Praying with Persistence: Lessons from the Blue Room
of a series of reflections from the book, Rees Howells: Intercessor, by Norman Grubb. Written by Emma, in collaboration with Faithworks Bookstore (Original article: https://faithworks.com.sg/blogs/bible-college-of-wales/praying-with-persistence-lessons-from-the-blue-room)
One afternoon at the Bible College of Wales, I sat in the Blue Room, the "war room” of the estate, and had a chat with an old student from the days of Mr. Samuel Howells. "How was prayer at the College like?” I asked out of curiosity. She went on to tell me about the culture of prayer they had when she was a student. "Each time the Lord laid a burden upon his heart (Mr. Samuel Howells) for a national situation or for missionaries, we would be gathered to pray till the burden lifted. Everybody would be on their knees, sometimes for hours!” she recalled. This could happen at different times of the day and had been the practice since the days of Mr. Rees Howells.
Seasons of prayer and fasting were called for at the College, and the company of staff and students would stand in the gap faithfully for God’s intervention over wars and world events which would hinder the fulfilment of the vision that God had given Mr. Rees Howells - to see the gospel preached to every tribe and tongue.
What was it about Mr. Howells and his legacy that gave these prayer warriors authority to ask the Lord to “bend Hitler”, intervene at Dunkirk, and rescue the men who went to battle?
Matthew 17:20-21 tells us, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
I learned that being willing to pay the price of identification was what gave weight to their prayers. They did not just ask, but they took those burdens upon themselves. The College identified with the suffering of missionaries in Ethiopia when they fasted for them to be free from Mussolini’s rule. Mr. Howells was willing to live like a tramp and walk the shoes of the Tubercular woman that he interceded for. This meant taking her place so she could be healed! And in all my years as a Christian, I have never heard of anyone pray for healing so selflessly.
Can you imagine that at one point, Mr. Howells was willing to sell all his three estates (Glynderwen, Derwen Fawr and Sketty Isaf) to give the Jews the 100,000 pounds they were praying for? The willingness to be the answer to the prayers also made all the difference in the praying! He was willing to give up everything God had provided for earlier through prayer. He was ready to go to Africa when he asked for a need to be filled. No negotiations, just a "yes” to God which showed that he meant everything he prayed from his heart. His sincerity certainly won me over and is commendable indeed.
One other thing that struck me about Mr. Howells and the intercessors that stood with him was the persistence to press in for the victory! We often get restless when we don’t see quick results from our prayers, but setbacks did not stop them in their tracks. They kept praying to see what they believed come to pass. The death of the Tubercular Woman taught Mr. Howells that it was in first "dying” that something could "live”. His first case of healing laid on the altar could then allow God to use him to minister healing to others!
BCW Summer '60 Graduates (top row extreme left is Reinhard Bonnke)
What was an apparent failure would only be a stepping stone to greater victory. And he continued to teach the College never to lose faith, even when they did not have the answers they sought just yet. With tenacity, they went on to intercede and gain victory over other world issues, including Communism, and the formation of the state of Israel.
Perhaps you are contending for a breakthrough in your own life or for your loved ones. Or perhaps God has given you a prayer assignment for a national or global situation and you are carrying his burdens on your knees. In the face of discouragement, let’s remind ourselves to keep persisting and being faithful to ask, seek, knock till the door is opened. (Matthew 17:20)
Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18