One day while looking through books in his father’s study he came across a small Gospel tract. Almost out of boredom he lifted it and began to read. Unknown to James, on that same afternoon, his mother was on her knees seventy miles away praying for his salvation. She had been staying with friends whom she was visiting when she suddenly came under a deep burden of prayer for James’ eternal soul. She excused herself from her friends, went to her bedroom, turned the key and locked the door, and fell upon her knees. She was determined that she would not leave that room until she got an answer from God. For many hours she continued wrestling in fervent prayer until suddenly she felt the terrible burden lift and she instantly received the assurance that he had been saved.
Back in the study James came to a phrase in the tract that puzzled him, “The finished work of Christ.” “What was finished?” he asked himself; “…a full and perfect atonement and satisfaction for sin was made, and the debt was paid,” he mentally replied to himself. “Then,” he thought, “If the work of atonement is finished, if the mighty debt of sin is paid, what is there left for me to do?” In that very moment for the first time he truly saw; he believed; he received. With great joy he was saved on the spot and received the forgiveness of sins. When his mother returned home he immediately told her the good news of his salvation but was more surprised when his mother shared her news of answered prayer.
The young man’s full name was James Hudson Taylor (1832–1905). Several years later he received the call of God to go as a missionary to China. As the years of missionary work passed by in this strange and dangerous eastern land the Lord used him to train, and then send, over 1000 other missionaries into every province of China. He became God’s apostle to reach multitudes of souls in that great land. All over the world in every generation since then Christians have been encouraged by his life and testimony to believe God in prayer and to share the wonderful Gospel of Jesus with others.