One day I ran across a party of about twenty Pittsburg men on their way to a men's Christian convention in Cincinnati. There were a few ministers in the party, but it was made up chiefly of business men, typical, keen, alert American business men. We got together and talked about things of common interest.
And this question was asked: Does prayer do things? Then the question was spread out some. I go into my room at night to retire. I read a bit from the Book, and kneel to pray. I pray for a man in Pittsburg or in Hang-chow, China. Does anything take place in Pittsburg or in Hang-chow that wouldn't have taken place if I hadn't prayed? Of course, the praying does me good. The very bending of knee and head before God, the good wishes in my heart going out to some one else—these influence me. I rise better for both.
But is that all? Does anything happen at the other end? Does my prayer do anything in Hang-chow? If I write a business letter to Hang-chow, enclosing a foreign draft, the letter does something. A vast amount of business is carried on that way. Would the prayer as really do something as the letter and the draft?
There was a good bit of talk back and forth, and questions asked. It was interesting to find these men were ready to admit that they really believed that something would occur at the other end. They belonged to a church noted for its sound teaching, and came from the orthodox church city of Pittsburg. The matter-of-fact power of prayer to do business "at the other end" seemed to appeal to these business men. Apparently they had not been looking at prayer that way. But they readily admitted that it must be so. Then the next question asked itself: How much of this foreign business are we doing? And so the little crowd talked along while the train pounded the rails at the rate of forty-odd miles an hour.
Prayer does do things. Something happens at the other end that wouldn't happen if the prayer were not made. The banker can touch London and Paris and Shanghai and Calcutta and Tokyo, without moving from the desk where he is dictating letters, with his correspondence spread out before him. The praying man can as really touch these cities as he kneels in his room, with map and Book spread out before him.
Things are changed out there that need changing. That banker does business, too, in his home city and out in the home-land. But many times, with many a house, the bulk of foreign business is in excess of that done at home. Now we want to do a large business abroad in soul-winning and in world-winning, as well as at home.