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One of the best known experiences of the fullness of the Spirit came from D. L. Moody, the great 19th century evangelist. Moody did not have much to recommend him: he was almost illiterate, and had terrible grammar. He was overweight. Before entering an evangelistic ministry, he worked in a shoe store.

Moody’s recent biographer tells the story:

As Dwight Moody walked the streets of New York seeking funds for rebuilding the religious facilities of Chicago [after the great Chicago fire], he admitted,

My heart was not in the work of begging. I could not appeal. I was crying all the time that God would fill me with his Spirit.

Moody was so burned out that nothing else really mattered. He said that it did not seem as if there were any unction resting on his ministry. He had endured almost four months of intense spiritual agony.

God seemed to be just showing me myself. I found I was ambitious; I was not preaching for Christ; I was preaching for ambition. I found everything in my heart that ought not to be there. For four months a wrestling went on in me. I was a miserable man.

But suddenly, after four months the anointing came. Moody said,

It came upon me as I was walking in the streets of New York.

The Holy Spirit came upon Moody in great force while he was walking down Wall Street. All of a sudden nothing was important except to be alone with the Lord. He went as fast as he could to the residence of a New York friend and asked for a room to pray in.

Ah, what a day! I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it, it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.

He preached the same sermons as before. Now, however, hundreds and thousands were responding. The power was the Spirit’s.


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