- E.M. Bounds (1835–1913) was a pastor... Review by Robert Castillo
E.M. Bounds (1835–1913) was a pastor and author of eleven books, nine of which focused on the matter of prayer. As part of the Christianaudio review program I had the opportunity to listen to one of his classical works. Power Through Prayer is one of those prolific classic writings brought here in an audio production. Power Through Prayer has been called “one of the truly great masterpieces on the theme of prayer.” The term classic can appropriately be applied to this outstanding work.
In twenty brief but inspiring chapters Bounds begins each chapter with delightful quotations on the greatness of prayer from spiritual giants of the Christian faith. Then he continues to stress the vital necessity of prayer in the entire life of a pastor. Though it is aimed toward the pastoral ministry it can be easily applied to any believer’s spiritual life & ministry. It is one of those works that could be listened to time & time again and still gain continuing fresh insight and inspiration for one’s prayer life.
Throughout this book Bounds makes the point of demonstrating that the pastor can not depend on his intellect, scholarly study, and any other skill and talent he possesses to impact and change the people of his flock for it all is powerless if he has not unction to start and finish on his knees. He states this soberly like this:
Preaching which kills is prayerless preaching. Without prayer the preacher creates death, and not life. The preacher who is feeble in prayer is feeble in life-giving forces. The preacher who has retired prayer as a conspicuous and largely prevailing element in his own character has shorn his preaching of its distinctive life-giving power.
Bounds was a tireless man of prayer, whose words ring with authenticity, passion, and conviction. He calls for the Christian to keep God first in your morning thoughts and Holy character is formed by real praying. For the preacher to be a great thinker and student must be a great prayer or else they will be the greatest of backsliders and be heartless in ministry. On a final note Hovel Audio’s narrator Mr. Doren Elias skillfully speaks with a voice that conveys the richness of Bounds work. I would hope that many would get the chance to read this book and that we all would endeavor to find Power Through Prayer.
(Posted on 8/19/10)
- Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds Wilder Publications... Review by Gino Curcuruto
Power Through Prayer
by E.M. Bounds
Wilder Publications (2008)
This stirring and inspiring book is packed with insightful points from a man who has obviously spent much time seeking the Lord through prayer. E.M. Bounds seeks to show us that it is not more methods and gimmicks that are needed, but earnest men of prayer. Such a timely message today yet Bounds wrote this book many years ago! In the first chapter, Bounds lays out his reason for writing this book: “What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men—men of prayer.” (p. 2)
In twenty chapters, Bounds lays out not only his argument in his own words but he relies on excellent quotes from many saints of the past whom God has used mightily for His work. Bounds stay often that any man who has been used by God is first a man of prayer. Prayer is the basis for any pastor to be used by and for God. As Bounds states it, “Every preacher who does not make prayer a mighty factor in his own life and ministry is weak as a factor in God’s work and is powerless to project God’s cause in this world.” (p. 4)
This book is a refreshing to the soul as it continually challenges the reader to strive for holiness and seeking the Lord through prayer. The examples on page after page of the divines who spent hours in prayer in order to prepare for their service to the Lord is challenging. Of course, if received incorrectly it could be seen as a law to slavishly follow or an out-of -reach standard that leads to discouragement. But read in the larger context, that is not how it should be received. Bounds seems to work through his argument skillfully beginning with showing the need and motivation for men of prayer, moving to examples of men of prayer, then further showing methods of prayer and finally capping of with sharing some of the many glories of a life of prayer.
I was greatly encouraged by this book. I have recently been struggling with my time of private devotions. Changes in my schedule and a new baby give me many reasons to make excuses but Bounds has been used by God to speak to my heart and refresh my soul. Prayer is not a duty but a delight. Prayer is not just a necessity I am called to, it is a privilege I am given!
The chapters on the topic of “unction” were very profitable for me. I have read much about the term “unction” within the pages of the Puritan Paperbacks but Bounds gives a very clear and precise discussion on the necessity of unction. Unction in the pulpit and in ministry does not come from merely studying well or writing eloquent sermons. Unction comes from spending time on your knees in prayer with the One who gives power.
This is a book that I plan on referring back to for encouragement and refreshment as I seek to be faithful in prayer for the sake of my joy and God’s glory.
(Posted on 7/12/10)
- E.M. Bounds is well known as... Review by Jennifer Bogart
E.M. Bounds is well known as one of the pre-eminent, and certainly one of the most prolific authors on the topic of prayer. Power Through Prayer is an audio production of one of his classic works, which while brief (50 pages in print-form, 2.5 hours of audio) is deeply convicting.
Bounds writes mainly to pastors, opening each of his brief 20 chapters with a quotation from a great man of faith, followed by his own musings on the importance that a rich prayer life has on the fruits of one’s ministry. Though geared towards the pastoral implications of a dry or rich prayer life, Bounds’ applications can easily be transferred to the life, ministry, and fruit of any believer.
Focusing on the internal spiritual life of pastors, Bounds points out that academic study, charismatic delivery, theological know-how, and a wide variety of other pastoral skills are absolutely no substitute for communion with God. He rightfully points out that reliance on any of these outward abilities will result in a dead ministry. While it may be popular, it will lack the truly life-giving quality that draws members of the body closer to their Lord.
Hovel Audio’s narrator Doren Elias (Doren is a man, just thought I’d clarify as his is an unusual name) speaks with a warm, rich voice that handles Bounds’ rich text skillfully. Though brief, this audio book is well worth listening to multiple times, as it is so full of practical insight on the importance and power of prayer on life.
(Posted on 6/21/10)
- E.M. Bounds is well known for... Review by Bradley Chambers
E.M. Bounds is well known for his writing on prayer. He's written multiple books on it and is highly regarded among Christian theologians for his Biblical based approach on prayer. This is actually the first book I've read by him.
I consider myself an audiobook junkie, so I'm always drawn to a good narrator. Doren Elias did the reading for this book. I found him to be perfectly acceptable. He simply got out of the way of the text. In non fiction writing, I am not looking for a narrator to draw my attention to him/her, but to the information in the book. Doren's voice is powerful, but not in a way where you begin to focus on his voice rather than the words of the author.
Since this book was written before the mega church area, you won't find discussion on the latest church growth strategies or the most influential youth ministry strategies. I find this fact as a much needed change. Bounds continually prayed between 4 AM and 7 AM. He saw prayer as much more than just getting what you want out of God, but rather seeking God for Him and Him alone.
This book seems to be written to pastors (a lot of discussion on spending time praying over a sermon than getting every transition just right), but it is VERY valuable for all believers. Praying is work and Bounds never glosses over that.
A very good listen!
(Posted on 6/4/10)