was indefatigable in his study of the Bible.

As breathing is a physical reality to us, so prayer was a reality for Bounds. He took the command, "Pray without ceasing," almost as literally as animate nature takes the law of the reflex nervous system, which controls our breathing.

Because Bounds so diligently practiced what he preached, he was able to capture the essence of prayer, and his works live on to call today's Christians to higher discipleship and an energetic prayer life.


EDWARD McKENDREE BOUNDS was born in Shelby County, Missouri, on August 15, 1835. He received a common school education at Shelbyville and at the age of twenty-one was admitted to the bar. Bounds practiced law until age twenty-four when he received a call to preach the gospel. The Civil War erupted while Bounds was serving as a pastor in Brunswick, Missouri, and he was taken as a prisoner of war because he refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government. He finally secured a release and served as chaplain of the Fifth Missouri Regiment until he was captured and held as prisoner at Nashville, Tennessee.

After the war he served as pastor of churches in Tennessee and Alabama. He married Emmie Barnette who died ten years later. Then he married Hattie Barnette and together they had five children. Later he became editor of the St. Louis Christian Advocate.

He spent the last seventeen years of his life with his family in Washington, Georgia. He died August 24, 1913. Just before he died, he wrote these lines to his friend, Homer W Hodge: "When he is ready, I am ready; I long to taste the joys of the heavenlies."

Bounds published two of his books before he died. To Claude L. Chilton, Jr., an ardent admirer of Dr. Bounds, fell the task of preserving and preparing Bounds's collection of manuscripts for publication. Chilton lovingly and diligently performed his assignment and more books appeared. When Chilton died in 1929, Homer W Hodge assumed the task and the remaining books were issued.

Claude L. Chilton captured the essence of Bounds's prayer books when he said.

These books are unfailing wells for a lifetime of spiritual water-drawing.They are hidden treasures, wrought in the darkness of dawn and the heat of the noon, on the anvil of experience,and beaten into wondrous form by the mighty stroke of the divine. They are living voices whereby he, being dead,yet speaketh!

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