E.M. Bounds Purpose in Prayer

How God taught me to give 36-fold to missions

by Abe Penner

From the day that I yielded to God the Father in 1954 to prepare theologically for the ministry, I began to pick the brains of men and their writings on the subject of REVIVAL and MISSIONS. A two-hour class credit elective course in the Spring Semester of my Senior Year at Dallas Theological Seminary in 1959 allowed me to do a formal paper which I titled " A Biography of David Brainerd" which left an indelible impact on me. Brainerd, the American evangelist, lived from 1719-47 and poured out his life in prayer dying before he reached the age of 30. [The paper is on file on my computer and is available upon request at pennerabe@hotmail.com .] Three paragraphs that made up The Introduction to that paper are relevant to our present discussion:

"David Brainerd was a man of singularly beautiful and spiritual character, who finished his life work within a very few years." Yet, in this short period of time he accomplished more for God than most men do who live a much longer time. The question that arises in the mind of every devoted servant of God who realizes this fact is, "What was it that characterized David Brainerd that does not characterize me?"

Brainerd did his greatest work by prayer. Alone in the depths of the forests and unable to speak the language of the Indians, he spent whole days in prayer. He was absolutely dependent upon the power of God to work in the hearts of men. God did work, and the record of his life leaves the reader today gasping in awe at the realization that God can move the world through a man who uses His power.

David Brainerd has been with His Lord for over two hundred years, but still he lives in the hearts and lives of those who, have heard the Call and have left all to follow their Lord. William Carey read his life and went to India. Robert McCheyne read his diary and went to the Jews. Henry Martyn was influenced to go to India as an international worker after reading of Brainerd's holy life. Oswald J. Smith, the famous international worker statesman, was so greatly influenced by the life of David Brainerd in the early years of his ministry that he named his youngest son after him. No believer can read of the struggles and achievements of David Brainerd, the man of prayer, and not be challenged to a closer walk with his Lord and Master.

After studying the subject of REVIVAL and MISSIONS independently for a dozen years, the Holy Spirit of God revived me in 1967 primarily under the late Bill Bright of Campus Crusade For Christ and of JESUS video fame. I learned how to be filled with the Holy Spirit by faith in a quiet and powerful way, allowing Him to orchestrate both REVIVAL and MISSIONS in my life! Immediately I asked Him to train me in international worker giving. Oh yes, I had given systematically every Sunday but I desired the joy that I knew should be present in the promise that "it is better to give than to receive". I willed to be able to give more and to give systematically throughout the coming years. To do this I needed wisdom as to how to organize those finances which He had already entrusted to me. I needed a plan from Him in increased stewardship giving where every year would see increased amounts of giving exponentially in the years of the life that He graciously had planned for me. I started at an amount that I was already involved with. I'll call that amount "x". "Lord, starting in January, 1968 I will give "x" amount per week. Then in 1969 I'll give 2 times "x"per week, in 1970 3 times "x" per week, and so forth. And, I'll watch to see how You keep filling up the hopper accordingly". It has been 36 years already of joyful planned giving to missions. How rewarding!

For the first time in my Christian walk I couldn't wait to give until next week, then the next year, as I watched God work in my life as a giver to Christ and to missions through the local church and to international workers at home and abroad. Today, after 36 years plus of giving to the cause of God my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, there is more satisfaction and excitement than ever about giving to international workers. All praise goes to God, Who initiated it in the first place!

After 3 or 4 years had gone by the Evil One suggested, "You'll go completely broke if you keep up this kind of a giving plan". "The plan came from God and what He initiates succeeds", was my heart's reply. I continued to watch God build the International worker Giving Fund year by year and today I am in touch with 100's of missions, churches and organizations worldwide, offering my gratis services and funds via PRAYER SERVICE MINISTRY (A Full-time Focus) at pennerabe@hotmail.com , my ministry motto being "Always Training By Example".

Previous to 1967 I had invested my extra monies, albeit limited, in the stock market but had never felt comfortable with that, let alone seeing very little multiplication on my investments. My godly dad's comment, "That's gambling!" convicted me even if "others can, I can't". Since 1967 I have had no pangs about my investment, rather a Colossians 3:15 peace of mind and heart.

I covenanted before God that the International worker Giving Fund would be "housed" with a Christian organization such as Wycliffe Bible Translators and later Briercrest Schools, Caronport, Saskatchewan, at very low interest accruing, out of which the international worker giving would continue through the years. That way even that organization would benefit from all assets other than my social security cheque (check) both presently and after my time on earth. The same organization would eventually, at my departure for heaven, retain possession of all remaining funds in that revocable trust agreement. Since the giving to missions would increase yearly, the investment amount would of course need also grow in amount year by year.

Thank you and God be glorified! Totally for Christ, Abe Penner pennerabe@hotmail.com

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