Edward McKendree Bounds was trained and apprenticed as an attorney, but instead of pursuing a legal career, he entered the ministry in his early twenties. In 1859 he was ordained as pastor of the the Monticello Methodist Church in Missouri.
Bounds was a chaplain in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was captured by the Union Army in Franklin, Tennessee and later released. After his release, he strove to build up the spiritual state of Franklin by starting weekly prayer sessions.
Bounds was an associate editor of the official Methodist newspaper, The Christian Advocate, and is best known for his numerous books on the subject of prayer.
“Edward McKendree Bounds did not merely pray well that he might write well about prayer. He prayed because the needs of the world were upon him. He prayed, for long years, upon subjects which the easy-going Christian rarely gives a thought, and for objects which men of less thought and faith are always ready to call impossible. From his solitary prayer-vigils, year by year, there arose teaching equaled by few men in modern Christian history. He wrote transcendently about prayer, because he was himself, transcendent in its practice.
“As breathing is a physical reality to us so prayer was a reality for Bounds. He took the command, ‘Pray without ceasing’ almost as literally as animate nature takes the law of the reflex nervous system, which controls our breathing.” -Claude Chilton, Jr., in the Foreword to Necessity of Prayer .
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