Edward M. Bounds
American Methodist minister and author
Edward McKendree Bounds (August 15, 1835 – August 24, 1913) was a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and author of eleven books, nine of which focused on the subject of prayer.
Shelby County, Missouri
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 .
Works by Edward M. Bounds
Edward Bounds, an American lawyer and pastor, wrote nine books in his lifetime, seven of which were about prayer. Known as a veritable powerhouse of spiritual maturity, Bounds has affected the prayer lives of thousands of people. This volume, Essentials of Prayer, focuses on the proper mindset believers must attain in order to have the best prayer life. He reminds readers that one must have a humble heart and undivided allegiance to God in order to pray effectively. He also believes strongly that prayer is available to all people -- even those who only come in times of trouble. His advice is intended for both personal and corporate prayer, and is a great help for serious meditation.
In The Necessity of Prayer, Edward Bounds, a 20th century pastor and lawyer, suggests that prayer is an essential part of the Christian believer's life. He writes, "the Christian soldier, if he fight to win, must pray much." Bounds' book, however, is not simply a list of prayers for one to work through, but also a discourse on the very nature of prayer. He connects the nature of prayer to other features of the Christian life, such as faith, reverence, patience, hope, character, conduct, and faithfulness. Bounds' passion for prayer--which compelled him to write nine books on the topic--shines through in this work, and cannot but help motivate those who read it to also see the necessity of prayer. Perfect for individual study, Bounds' book is sure to change the way one prays.
The caricature of lawyers as money grubbing, selfish narcissists is often derided in popular culture. But Jesus did not come for the righteous, but for the sinner. He has used men trained in the law, such as Calvin and Luther, throughout the history of his church to edify the people of God. Edward M. Bounds is one of these men. Trained as a lawyer, but called to ministry, Bounds served as an Army chaplain during the Civil War. As far as prayer is concerned, Bounds practiced what he preached. His personal prayer regimen called him to prayer for three hours every morning. Bounds did not consider his time in prayer as idle time, but a time that was effective in changing the world through the power and grace of God. Read Bounds' Power Through Prayer to enrich your understanding of God's work in the world.
Prayer and Praying Men has a unique approach as a book on prayer. Many books on prayer focus mostly on simply features of prayer. Edward Bounds takes a different approach in Prayer and Praying Men by focusing on persons of prayer. Bounds examines the lives of nine different biblical figures: Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Hezekiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Samuel, Daniel, and Paul. In his examination, Bounds explores how important prayer was to the spiritual lives of these men. He provides concrete examples of the importance and nature of prayer, grounded in biblical narratives. Prayer and Praying Men is thus recommended for those who crave a book on prayer which is not abstract or airy, but direct and concrete.
Purpose in Prayer is another treasure from Edward Bounds on prayer. Bounds, an admired spiritual guide, describes the purpose behind prayer and not simply the purpose of prayer. He focuses on an individual's purpose in prayer; for one can understand the purpose of prayer, but not see the purpose in one's own prayers. Thus, Bounds attempts to encourage believers to not simply see the purpose of prayer, but to see that purpose in their own personal, private prayers. Throughout, Bounds frequently quotes other Christian thinkers, adding support and insight into his points about prayer. Composed of twelve short chapters, Purpose in Prayer is a rewarding book on prayer.
Some people believe that prayer is simply a human invention, with no true substance. Not so, argues Edward Bounds in his powerful book The Reality of Prayer. There is a spiritual reality to prayer, he urges. Prayer brings us closer to God--both through God's answering of our prayers, and through our own character being changed by prayer. Bounds reinforces these points in the second half of his book, where he discusses Christ as both a teacher of prayer and as an example of prayer. Finally, Bounds ends his encouraging and enlightening discussion by explaining the role of the Holy Spirit in prayer. This interesting treatise attests to the true reality and power of prayer--another classic from Edward Bounds.
Why Pray? In his book, The Weapon of Prayer, Edward Bounds states: "The life of the individual believer, his personal salvation, and personal Christian graces have their being, bloom, and fruitage in prayer." As a chaplain in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War, Bounds initiated weekly prayer sessions to strengthen the spiritual state of his local area. His wisdom has impacted Christ-seekers for decades, and his words are as powerful now as they were in the 1800's. Bounds reminds us that throughout Biblical history, many of God's greatest movements were incited by the prayers of God's people. According to Bounds, prayer must be a priority. Other Christian duties, such as sacred works, communion, and church activities, cannot and should not take the place of prayer. To eliminate prayer from our daily lives is to abandon communication with God. It is through prayer that we have the opportunity to share our deepest sorrows, joys, and desires with the only one who can truly comfort us. To remind readers that God's presence steadfastly endures, Bounds concludes his piece by providing modern examples of the power of prayer.
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