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Prevailing Intercessory Prayer ... From a Distance

James Fraser

“I covet earnest, believing prayer...”

James Fraser was a much used missionary with the China Inland Mission who saw a great work develop among the Chinese people where he was witnessing as a result of the prayers of his mother and a band of supportive prayer warriors in England. Here are some of his thoughts on prevailing intercessory prayer.

“Can it be that a great work for God involving thousands of souls devolves upon our prayer life, half a world away?  I am feeling more and more that it is, after all, just the prayers of God’s people that call down blessing upon the work, whether they are directly engaged in it or not. Paul may plant and Apollos water, but it is God who gives the increase; and this increase can be brought down from heaven by believing prayer, whether offered in China or in England. We are, as it were, God’s agents-used by Him to do His work, not ours. We do our part, and then can only look to Him, with others, for His blessing. If this is so, then Christians at home can do as much for foreign missions as those actually on the field. I believe it will only be known on the Last Day how much has been accomplished in missionary work by the prayers of earnest believers at home. And this, surely, is the heart of the problem. Such work does not consist in curio exhibitions, lantern lectures, interesting reports, and so on. Good as they may be, these are only the fringe, not the root of the matter. Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees. What I covet more than anything else, is earnest, believing prayer, and I write to ask you to continue in prayer for me and the work here.  Eileen  Crossman “Mountain Rain, a new autobiography of James Fraser”  page  35

“I find myself able to do little or nothing apart from God’s going before me and working among (the Lisu people).  Without this I feel like a man who his boat grounded in shallow water.  Pull or push as he may, he will not be able to make his bot move more than a few inches.  But let the tide come in and lift his boat off the bottom—then he will be able to move it as far as he pleases, quite easily and without friction.  It is indeed necessary for me to go around among our Lisu, preaching, teaching, exhorting, rebuking, but the amount of progress made thereby depends almost entirely on the state of the Spiritual Tide in the village—a condition which you can control upon your knees as well as I.”  Eileen  Crossman “Mountain Rain, a new autobiography of James Fraser”  Page 148

“Anything must be done rather than let this prayer-service be dropped or even allowed to stagnate. We often speak of intercessory work as being of vital importance.  I want to prove that I believe this is actual fact by giving my first and best energies to it as God may lead.  I feel like a business man who perceives that a certain line of goods pays better than any other in his store, and who purposes making it his chief investment; who in fact, sees an inexhaustible supply and an almost unlimited demand for a profitable article and intends to go in for it more than anything else.  The DEMAND is the lost state of these tens of thousands of Lisu....; the SUPPLY is the grace of God to meet his need—to be brought down to them by the persevering prayers of a considerable company of God’s people.  All I want to do is, as a kind of middleman, to bring the supply and the demand together.” 

Taken from Eileen  Crossman's, “Mountain Rain, a new autobiography of James Fraser”  Page 170