Go Forward on Your Knees

Jonathan Goforth

Missionaries Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth arrived in China in March 1888. Their assignment to open a new field in the northern section of Honan province was a daunting one. The young couple struggled to learn the language, adjust to the climate and raise a large family in less than desirable surroundings. They met many discouraging challenges, including the death of a child. One day a letter arrived from Hudson Taylor, then a pioneer with China Inland Missions. He wrote:

We understand North Honan is to be your field; we, as a

Hudson Taylor

Hudson Taylor

mission, have tried for ten years to enter that province from the south, and have only just succeeded. It is one of the most anti-foreign provinces in China . . . Brother, if you would enter that province, you must go forward on your knees.

The Goforths took Taylor’s advice. Prayer became their strongest tool. With persistence and prayer, they mastered the language. People began responding to their message of a loving Christ. A female convert filled the Goforth’s need of an assistant Bible teacher for women.

Rosalind Goforth

Rosalind Goforth

Years later, Rosalind Goforth wrote a little book that has become one of my favourites, How I Know God Answers Prayer. She wrote of miracles of revival, guidance, healing and comfort. Through the Boxer Rebellion and many other life threatening events, the Goforths proceeded on their knees.

Prayer packs a punch. It sends tremors down the enemy’s spine. It puts courage in the weak-kneed and takes the whine and worry out of life. It resurrects the fallen and revives the discouraged. Only God can open closed doors. Only He can give us courage to face impossible situations.

His ear is always tilted toward earth, ready to hear our petitions. God clears our paths of obstacles in unexpected ways as we press forward on our knees.

Go forward on your knees is good advice, not just for missionaries on foreign fields but for ordinary Jesus people like you and me.

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About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at: http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com
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10 Responses to Go Forward on Your Knees

  1. Heather Collins says:

    On the back of the business card of Jonathan Goforth’s grandson:
    Seven Rules for Christlike Living by Jonathan Goforth
    1. Give much, but expect nothing.
    2. Put the very best construction on the words and actions of others.
    3. Spend at least 15 minutes a day studying the Bible.
    4. Never omit daily morning and evening private devotions.
    5. In all things seek to know God’s will and when known obey at any cost.
    6. Seek to cultivate a quiet prayerful spirit.
    7. Seek each day to do or say something to help build the Kingdom of God on earth.

  2. Joan says:

    Wow — thanks. This is so powerful:
    “Prayer packs a punch. It sends tremors down the enemy’s spine. It puts courage in the weak-kneed and takes the whine and worry out of life. It resurrects the fallen and revives the discouraged. Only God can open closed doors. Only He can give us courage to face impossible situations. His ear is always tilted toward earth, ready to hear our petitions.”

  3. storygal says:

    How hard it must have been to lose a child in a foreign land while still struggling to acclimatize themselves to the language and culture, and preach the gospel.
    Storygal

    • The Goforths lost more than 1 child in China, though they still managed to have a large family. Rosalind Goforth mentions this in her little classic, Climbing. Her attitude was always that God was teaching and guiding her life through every circumstance.

  4. vanyieck says:

    That’s a great reminder of the power of prayer. Your posts have been great. I’ve added you to my blog roll. That’s a list of links to other blogs. I hope you continue writing this blog.

  5. Diana Holvik says:

    Rose, this is an inspiring post. But I can’t help commenting on the Goforths’ name. I find it fascintating how often God is behind a name, something we usually have no control over. Missionaries with the name Goforth. God has a sense of humour.

    Diana

    • I’ve always thought it a great name for missionaries too. I’ve never met anyone else with the name. I once read a story of someone with the name Noseworthy – the photo beside the article explained a lot! 🙂

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