Pastor Jack Hyles' Favorite Soul Winning Experiences
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
THEY PRAYED FOR THE PEWS
Thank God for soul-winning laymen. Recently I was reliving an experience that took place the night before the dedication of a new building in a former pastorate. The new building was an auditorium, and it was a large one. There were 208 new pews in a building 130 feet by 100 feet.
The midnight before Dedication Day I went into the new building, bowed at the altar, and began to pray for God to bless the services the next day. The lights were out, and the only light was supplied from a shopping center across the street.
While kneeling at the altar I heard a noise in the back of the building. I looked back and saw the silhouettes of two men. Immediately I thought of burglars. There were so many nice new things in the building that could be stolen. So I got on my hands and knees and crept back to where they were. I could just see the headlines in the paper the next morning: "Young Pastor Captures Two Escaped Convicts!" Stupid me, it never dawned on me the headlines could have read, "Young Pastor killed by Two Escaped Convicts." Nevertheless, here was my chance to be a hero.
Just before I was to leap on them and capture them single-handed in a blaze of glory, I heard one of them speak, and I recognized that the voice was the voice of one of my good men. They did not yet know of my presence, so I continued to listen. I heard something more beautiful to my ears than music.
These men were putting their hands on each pew in the auditorium and praying for the power of God to rest upon each pew. One would place his hands at one end and the other at the other end, and they would say something like this: "Dear God, send Your power upon the people who sit in this pew tomorrow and every Sunday; and though our church is getting big, help it always to have the Spirit of Christ and the blessings of God. Thank you, dear God, that our families were saved here, and may our church always be as it is now."
They did not know it, but I listened while they prayed over every one of those 208 pews. I chuckled, I cried, I laughed and had to stifle shouting. When they had prayed over the last pew, I revealed to them that I had been there all the time and had joined them in praying that God would send His power.
The next day 2,550 people overflowed the auditorium and 52 people were saved. Some of these were folks led to Christ by these two men who quietly and humbly had given nearly all their night before Dedication Day to praying for souls.
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