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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Father Nash

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Joined: 2011/10/23
Posts: 2131

 Father Nash

After this meeting Nash was struck with a serious case of inflamed eyes. For several weeks he had to be kept in a dark room where he could neither read nor write. During this time “he gave himself up almost entirely to prayer. He had a terrible overhauling of his whole Christian experience; and as soon as he was able to see, with a double black veil before his face, he sallied forth to labor for souls.”

His labors did not take the form of personal evangelism or of evangelistic preaching. Instead he began one of the greatest ministries of prayer evangelism recorded in history. This rejected and broken former preacher gave himself to a labor that would influence praying people to this day. J Paul Leno

Charles Finney’s labors in evangelism began in the region of Evans Mills, New York, and here Daniel Nash headed to start his special prayer ministry. When he arrived, Finney stated, “He was full of the power of prayer.” The two men were drawn into a partnership that was ended only by Daniel’s death seven years later. Their goals were stated simply in a letter as follows:

“When Mr. Finney and I began our race, we had no thought of going amongst ministers. Our highest ambition was to go where there was neither minister or reformation and try to look up the lost sheep, for whom no man cared. We began and the Lord prospered…. But we go into no man’s parish unless called…. We have room enough to work and work enough to do.”

This evangelistic team operated on the basis of prayer being essential for the preparation of an area for evangelism. This idea was so strong that Finney often sent Nash to an area to prepare the place and people for his coming. Often it would take 3 or 4 weeks of prayer to get the area ready. Let us examine a little more closely just how such a thing was accomplished.

When God would direct where a meeting was to be held, Father Nash would slip quietly into town and seek to get two or three people to enter into a covenant of prayer with him. Sometimes he had with him a man of similar prayer ministry, Abel Clary. Together they would begin to pray fervently for God to move in the community. One record of such is told by Leonard Ravenhill:

“I met an old lady who told me a story about Charles Finney that has challenged me over the years. Finney went to Bolton to minister, but before he began, two men knocked on the door of her humble cottage, wanting lodging. The poor woman looked amazed, for she had no extra accommodations. Finally, for about twenty-five cents a week, the two men, none other than Fathers Nash and Clary, rented a dark and damp cellar for the period of the Finney meetings (at least two weeks), and there in that self-chosen cell, those prayer partners battled the forces of darkness.”

Another record tells:

“On one occasion when I got to town to start a revival a lady contacted me who ran a boarding house. She said, ‘Brother Finney, do you know a Father Nash? He and two other men have been at my boarding house for the last three days, but they haven’t eaten a bite of food. I opened the door and peeped in at them because I could hear them groaning, and I saw them down on their faces. They have been this way for three days, lying prostrate on the floor and groaning. I thought something awful must have happened to them. I was afraid to go in and I didn’t know what to do. Would you please come see about them?’

“‘No, it isn’t necessary,’ Finney replied. ‘They just have a spirit of travail in prayer.'”

Another states:

“Charles Finney so realized the need of God’s working in all his service that he was wont to send godly Father Nash on in advance to pray down the power of God into the meetings which he was about to hold.”

Not only did Nash prepare the communities for preaching, but he also continued in prayer during the meetings.

“Often Nash would not attend meetings, and while Finney was preaching Nash was praying for the Spirit’s outpouring upon him. Finney stated, ‘I did the preaching altogether, and brother Nash gave himself up almost continually to prayer.’ Often while the evangelist preached to the multitudes, Nash in some adjoining house would be upon his face in an agony of prayer, and God answered in the marvels of His grace. With all due credit to Mr. Finney for what was done, it was the praying men who held the ropes. The tears they shed, the groans they uttered are written in the book of the chronicles of the things of God.”

It is said of Finney that “his evangelistic party consisted of prayer partners, who went before him and sought the Lord in some secluded spot. And when Finney was preaching Father Nash and Mr. Clary were hidden away somewhere praying for him. No wonder cities were stirred and a vast harvest of souls reaped.” This concept of an evangelistic party made up of praying men has nearly been lost in these days of organizers, promoters, big names, etc. Such praying men not only sustained Finney’s ministry, but explain the power in preaching and long-lasting results.

Charles Finney could always go to Brother Nash when an obstacle arose in the meetings. One such occasion occurred at Gouverneur where some “young men seemed to stand like a bulwark in the way of the progress of the work.”

“In this state of things, Brother Nash and myself (Finney), after consultation, made up our minds that that thing must be overcome by prayer, and that it could not be reached in any other way. We therefore retired to a grove and gave ourselves to prayer until we prevailed, and we felt confident that no power which earth or Hell could interpose, would be allowed permanently to stop the revival.”

Now there are times when confidence gained in prayer requires action, and this was such a time. Brother Nash was by nature a quiet man, and by practice stayed out of the limelight. Yet confidence in prayer may cause this to change if God so leads. Here is Finney’s own account of what happened in a service shortly after the victory was won in prayer:

“The meeting-house was filled. Near the close of the meeting, Brother Nash arose, and addressed that company of young men who had joined hand in hand to resist the revival. I believe they were all there, and they sat braced up against the Spirit of God. It was too solemn for them really to make ridicule of what they heard and saw; and yet their brazen-facedness and stiffneckedness were apparent to everybody.

“Brother Nash addressed them very earnestly, and pointed out the guilt and danger of the course they were taking. Toward the close of his address he waxed exceeding warm, and said to them, ‘Now, mark me, young men! God will break your ranks in less than one week, either by converting some of you, or by sending some of you to Hell. He will do this as certainly as the Lord is my God!’ He was standing where he brought his hand down on the top of the pew before him, so as to make it thoroughly jar. He sat immediately down, dropped his head, and groaned with pain.

“The house was as still as death, and most of the people held down their heads. I could see that the young men were agitated. For myself, I regretted that Brother Nash had gone so far. He had committed himself, that God would either take the life of some of them, and send them to Hell, or convert some of them, within a week. However, on Tuesday morning of the same week, the leader of these young men came to me, in the greatest distress of mind. He was all prepared to submit; and as soon as I came to press him he broke down like a child, confessed, and manifestly gave himself to Christ. Then he said, ‘What shall I do, Mr. Finney?’ I replied, ‘Go immediately to all your young companions, and pray with them, and exhort them, at once to turn to the Lord.’ He did so; and before the week was out, nearly if not all of that class of young men, were hoping in Christ.”

There is no doubt that Finney’s “over-wrought” concern “that his co-worker had gone too far” in this bold handling of the problem was relieved by such a speedy answer (from Sunday night to Tuesday morning). He never did get to speak words of warning and correction to “this man of prayer.”

Nash’s prayer ministry made him “as remarkable a character in his way as Finney himself.” The importance of such to Finney’s ministry and success cannot be over estimated. “Finney depended more upon the prayers of Fathers Nash and Clary to bring down Holy Ghost revival than upon his own resistless logic. So accustomed are we to the Laodicean condition of the church that the all-pervading influence of prayer in Finney’s time amazes us.” Of the great revival in Rochester, “Finney said that the key which unlocked the Heavens in this revival was the prayer of Clary, Father Nash, and other unnamed folk who laid themselves prostrate before God’s throne and besought Him for a divine out-pouring.”

Considering the souls being saved and the very culture of the area being changed in such a thorough revival, it should be no surprise that persecution came to these co-laborers. Some came from jealous ministers, some from those of other doctrinal persuasions, and some from the lost. False statements were sent to newspapers by his enemies. Nash wrote a letter May 11, 1826, telling of some of the opposition. Part of it said,

“The work of God moves forward in power, in some places against dreadful opposition. Mr. Finney and I have both been hanged and burned in effigy. We have frequently been disturbed in our religious meetings. Sometimes the opposers make a noise in the house of God; sometimes they gather round the house and stone it, and discharge guns. There is almost as much writing, intrigue, and lying, and reporting of lies, as there would be if we were on the eve of a presidential election. Oh, what a world! How much it hates the truth! How unwilling to be saved! But I think the work will go on.”

In this letter he refers to being hung and burned in effigy. Here is an account of the event:

“Swinging above your heads are two distorted figures suspended on ropes. At the touch of the torch they leap into flames and the crowd screams in sheer delight. Sound like a scene from a lynching . . . a race riot? Not at all. It is a religious gathering. The charred creatures smoldering in the air represent the public’s expression of opposition to the preaching and praying of America’s greatest evangelistic team. Charles Grandison Finney and his partner-in-prayer, Father Nash, have just been burned in effigy. Preachers and pew-warmers alike joined forces against the two men who did more to spearhead revival than any other pair in American history.”

The enemies of revival counted Nash a full partner to Finney in the work. They feared and hated his praying at least as much as they did Finney’s preaching.

The best-known revival of this period in American history was that which occurred in Rochester, New York. Over 100,000 were considered to have been soundly converted during those meetings. Nash and Clary teamed up for the praying with the assistance of others. These two men were so similar in their praying that one is often described to explain the other. Such fervent praying in agony of soul brought sights that may seem strange to our eyes today. Our gentle prayers accomplish so little, but then they cost us so little. Finney wrote:

“I have never known a person sweat blood; but I have known a person pray till the blood started from his nose. And I have known persons pray till they were all wet with perspiration, in the coldest weather in winter. I have known persons pray for hours, till their strength was all exhausted with the agony of their minds. Such prayers prevailed with God. This agony in prayer was prevalent in Jonathan Edwards’ day, in the revivals which then took place.”

During the Rochester meetings there are several accounts of these two men in deep agony of soul while praying day and night. Some accounts name Nash, some Clary, others both. It seems they were together in fasting and prayer much of the time, weeping and crying out to God. Sometimes they lay prostrate without strength to stand up. Their concern over sinners being lost brought great stress to their minds and souls. They groaned under the load, they risked health and gave up comforts that the battle of the heavenlies might be won. Sometimes they “would writhe and groan in agony” over souls. God honored their burden-bearing and sent revival. Privately they prayed and publicly God answered. “Practically everyone in the city was converted. The only theater in the city was converted into a livery stable, the only circus into a soap and candle factory, and the grog shops (bars and taverns) were closed.”

 2022/5/11 4:58Profile

Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 4005

 Re: Father Nash

Amen! The secret and success of the ministry of Charles Finney was the prayers and intercession of Father Nash and of a few others.


 2022/5/11 12:27Profile

Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3510
This world is not my home anymore.

 Re: Father Nash

SO FAR, I've NEVER been to church when, "...the opposers make a noise in the house of God; sometimes they gather round the house and STONE IT, and discharge guns..."

And sadly, I've never, “...known a person sweat blood; but I have known a person pray till the blood started from his nose. And I have known persons pray till they were all wet with perspiration, in the coldest weather in winter. I have known persons pray for hours, till their strength was all exhausted with the agony of their minds."

This is challenging. We think we are all that but we are not what they were in Christ.


 2022/5/11 14:12Profile

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