Mr. D. L. Moody and others, who were on the disabled steamer Spree, believe that the vessel was providentially saved in answer to prayer. In the midst of a severe storm, on November 27, 1892, the main shaft broke, and plunged through the bottom of the ship. The water-logged vessel rolled fearfully, and the decks were washed by the waves. The passengers became greatly alarmed, the indications being that the vessel would sink before help could reach it.
On Sunday, at Mr. Moody’s suggestion, a prayer-service was organized. Every person on board attended, except the officers and crew, who could not leave their posts.
Gen. O.O. Howard, who was one of the passengers, says: “It was the most impressive religious gathering any of us ever attended. Jews, Catholics, and all others forgot differences in creeds and denominations. There was no room for them in such an hour. Mr. Moody read the ninety-first and one hundred and seventh Psalms, which one of the Germans translated verse by verse for his countrymen. Mr. Moody offered a most fervent prayer, and made a short address. God heard us and answered us.
I went to my stateroom to rest after the meeting, and I was asleep when some one touched me. I awoke to find a sweet, fond little German girl, the daughter of one of the passengers, by my cot. She could not understand a word of English, but my daughter had drilled her to speak four English words, which was the message she brought me, "The steamer is coming," and then she added her German "hallelujah.""
Mr. Moody says of the rescue: “There never was a more earnest prayer to God than that of those seven hundred souls on that helpless, almost sinking ship in mid-ocean, Sunday evening, November 27th, when we met in the saloon to implore God’s help; and God answered us, as I knew He would. He sent us a rescuing ship, and He calmed the sea so that for a week it was as smooth as it is in this harbor, though there were storms all around us. It was the grandest test of prayer I ever knew.
My son was with me. He is a student in Yale College, and the learned professors there have instilled in him some doubts about God’s direct interference in answer to prayer. After we had prayed that Sunday night, I had reached a point where I cared not whether it was God’s will that we should go up or down. I determined to go to rest as though we were sailing safely on our way. My boy couldn’t rest. We were fast drifting out of the track of vessels, and our peril was extreme.
About 2:15 o’clock he came and woke me, telling me to come on deck. There he pointed out an occasional glimpse of a tiny light that showed over the waves as our ship rolled heavily from side to side. "It is our star of Bethlehem," he cried, "and our prayers are answered." Before daylight the Huron, whose masthead light it was, had reached us, and the waves were stilled and the winds were hushed by Divine command, while we were drawn out of the direst peril to this safe haven.
The Spree arrived at Queenstown December 2, with her stern thirty feet in the water, notwithstanding her pumps had been steadily worked from the moment of the disaster.
- Northwestern Christian Advocate
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893