Meet E. M. Bounds

E.M. (Edward McKendree) Bounds was born in Shelby County, Missouri, in 1835. His father was a prosperous businessman, and Bounds grew up in a family of five brothers and sisters. He was 14 when his father died of tuberculosis, leaving the family financially sound but emotionally lost. He and his older brother Charles decided to travel West, to the gold fields of California. The brothers worked hard, but had little to show for their efforts. Four years later they returned home, and Bounds decided to become a lawyer. Progressing rapidly in his studies, he was licensed as the stateís youngest lawyer at the age of 19.

In the late 1850s, the Great Spiritual Awakening moved from the east coast into the heart of the country, and city after city received testimony of Godís convicting power. E.M. Bounds gave up his law practice to study for the ministry. In 1860, he was accepted as a pastor in the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

On April 12, 1861, shots were fired at Fort Sumter, and the state of Missouri was thrown into a state of confusion. In September 1862, Missouri was placed under Union martial law, and individuals affiliated with organizations with names that included the word "south" were banished behind the combat lines of the Confederacy. Arrested and exiled from Missouri for the duration of the war, E.M. Bounds joined the Confederate Army as a chaplain in February 1863. He courageously ministered to the dying, wounded, and frightened on the front lines and in defining battles such as Vicksburg, Atlanta, and Franklin, Tennessee. He preached revival and restoration to the civilian population, also devastated by the war.

When the war was over, E.M. Bounds returned to the pastorate, serving churches in Tennessee, Alabama, and Missouri, and in 1883 began work as associate editor of the St. Louis Christian Advocate. In 1888 he was called as the associate editor of the Nashville Christian Advocate, the official paper of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. He wrote vehemently to stem the growing tide of liberalism and compromise within his denomination. In 1894, at the age of 59, in sadness and frustration, he resigned his position and moved his family to live with his father-in-law in Washington, Georgia. He spent the last 17 years of his life writing devotional works such as Power Through Prayer, The Essentials of Prayer, The Necessity of Prayer, The Preacher and Prayer, and The Possibilities of Prayer. He died in 1913 at the age of 78.

To E.M. Bounds, prayer was as necessary to the Christianís life as physical breath. Prayer held him through the joys and sorrows of his own life, and no one has written more convincingly or extensively on the subject. His words are "unfailing wells for a lifetime of spiritual water-drawing." (The Necessity of Prayer)

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