The evangelist Moody once made a New Year’s resolution that he would not let a single day pass in the course of the year where he did not speak with at least one person about his or her soul’s well-being. Before going to bed, he wanted to pray for the soul with whom he had spoken.
One day, it was cold and rainy, and the streets were icy. Moody decided to stay in his room that day to take care of his mail, study and pray. Before going to bed, as he started to pray, he realized that he had not spoken with someone about what really matters. He thought about his New Year’s resolution, got dressed and went out into the street to find someone that he could witness to.
It was late and slippery, and he saw no one. He walked to the next intersection and looked in every direction but found no one. Then he continued on to the next street. And there he saw a man. He approached the man as quickly as he could and to his dismay, he discovered he was drunk.
Still, he asked him a question about the well-being of his soul and received the answer: “That doesn’t concern you!” Moody replied: “Yes it does concern me.” Then, the man asked who he was, and Moody presented him with his card. A few days later, that man came to Moody and repented of his sins.
We would do well to make a similar resolution. But we must truly understand the worth of a soul and its need for salvation. Jesus said: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
While the blind singer, Fanny Crosby, was preaching at a city mission in New York one evening, she suddenly felt led to say: “If there is a homeless or motherless young person in this congregation who would like to receive some motherly love, then I say to you: come to me, that I may give you a hug!”
Then a young man came forward. She hugged him and said: “My son, remember that I will pray for you daily and will hold you in warm regards.” He answered: “This is the first time that anyone has ever shown motherly love towards me.” His soul was saved, and this experience led Fanny Crosby to write the following song:
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.
Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
We must have a burden for lost souls. Paul said: “For the love of Christ compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).
A devout woman, who was used by the Lord to reach many lost souls, came to a place to hold revival services. However, everything was so cold and dead, that it seemed to her that nothing could be accomplished there.
Then she announced that she would come to the church the next day at 3 pm to pray for lost souls. She requested that anyone who has an interest in souls should join her in prayer.
Nobody came except a small girl. “Why did you come, Marie?” the sister asked. “I came to pray for my grandfather. You said that anyone who dies in sins will be lost. And my grandpa lives in sin and does not know the Lord,” was her simple response. They knelt together and prayed.
Afterwards Marie went home and told her grandfather what she had done. He argued: “That was useless. I don’t believe any of that stuff.”
The next day they had another prayer meeting. But again, no one came except Marie. She reported what her grandfather had said. The sister replied: “Don’t let it discourage you. It will help, for Jesus says: ‘Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them’ (Mark 11:24).”
The child returned home and told her grandfather, that it would make a difference since the Bible said so. But he remained adamant that it would be useless.
On the third day, they prayed once again. God’s Spirit caused the old man to become so unsettled as he was driving in his car that he stopped, got out of the vehicle and fell on his knees and cried out to God for mercy. He received forgiveness for his sins, came to the service that evening and shared a testimony about what God had done for him. All were impacted by this and a great revival broke out.
One of the greatest needs of our time is the need for a genuine burden for souls and more love for lost souls. A preacher once said: “The greatest problem we should be concerned with is how we can lead more souls to God. How long will it take before we win the world for God, if more is not done than was done in the past? Only when we begin to properly sense this burden will souls be led to God. Let us pray that God will give us this burden!