Someone once asked Wigglesworth if he regularly spent long seasons in prayer. He answered, “I don’t very often spend more than a half hour in prayer at one time, but I never go more than a half hour without praying.” Prayer was his life. It was what he liked best of all. It was one of the secrets of his power.
On another occasion, Wigglesworth boarded a train at Bradford to travel to London. He selected a corner seat. Eventually, five more people joined him in the compartment. As was his custom, he took out his Testament and began to read and pray silently. He never spoke a word to his fellow travelers. About thirty miles away from London, he went to the rest room. As he was making his way back to the compartment, the man who had been sitting next to him said, “I don’t know what it was, but when I sat next to you, a terrible fear gripped me. I was afraid I was going to die. What was it?” Wigglesworth said, “Come back into the compartment.” All the others there said they had experienced the same feeling. Wigglesworth explained to them about conviction and the way of salvation. They all knelt on the floor of the compartment and accepted the Lord.
Smith Wigglesworth had learned the secret of the power of God’s Word. He said, “I understand God by His Word. I cannot understand God by impressions or feelings. I cannot get to know God by sentiment. I can only know Him by His Word.”
Discipline and spontaneity. We need both in reading the Bible. Discipline to move steadily through books of the Bible. Spontaneity to go to a part of the Bible that we sense will meet a particular need. Both can be powerful with encouragement for faith.
Only 50% of clergy from declining churches agreed it was “very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians”, compared to 100% of clergy from growing churches.
71% of clergy from growing churches read the Bible daily compared with 19% from declining churches.
46% of people attending growing churches read the Bible once a week compared with 26% from declining churches.
93% of clergy and 83% of worshippers from growing churches agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb”. This compared with 67% of worshippers and 56% of clergy from declining churches.
100% of clergy and 90% of worshippers agreed that “God performs miracles in answer to prayers”, compared with 80% of worshippers and 44% of clergy from declining churches.
We have all known those who content themselves with a profession of Christ and a smattering of gifts and works, and who do not wish to know if there is more to the Christian life. They are the ones whose graces freeze when winter winds buffet their souls. But the saint whose faith has been insulated from error by the truth of the gospel will be able to withstand all Satan’s icy blasts.