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Hudson Taylor on Why You Need Personal Devotion Time

Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was a British missionary to China and the founder of the China Inland Mission (currently OMF International). Against all odds and many criticisms, he moved to China at the age of 21 and went to unconventional lengths (such as wearing native Chinese clothing—considered a scandal by many Western missionaries of his day) to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached peoples of inland China. He has been used greatly by God and is currently one of the most widely-known and influential missionaries in Christian history.

Taylor’s son, Dr. Howard Taylor, in Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret (p. 243) accounts an experience he had traveling with his father through China. He writes,

It was not easy for Mr. Taylor in his changeful life, to make time for prayer and Bible study, but he knew that it was vital. Well do the writers remember traveling with him month after month in northern China, by cart and wheelbarrow, with the poorest of inns at night. Often with only one large room for coolies and travelers alike, they would screen off a corner for their father and another for themselves, with curtains of some sort; and then after sleep at last had brought a measure of quiet they would hear a match struck and seek the flicker of candlelight which told that Mr. Taylor, however weary, was pouring over the little Bible in two volumes always at hand. From two to four a.m. was the time he usually gave to prayer; the time when he could be most sure of being undisturbed to wait upon God. That flicker of candlelight has meant more to them than all they have read or heard on secret prayer; it meant reality, not preaching but practice.

“Satan will always find you something to do,” he would say, “when you ought to be occupied about that, if it is only arranging a window blind.”

Let’s take heed the counsel of this great missionary. To accomplish great things for God—even to enjoy Him—we must, by His grace, maintain regular, prayerful Bible study.