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Past and Present
Remarkable Answers to Prayer


Jehovah is “a God that heareth prayer.” He has bid us “be careful for nothing, but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to let our requests be made known unto God.” Oh, what a privilege is this ! But how tardy to avail themselves of it, are the most sincerely pious people ! So slow of heart are they to believe, and so prone to think the intervention of the Divine Being is to be expected in matters alone spiritual, and not in matters that relate to our temporal interests and comforts. A delusion this no doubt; and one that has an unfriendly influence on the interests of religion. Infidels will naturally resolve all pretended spiritual answers into imagination, but instances such as I am about to record, constitute a sort of external evidence of the truth of Christianity. They can all be authenticated by living witnesses at the present hour; and more of a similar nature might have been recorded. But these are enough to make up an article and to confirm the position, that we may expect answers to prayer in matters that pertain to this life. Before I specify particular cases, I may say, in a general way, that I remember something like a score of cases, less or more, where recovery, in the case of sick infants, which were given up to die, followed on their baptism, and the prayers to God for them which accompanied the ordinance. We simply mention the fact, let every person form what conclusion he thinks most consistent. I come now to particular cases of apparent answers to prayer.

In 183-, the circuit to which I was appointed had a great deal of week-day work ; and on some of those days we preached twice. It was so the day on which the incident took place which I am about to record. I had a few miles to ride, from the place where I preached the previous evening, to another neighborhood, where I usually preached in a private house at 11 o’clock, A. M. The family consisted of the man and his wife, and two, or three children. One of these was an infant about six months old. It was very ill, and apparently dying. The parents, but especially the mother, seemed in the deepest sorrow and anxiety. The house consisted of two rooms below stairs. The front one communicated with out doors. The child was in a cradle in the inner room, where the women usually sat during service. The preacher generally stood in the door way between the rooms. And when I rose to begin the service, and, indeed, through the whole course of it, I could hear the afflicted mother sobbing behind me. I resolved when I prayed, to remember the child, and to enlist the intercessions of the congregation in its behalf. But, strange to say, I forgot it, both during the opening and closing prayer! When the service ended, dinner was brought in, and we immediately sat down. My back was still towards the door of the inner room, in which I could still hear the mother’s sobs. I felt to upbraid myself for my forgetfulness; and having hurried through my meal, I and the father went into the room where the child lay. The poor babe was black in the face, and apparently near its last. An experienced old lady present said it would assuredly die; but I felt there was nothing too hard for the Almighty. The mother seemed to feel the same; her proposal for prayer in the child’s behalf, met my own. We spake at the same instant; and we four were all "agreed as touching what we should ask.” We kneeled around and facing the cradle, and made no request but the one—that for the recovery of the child. I felt uncommon liberty of speech and unusual faith—I was sure it would be done. The responses of the rest indicated a similar state of mind. We felt that we had got an answer. When we rose, I took the child’s hand in my own, and said I thought it would get well. Had I followed the impulse of my feelings, I would have pronounced it with the utmost confidence, but thought it better not. The mother brightened up, and “thought it looked better.” It mended from that moment. When I came around, in a month’s time, it was perfectly well. It continued so till I left the circuit. Some years after, I met the parents at a Camp-Meeting ; the child was then living. It is now, if alive, grown to man’s estate. This I always did and will believe a direct and immediate answer to prayer. Since writing the above, I have stumbled on a reference to this circumstance in an old manuscript journal of mine, written when the facts were vividly before my mind. “ Sept. 10. To-day preached at T. J’s, whose infant child was very sick, nigh unto death, when I was around last. I prayed fervently and confidently for its recovery ; and on going there this time, I found it perfectly recovered. They told me it began to amend from %that very hour. This is the third instance of a signal answer to prayer, in a similar case, to which I have been a witness.”

On that same circuit, a little earlier in the season, we witnessed an evident answer to prayer, relating to a different subject—it was for rain in drought. This was also on a week day, and at the second of two appointments for the day. It was in the centre of the township of M—, a very clayey soil, which felt the effects of the drought very much, which had now continued several weeks, till the crops had begun to turn yellow prematurely. The meeting referred to was at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and held in a private house. We usually had a very large congregation at that place. When I arrived on that occasion the men, who were farmers, were standing about the door, engaged in conversation. The subject was the want of rain, which they deplored in melancholy strains, while their countenances were suffused with gloom, I felt for them and the country intensely.

Soon the service began, and when we came to pray I did not forget, as on the former occasion, but remembered the state of the country; and pleaded with the God of nature and providence for speedy rain. I felt great enlargement and confidence that it would be. The people responded with great earnestness, and apparently in faith. God also refreshed our souls with a sense of his presence. Before the service was concluded, it had clouded over. The people hurried home, as did Ahab and Elijah from Carmel to Jezreel. When night set in, the darkness thickened ; and before morning a copious rain fell for several hours to the extent of several miles around. We all believed it was in answer to prayer. Since then, the writer has always prayed for rain in times of drought. He has also seen what he took to be unquestionable answers to prayer in reference to these requests; but did not charge his mind with the particulars so as to be able to relate them with correctness.

About two years after the last mentioned event, I was stationed in the town of B., whence I went on a visit into the interior of the country about forty miles. On our return, we learned where we stopt for dinner, that “ Father T.,” an elderly and estimable local preacher, who lived about two miles off the road, was exceedingly ill. Subsequently, too, I learned he had sent off to town, some dozen miles, with the persuasion if the preacher stationed there came and prayed with him he would get relief. This was unknown to me, when a friend proposed that we should go and visit this afflicted servant of Christ.

We set out on foot, to allow my horse to rest and feed the while. When we arrived at the house, we found the old gentleman in dreadful agony. The physician was there. We were not in the house many minutes before we were all on our knees around the sick man’s bed. We felt that the Church could hardly spare that excellent member at that juncture, a time of agitation, when she needed “ good men and true.” How many of us prayed I do not now remember. I and the local preacher did, with great earnestness and faith. And the afflicted brother seemed to have more faith in the efficacy of our prayers than we had ourselves, God in mercy gave an answer. In less than half an hour after we entered the house, he found relief He recovered, and though an aged man, is yet alive after the lapse of twenty-four or twenty-five years.

The writer had forgotten some of the facts, when, about ten years ago, they were recalled by an exhorter, who was Mr. T’s neighbor at the time of his sickness and recovery, relating the facts in a Love-Feast, in confirmation of the efficacy of prayer, which had been the subject of the sermon on the previous Saturday. This was several hundreds of miles West of where the occurrence took place. All who knew the facts, believed that useful man was given back to the Church, from “the gates of the grave,” in answer to the prayer of faith.

We now come to an occurrence, among many, nearer the present time. Not more than six years ago, the only child of a very estimable and pious couple—a little girl about nine or ten years of age—was ill. I believe her affliction was a fever at first, but had become complicated, and her life was despaired of. The parents naturally felt much at the prospect of losing their little one. The writer, on the occasion referred to had called at the door, and inquired about the health of Mary; but as she was very low and had been fatigued with company, he thought it not best to go in, but sent his love, and word that he would pray for Tier. On the return of her mother to her bed side, the child wished to know who had called. The answer was, “Mr. C-; and he said he would pray for you.”

“Well, call him in, and let him pray for me now” said she. The pastor was accordingly summoned to return, and to come to the bed side of the sick one. The father, mother, and minister were soon gathered around the couch of that sinking yet intelligent and appreciating child. I do not remember that more than one led in prayer, but that prayer was deeply felt, and fervently and believingly offered by each and all. We prayed for the salvation of her soul; but also pleaded with great liberty and boldness, the promise of covenant mercy, for her recovery. We felt we had got an answer from the Lord. And from that hour, Mary was convalescent. She went on recovering for several days—when a relapse brought on a new complication in the form diabetes. Parents and child were alarmed again. The latter begged that the pastor might be sent for to pray with her again. He went. The former scene was reenacted. God gave us the desire of our hearts; and in a short time restored her to perfect health. She is still alive, and must be nearly grown to woman’s estate. It is to be hoped she will not forget her obligations to that Being, who appeared for her deliverance in the hour of distress and danger; and that she will make prayer and praise the business of her life.

Perhaps we could not make a more fitting close of this article, than by saying it was our happiness to receive, from the subject of the cure himself, an incidental confirmation of an extraordinary case recorded in the Life of that remarkably holy and faithful servant of Christ—the late Hey. Wm. Bramwell. We are sorry we have not his biography at hand, to give the particulars of the passage verbatim ; but we give its substance.

It will be remembered, that in a certain house in which Mr. B* used to lodge, I think in one of his favorite Yorkshire circuits, there was a boy whose sight was almost extinguished by an affection of the eyes. Mr. B., on the occasion referred to, had staid over night; and coming out of his room, doubtless from his knees, and going to the front door where his horse awaited him, suddenly stopped and asked where the boy was with the diseased eyes. He was told in a certain “dark room.”

"Bring him to me,” were his words. The boy was immediately brought, Mr. B. made no remark, but put his hand on his head, and continued some time in silent prayer. Then, turning, mounted his horse and rode away. The boy feeling that he was restored to sight, tore off the bandage from his eyes, and found himself perfectly well. When the writer of this article read that case, it impressed him much; .but little did he think he should have the truth of it confirmed to him <by the party most interested. Yet so it was. When stationed 4n London, C. W., about ten years ago, I received a beautifully written letter from a gentleman who said he was a commercial agent; it was dated Ayr, Scotland, although his home was in Yorkshire, England, requesting me to make enquiry for a daughter of whom he had not heard for some years, and about whom he was anxious, assigning as a reason why I should feel some interest in him that he was a Wesleyan local preacher, and that he was the identical boy for whose restoration to sight William Bramwell had prayed and was answered. It was signed, if I remember correctly, William Greenougii. It was the name in the book, which is not at hand. The daughter was found, who confirmed her father’s relation, by the tradition that had always been in the family. To her I delivered the letter.

N. B.—When I began, I had the intention to give the particulars of a recent case, the most remarkable that has occurred to ourself, of an interesting little boy, four years of age, the child of highly respectable parents, and their only son, whose skull was broken through by a blow from a horse, so that a piece of skull came away and some of his brains were spilled, and of whose recovery the most competent to judge had no reasonable hope; whose life was given back in answer to the agonizing prayer of faith, and who may be pronounced recovered. The physicians pronounced his recovery, little less than miraculous. And his intelligent father, who by no means carries his religion to the point of fanaticism, is of the firm persuasion, that prayer saved him. But all the parties being well known, we are not disposed to further obtrude it on the public. May it appear that this child was spared for some useful end.


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