Praying Down the Wind
Hudson Taylor was the founder of the China Inland Mission and did a great work for God in China. This experience took place when he was journeying to China for the first time. George Müller had a very similar experience when he was once crossing the ocean from England to Canada, when he asked God to clear the fog in five minutes. There are links to more resources from and about Hudson Taylor at the bottom of this page.
I have had all sorts of experiences in all sorts of circumstances, and when I have come to God and pleaded His own promises in His own Word, I have never been disappointed. I have been in circumstances of great difficulty, and have been led to ask Him for remarkable help.
I was nearly wrecked when I was going out to China the first time. Our vessel was becalmed, and gradually drifting upon the coast of New Guinea. We could see the savages on the shore. They had kindled a fire, and were evidently expecting a good supper that night. When I was a medical student some of the other students used to jeer at me because I was going among the heathen, and they would talk about "cold missionary." Well, it did look that night as if somebody was going to have a piece of hot missionary.
The captain said to me: "We can't do anything else but let down the long-boat." They had tried to turn the head of the vessel around from the shore, but in vain. We had been becalmed for several weeks, with never a breeze, or any sign of one. In a few minutes we would be among the coral reefs. We would be at the mercy of those savages, and they didn't look as if they had much mercy.
"Well," I said, " there is one thing we haven't done yet. Let the Christians on board pray about it." There was a black man on board, a steward, who was a very sweet Christian man, and the captain was a Christian, and myself. I proposed that we should retire to our cabins, and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ ask our Father, and His Father, for a breeze immediately. They agreed.
I went to my cabin, and told the Lord that I was just on my way to China; that He had sent me; and that I couldn't get there if I was shipwrecked and killed; and then I was going on to ask Him for a breeze, but I felt so confident about it that I couldn't ask Him.
So I went up on deck. There was the second officer, the chief mate—a very godless man. I went up to him and said: "If I were you I would let down the mainsail." Said he: "What do you want me to let down the mainsail for?" I said: "We have been praying for a breeze, and it is coming directly, and the sooner we are ready for it the better." With an oath he said he would rather see a breeze than hear of one.
As he was speaking I instinctively looked up, and noticed that one of the sails was quivering with the coming breeze. Said I: "Don't you see that the corners of the royals are already shaking? My dear fellow, there is a good breeze coming, and we had better be ready for it." Of course, the mate went to work, and soon the sailors were tramping over the deck. Before the sails were set the wind was down upon us. The captain came up to see what was the matter. He saw that our prayers had been answered; and we didn't forget to praise God for so signal a deliverance from the perils to which we were exposed.
Writing of this and similar experiences later, Hudson Taylor said: “Thus God encouraged me, ere landing on China’s shores, to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honor the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help which each emergency required.”
The Exchanged Life
This chapter is taken from Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor. This famous chapter is often referenced as one of the better descriptions of a person personally finding and rejoicing in the indwelling life of Christ. The entire book is wonderful, but this is one of the "must read" chapters of all Christian books on this particular subject.
Hudson Taylor: Pressing Forward
Hudson Taylor: Surrender Brings the Call
Harriet Beecher Stowe: How To Live On Christ (a tract Taylor sent to all of missionaries)
George Müller: Letter to Hudson Taylor