“I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications” (Psalm 116:1).
Rosalind Goforth (1864-1942), who helped to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to China, recounted personal lessons in the life of faith in How I Know God Answers Prayer. She made a public confession of Christ as her Saviour at the age of eleven. Below are a few accounts of answered prayer.
“All these things” for a child of the Father
“About a year after my confession of Christ, an incident occurred which greatly strengthened my faith, and led me to look to God as a Father in a new way.
“When Easter Sunday morning came it was so warm only spring clothes could be worn. My sister and I decided at breakfast that we could not go to church, as we had only our old winter dresses. Going to my room, I turned to my Bible to study it, when it opened at Matthew 6, and my eye rested on these words: ‘Why take ye thought for raiment? ... Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.’
“It was as if God spoke the words directly to me. I determined to go to church, even if I had to humiliate myself by going in my old winter dress. The Lord was true to His promise; I can still feel the power the resurrection messages had upon my heart that day so long ago. And further, on the following day a box came from a distant aunt, containing not only new dresses but much else that might well be included in the ‘all these things’.”
A healing touch
Years later, when Rosalind was a missionary and mother in China, the Lord healed one of her children:
“In May, 1898, we started down to Tientsin by houseboat with our children for a much-needed rest and change. Cold, wet weather soon set in. Twelve days later, as we came in sight of Tientsin, with a bitter north wind blowing, our eldest child went on deck without his overcoat, in disobedience to my orders. Shortly after the child came in with a violent chill. That afternoon, when we arrived in Tientsin, the doctor pronounced the verdict—pneumonia.
The following day, shortly after noon, a second doctor, who had been called in consultation, met a friend on his way from our boy's bedside and told her he did not think the child could live till morning. I had taken his temperature, and found it to be 106. He was extremely restless, tossing in the burning fever. Sitting down beside him, with a cry to the Lord to help me, I said distinctly: "P—, you disobeyed me, and have thus brought this illness upon yourself. I forgive you; ask Jesus to forgive you, and give yourself to Him."
The child looked at me for a moment steadily, then closed his eyes. I saw his lips move for a moment; then quietly he sank into a sound sleep. When he awoke, about dusk, I took his temperature, and found it 101. By the time the doctor returned it was normal, and did not rise again. Although he had been having haemorrhage from the lungs, this ceased.
Is not Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever? Why should we wonder, therefore, at His healing touch in this age? “According to your faith be it unto you.”
Conditions of prevailing prayer
The following are conditions laid down in God’s Word for answers to prayer, summed up in the word “abide”:
1. Contrite humility before God and forsaking of sin – “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
2. Seeking God with the whole heart – “Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12, 13).
3. Faith in God – “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:23, 24).
4. Obedience – “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).
5. Dependence on the Holy Spirit – “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).
6. Importunity – see Mark 7:24-30; Luke 11:5-10.
7. Must ask in accordance with God's will – “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14).
8. In Christ's name – “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13, 14).
9. Must be willing to make amends for wrongs to others – “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23, 24).
—Rosalind Goforth, How I Know God Answers Prayer
Florence Rosalind Bell-Smith (Married name: Rosalind Goforth) (6 May 1864 – 31 May 1942) was a Presbyterian missionary, and author. Rosalind was born near Kensington Gardens, London, England. When she was three years old she moved with her parents to Montreal, Canada. Her father, John Bell-Smith, was an artist, and Rosalind also intended to go into art. She graduated from the Toronto School of Art in May 1885, and began preparing to return to London that autumn in order to complete her art studies. Something that never happened. Instead, she married Jonathan Goforth on 25 October 1887 at Knox Presbyterian Church, Toronto, Canada, and together they served God in Manchuria and China. They had eleven children, five of which died as babies or very young children. Rosalind died in Toronto, Canada, and is buried alongside her husband at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto.