Great Quotes from E.M. Bounds

The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer is largely considered a classic in many Christian circles. I have been slowly making my way through his complete works on prayer, and I found his writings both refreshing and convicting. Here are some great quotes drawn from The Necessity of Prayer. I hope they bless you in some way!


  • As every day demands its bread, so everyday demands its prayer. No amount of praying, done today, will suffice for tomorrow’s praying.
  • It is not the intellectually great that the church needs; nor is it men of wealth that the times demands. It is not people of great social influence that this day requires. Above everybody and everything else, it is the men of faith, men of mighty prayer, men and women after the fashion of the saints and heroes enumerated in Hebrews, who “obtained a good report through faith,” that the church and the whole wide world of humanity needs.
  • It is claimed of Augustus Caesar that he found Rome a city of wood, and left it a city of marble. The pastor who succeeds in changing his people from a prayerless to a prayerful people, has done a greater work than did Augustus Caesar in changing a city from wood to marble.
  • The preacher is not sent to merely induce men to join the church, nor merely to get them to do better. It is to get them to pray, to trust God, and to keep God ever before their eyes, that they may not sin against him.
  • To be much on our knees in private communion with God is the only surety that we shall have him with us either in our personal struggles, or in our efforts to convert sinners.
  • A righteous church with a righteous purpose makes righteous men. Prayer produces cleanliness of heart and purity of life. It can produce nothing else. Unrighteous conduct is born of prayerlessness; the two go hand-in-hand.
  • Prayer and sinning cannot keep company with each other. One or the other must of necessity stop. Get men to pray, and they will quit sinning, because prayer creates a distaste for sinning, and so works upon the heart, that evildoing becomes repugnant, and the entire nature is lifted to a reverent contemplation of high and holy things.
  • Our inner life not only gives color to our praying, but body, as well. Bad living means bad praying and, in the end, no praying at all. We pray feebly because we live feebly. The stream of prayer cannot rise higher than the fountain of living.
  • Tears should baptize our place of supplication. He who has never wept concerning his sins, has never really prayed over his sins. Tears, sometimes, is a penitent’s only plea.
  • To excuse sinning by the plea that obedience to God is not possible to unregenerate men is to discount the character of the new birth and to place men where effective praying is not possible.
  • Disobedient living produces mighty poor praying. Disobedience shuts the door of the inner chamber, and bars the way to the Holy of Holies. No man can pray—really pray—who does not obey.
  • The life to which Holy Scriptures calls men is no picnic, or holiday junketing. It is no pastime, no pleasure jaunt. From start to finish, it is war. From the hour in which he first draws the sword, to that in which he doffs his harness, the Christian warrior is compelled to “endure hardness like a good soldier.”
  • The cause of God, his saints, their woes and trials, their duties and crosses, all should find a voice and a pleader in the Christian soldier, when he prays. He dare not limit his praying to himself. Nothing dries up spiritual secretions so certainly and completely; nothing poisons the fountain of spiritual life so effectively; nothing acts in such a deadly fashion, as selfish praying.
  • The entire life of a Christian soldier—its being, intention, implication, and action—are all dependent on its being a life of prayer. Without prayer—no matter what else he has—the Christian soldier’s battle will be feeble, and ineffective, and constitute him as an easy prey for his spiritual enemies.
  • No two things are more essential to a spirit-filled life than Bible-reading and secret prayer; no two things more helpful to growth in grace; to getting the largest joy out of a Christian life; toward establishing one in the ways of eternal peace.
  • Without prayer, a church is like a body without spirit; it is a dead, inanimate thing. A church with prayer in it, has God in it. When prayer is set aside, God is outlawed. When prayer becomes an unfamiliar exercise, then God himself is a stranger there.
  • Any church calling itself the house of God, and failing to magnify prayer; which does not put prayer in the forefront of its activities; which does not teach the great lesson of prayer, should change its teaching to conform to the divine pattern or change the name of its building to something other than a house of prayer.
  • No one having any knowledge of the existing facts, will deny the comparative lack of expository preaching in the pulpit effort of today. Topical preaching, polemical preaching, historical preaching, and other forms of sermonic output have, one supposes, their rightful and opportune uses. But expository preaching—the prayerful expounding of the Word of God is preaching that is preaching—pulpit effort par excellence.
  • A preacher needs must be a man of prayer. For every hour spent in his study-chair, he will have to spend two upon his knees. For every hour he devotes to wrestling with an obscure passage of Scripture, he must have two in which to be found wrestling with God. Prayer and preaching: preaching and prayer! They cannot be separated. The ancient cry was: “To your tents, O Israel!” The modern cry should be: “To your knees, O preachers, to your knees!”

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