Jared Brock is the co-founder of Hope for the Sold, an abolitionist charity that fights human trafficking one word at a time. His is the author of A Year of Living Prayerfully, and he is happily married to his best friend, Michelle. Jared’s writing has appeared in Huffington Post, Converge, Esquire, and Relevant Magazine, and he writes regularly at JaredBrock.com.
Today, I want to give you an excerpt from Jared’s new book A Year of Living Prayerfully. Enjoy.
Lessons Learned Inside John Wesley’s Prayer Closet
by Jared Brock
I was in the middle of a 37,000-mile prayer pilgrimage around the world. I’d met the Pope, lived with monks, walked on coals, danced with rabbis, and now I was headed to John Wesley’s house.
Wesley was one of nineteen children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley. Standing just five feet four inches tall, Wesley was a man God used to fight the slave trade, grow the First Great Awakening, and spark Pentecostalism and the Holiness movement.
As the co-founder of a charity that fights human trafficking, my level of respect for Wesley is already quite high, but Wesley was especially known for prayer—the famous evangelist spent two hours in prayer each day, mostly in a small alcove off his bedroom.
I had to pop in for a visit.
Wesley kept up his daily regimen by going to bed at nine o’clock and waking at four o’clock, insisting that everyone in his household do the same. He would begin his day by studying the Scriptures and praying.
The room that would later become known as the “Power House of Methodism” is about the size of a modern walk-in closet, perhaps six by seven feet, with hardwood floors and a large window to let in plenty of light.
When we entered Wesley’s study, I noticed a very odd, spring-mounted bouncy chair. “This was Wesley’s workout chair,” the guide said. “For doing assisted squats.”
“Ah, I see,” I said. “It would seem that Wesley liked to keep a firm backside.”
The guide laughed. “Wesley rode a great distance on horseback,” he explained. “He used the chair to stay in shape during the winter months.”
It seems like an odd exercise, but Wesley stayed in shape for the task at hand.
The army doesn’t let its soldiers get lazy. Teachers and doctors continually upgrade their skills. Athletes don’t take “off-season” off. They’re always training, always preparing, always staying in shape. As followers of Jesus, we need to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)
I knelt on the stool at Wesley’s and prayed the Lord’s Prayer, asking God to use our generation the way He used Wesley and the early Methodists. There are literally tens of millions of people who are part of the family of God because of the non-stop work of Wesley and his fellow ministers. They traveled great distances – at huge personal risk and sacrifice – to tell a world in need about their Savior’s love.
I believe that the same spirit of conviction could rest on our generation too, and I’m convinced it will be discovered in our quiet times with God.
As E. M. Bounds writes, “Prayer is not learned in a classroom but in the closet.” If we’ll commit to simplicity and sacrifice for the sake of the Savior, if we’ll get down on our knees and do the hard work in prayer, I am quite sure that revival will sweep the globe as it did in Wesley’s day.
For the world is our parish, too.