Timothy George has penned an article about the prayer life of James Alexander Bryan of Birmingham, Alabama. When I read about men of prayer like “Brother Bryan”, I am stirred to become more a man of prayer. Bryan was the pastor of Third Presbyterian Church for more than five decades. He prayed for and with people of all varieties all over the city. Here is the link to the full article. My takeaways are below.
Brother Bryan was a promiscuous pray-er who prayed with thousands in hospitals, prisons, and halfway houses. He prayed with countless others at weddings and funerals, over the telephone, on the sidewalk, in the mills and factories of the city, and in his pastor’s study, which was known as Birmingham’s “confessional.” It was said that “the fragrance of his prayer life permeated the whole city.” His prayers were often short and to the point, but they were more than pious platitudes. He knew that prayer was a vital component of what St. Paul called “the full armor of God” (Eph. 6:11). Every prayer involved spiritual combat, and one of his most characteristic prayers was this one: “O Lord, help us to fight the devil!”
1. When I see the image of the statue of Brother Bryan, I wish that the posture of my life would best be remembered as kneeling.
[Tweet “I wish that the posture of my life would best be remembered as kneeling.”]
2. His most frequent words were Let us pray.
3. After having been robbed at gunpoint, he said to the thief, Brother, let us pray. After the prayer, the thief placed the stolen items back on Brother Bryan’s body.
4. Many confuse spiritual warfare with other-worldly experiences rather than with prayer. It is on our knees that we battle the wicked one. It is there that we unleash the power of God upon the enemies of darkness.
The final section of the inscription at the base of the statue includes these words,
Fervent in prayer,
Consecrated in life,
Sympathetic in counsel,
Friend of the friendless,
the sorrowing, the poor and rich:
He went about doing good.
May God raise up more Brother Bryans.