Here is a testimony from A.W. Tozer about D.L. Moody: Years ago on the Southside of the city of Chicago, there was a little home. In the home lived an elderly woman full of the Holy Ghost named Mother Cook. A young fellow was converted in the city and he would have made a good salesman. He was very busy. He loved to run in circles. He went everywhere running in circles. His name was Dwight Lyman Moody. One day Mother Cook saw Dwight and said,
Son, I would like you to come over to my house sometime. I want to talk to you.”Moody went over to her house. She sat him down on a chair and said, “Now, Dwight. It is wonderful to see you saved so beautifully. It is wonderful to see you so zealous. But do you know what you need? You need to be anointed with the Holy Ghost.
“Well,” Moody said. I want everything God has for me.”
“All right,” she said, “get down here.” He got down on the linoleum and they prayed awhile. She prayed, “Oh, God, fill this young fellow.” Moody died out there, opened his heart, brought his empty vessel to the Lord and took the promise by faith, but nothing happened. A few days later, he was in Philadelphia. He said, “As I was walking down the street suddenly God fulfilled the promise He had made to me in that kitchen.” And down on him came a horn of oil and the Holy Ghost came on him.
He said he crawled an alley and raised his hand and prayed, “Oh God, stay your power or I’ll die.” Then he said, I went out from there preaching the same sermons with the same texts but oh, the difference now.” The Holy Ghost had come. Now, the Holy Ghost had been there. He had caused moody to be born again just like all of us. “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His.” It is one thing to have the Spirit as my Regenerator and quite a different thing to have the horn of oil poured out on my head.
D.L. Moody himself says that “I believe firmly, that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and self-seeking, and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Ghost will come and fill every corner of our hearts; but if we are full of pride and conceit, and ambition and self seeking, and pleasure and the world there is no room for the Spirit of God; and I believe there a young man that is praying to God to fill him when he is full already with something else.
Before we pray that God would fill us, I believe we ought to pray Him to empty us. There must be an emptying before there can be a filling; and when the heart is turned upside down, and everything is turned out that is contrary to God, then the Spirit will come, just as He did in the tabernacle, and fill us with His glory. We read in 2 Chronicles 5:13 that:
And when the trumpeters and singers were joined in unison, making one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and other instruments for song and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever, then the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud,So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
I don’t believe that man broke down at first with hard work, so much as with machinery without oil, without lubrication. It is not the hard work that breaks down ministers, but it is the toil of working without power. Oh that God may anoint His people! Not only those in the ministry but every disciple. Do not suppose pastors are the only laborers needing it.
There is not a mother that doesn’t need it in her house to regulate her family, just as much as the minister needs it in the pulpit or the Sunday-school teacher needs it in his Sunday-school. “We all need it together, and let us not rest day or night until we possess it; if that is the uppermost thought in our hearts, God will give it to us if we just hunger and thirst for it, and say, “God helping me, I will not rest until endued with power from on high.
A story is told that:
When D.L. Moody’s church in Chicago lay in ashes, he went over to England, in 1872, not to preach, but to listen to others preach while his new church was being built. One Sunday morning he was prevailed upon to preach in a London pulpit. But somehow the spiritual atmosphere was lacking. He confessed afterward that he never had such a hard time preaching in his life. Everything was perfectly dead, and, as he vainly tried to preach, he said to himself, “What a fool I was to consent to preach! I came here to listen, and here I am preaching.” Then the awful thought came to him that he had to preach again at night, and only the fact that he had given the promise to do so kept him faithful to the engagement.
But when Mr. Moody entered the pulpit at night, and faced the crowded congregation, he was conscious of a new atmosphere.” The powers of unseen world seemed to have fallen upon the audience.”As he drew toward the close of his sermon he became emboldened to give out an invitation, and as he concluded he said, “if there is a man or woman here who will tonight accept Jesus Christ, please stand up.”
At once some 500 people rose to their feet. Thinking that there must be some mistake, he asked the people to be seated, and then, in order that there might be no possible misunderstanding, he repeated the invitation, couching it even I more definite and difficult terms.
Again the same number rose. Still thinking that something must be wrong, Mr. Moody, for the second time, asked the standing men and women to be seated, and then he invited all who really meant to accept Christ to pass into the vestry.
Fully 500 people did as requested, and that was the beginning of a revival in that church and neighborhood, which brought Mr. Moody back from Dublin, a few days later, that he might assist the wonderful work of God. The sequel however, must be given, or our purpose in relating the incident will be defeated. When Mr. Moody preached at the morning service there was a woman in the congregation who had an invalid sister.
On her return home she told the invalid that the preacher had been Mr. Moody from Chicago, and on hearing this she turned pale.”What,” she said, “Mr. Moody from Chicago! I read about him some time ago in an American paper, and I have been praying God to send him to London, and to our church. If I had known he was going to preach this morning I would have eaten no breakfast. I would have spent the whole time in prayer. Now, sister, go out of the room, lock the door, send me no dinner, no matter who comes, don’t let them see me. I am going to spend the whole afternoon and evening in prayer.”
And so while Mr. Moody stood in the pulpit that had been like an ice-chamber in the morning, the bedridden saint was holding him up before God, and God, Who ever delights to answer prayer, poured out His Spirit in mighty power. The God of revivals, who answered the prayer of his child for Mr. Moody, is willing to hear and to answer the faithful, believing prayers of His people. Wherever God’s conditions are met, then the revival is sure to fall. Again the promise is:
If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.(2 Chronicles 7:14)
- A.W. Tozer, Edited by Re. James L. Snyder, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit (Bridge-Logos Foundation 2001)
- D.L.Moody, Secret Power; or, The Secret of Success in Christian Life and Christian work.
- Edward M. Bounds, Purpose in Prayer –Prayer Undergirds Revivals (Fleming H. Revell Company 1920).