Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission, says that about 1830 his father became so interested in the spiritual condition of China, that he was led to pray that if God ever gave him a son, he might be privileged to labor as a missionary there; a prayer unknown to the son until after seven years of service in that mission field. Though carefully trained to the study of God’s word and a life of devotion, yet at the age of fifteen the lad was a skeptic.
Of his conversion he says: “One day, which I shall never forget, when I was about fifteen years old, my dear mother being absent from home some eighty miles away, I had a holiday. I searched through the library for a book to while away time. I selected a gospel tract which looked unattractive, saying, there will be an interesting story at the commencement, and a sermon or moral at the end; I will take the former, and leave the latter for those who like it.
I little knew what was going on in the heart of my dear mother. She arose from the dinner-table with an intense yearning for the conversion of her boy, and feeling that, being from home, and having more leisure than she otherwise would, there was a special opportunity afforded her of pleading with God for me.
She went to her bedroom, and turned the key in the door, and resolved not to leave the room until her prayers were answered. Hour after hour did that dear mother plead for me, until she could only praise God for the conversion of her son.
In the meantime, as I was reading the tract, ‘The Finished Work of Christ,’ a light was flashed into my soul by the Holy Spirit, that there was nothing to be done, but to fall ‘on my knees and accept this Savior and his salvation, and praise God forevermore.
While my mother was praising God in her closet, I was praising Him in the old warehouse where I had retired to read my book. When I met mother the door on her return with the glad news, she said: "I know, my boy; I have been rejoicing for a fortnight in the glad tidings you have to tell me!”
Many souls are lost for want of persistent pleading with God in their behalf. Time that might be used in prayer is consumed in other ways, and souls and opportunities pass forever from our reach.
For those hours of pleading with God, this faithful mother received not only her son for God, but the great work God put into his hands-China Inland Mission. Hudson Taylor has led out into the heart of China more than one hundred and seventy apostolic missionaries, none of whom receive support except through faith in God.
- Anna Abrams, in Vanguard
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893