Edward McKendree Bounds was trained and apprenticed as an attorney, but instead of pursuing a legal career, he entered the ministry in his early twenties. In 1859 he was ordained as pastor of the the Monticello Methodist Church in Missouri.
Bounds was a chaplain in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was captured by the Union Army in Franklin, Tennessee and later released. After his release, he strove to build up the spiritual state of Franklin by starting weekly prayer sessions.
Bounds was an associate editor of the official Methodist newspaper, The Christian Advocate, and is best known for his numerous books on the subject of prayer.
"Edward McKendree Bounds did not merely pray well that he might write well about prayer. He prayed because the needs of the world were upon him. He prayed, for long years, upon subjects which the easy-going Christian rarely gives a thought, and for objects which men of less thought and faith are always ready to call impossible. From his solitary prayer-vigils, year by year, there arose teaching equaled by few men in modern Christian history. He wrote transcendently about prayer, because he was himself, transcendent in its practice. As breathing is a physical reality to us so prayer was a reality for Bounds. He took the command, 'Pray without ceasing' almost as literally as animate nature takes the law of the reflex nervous system, which controls our breathing." -Claude Chilton, Jr., in the Foreword to Necessity of Prayer
A sample of Bounds’ work:
The character of the inner life is a condition of effectual praying. As is the life, so will the praying be. An inconsistent life obstructs praying and neutralizes what little praying we may do. Always, it is “the prayer of the righteous man which availeth much.” Indeed, one may go further and assert that it is only the prayer of the righteous which avails anything at all—at any time. To have an eye to God’s glory; to be possessed by an earnest desire to please Him in all our ways; to possess hands busy in Hi service; to have feet swift to run in the way of His commandments — these give weight and influence and power to prayer, and secure an audience with God. The incubus of our lives often breaks the force of our praying, and, not infrequently, are as doors of brass in the face of prayer.
Praying must come out of a cleansed heart and be presented and urged with the “lifting up of holy hands.” It must be fortified by a life aiming, unceasingly, to obey God, to attain conformity to the Divine law, and to come into submission to the Divine will. Let it not be forgotten, that, while life is a condition of prayer, prayer is also the condition of righteous living. Prayer promotes righteous living, and is the one great aid to uprightness of heart and life. The fruit of real praying is right living. Praying sets him who prays to the great business of “working out his salvation with fear and trembling;” puts him to watching his temper, conversation and conduct; causes him to “walk circumspectly, redeeming the time;” enables him to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith he is called, with all lowliness and meekness;” give him a high incentive to pursue his pilgrimage consistently by “shunning every evil way, and walking in the good.”
(adapted from http://www.rebnora.com/blog/2007/01/em_bounds.html)
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