Within two blocks of the Pacific Mission, in Chicago, is one of our large depots, the Rock Island and Lake Shore. Here is a good field for labor.
One night, when inviting one and another to the mission, a lady answered: “We are or our way to Oberlin.”
“The place,” I asked, “where Charles Finney lived?” “Yes.” “And did you know him?”
“Yes,” she answered, “and my husband, who is here, was a member of his church.”
Soon he joined us, much crippled and out of health; at first but little inclined to talk. I told him how precious the memory of Mr. Finney was, and asked if he could tell us any personal reminiscences of him. Soon the fire began to burn in his heart, and his lips began to speak. He said:
“We had been long without rain. All vegetation was drying up; everything looked parched. In the prayer preceding the sermon, on Sabbath, Mr. Finney began to pour out his full heart to God for rain. He laid the whole case before Him. ‘Lord, the cattle in the fields are lowing for water; there will be no food for them for winter, unless thou sendest rain. The harvest will fail - no food for man-unless Thou sendest rain. The little squirrels in the woods are panting for rain.”
On and on the petitions rose, faith rising as he prayed, until he felt they had entered into the ear of the Lord of Sabbath, and, that ‘as a prince, he had power with God, and prevailed.’ His closing words were: “Lord; we want rain, and we want it now!”
The service proceeded, the text was chosen, and for about half an hour Mr. Finney preached. When the rain began to dash against the windows, he stopped, and gave out the hymn:
“When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view,
I’m lost in wonder, love, and praise”
“The whole congregation rose to their feet, and don’t think, in that assembly of three thousand people was one dry eye. I never can tell it,” said the stranger: “but it melts me right up.” Yea, we were all melted, while “heaven came souls to greet, and glory crowned the Mercy seat.”
“God, who lived in Elijah’s time,
Is just the same today.”
Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are and he prayed earnestly “when the sins of the people were hurrying them on to destruction” that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for the space of three years. “And again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain.” Are not all these scriptures given to encourage and strengthen the faith of God’s people in all ages? Yea, verily!
Two sisters had left the Taylorville, Ill., campground on their way to visit a sick woman. The earth had become as dust; all nature was parched and drying up under the hot beams of the sun. It was Saturday; and looking forward to the Sabbath, bringing its multitudes from all the surrounding country, they thought of the suffering and discomfort there would be. The elder of the two asked: “Is not God the same today as in the days of Elijah?" The dry bed of a spring seemed a good place for prayer, and there they knelt together. Soon their united faith took hold, and the assurance was given that their prayers were heard, and their petitions should be granted.
Rev. L. B. Kent, of Jacksonville, the leader of the meeting, proposed at the close of the afternoon service, that a meeting should be held for prayer for rain. “And shall I hide what the Lord has already promised?” was the query whispered by the Spirit. “No;” and rising to her feet, one of the sisters told how the Lord had promised the rain.
Night came. The moon, in her glorious brightness, shone forth, and there was no indication in the heavens of rain. Hour after hour passed, while every now and then, as faith held on for the promised blessing, the assuring words of Jesus would come: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Three o’clock came, and the rain began to fall, and the hallelujahs and praises to God went up from many a waiting heart. It fell copiously until seven o’clock when clouds dispersed, and the people gathered and the work of God moved on blessedly.
- Sarah A. Cooke
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893
When All Thy Mercies, O My God Hymn