Living By Faith Blog


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How Hudson Taylor’s Mother Experienced The Gift Of Faith

The Spiritual Gift of Faith

Yesterday I wrote about how the Holy Spirit can give us certainty that God will give us exactly what we are asking.

This is not something we stir up; it’s a spiritual gift given by God.

And it’s not a requirement for prayer; it’s an encouragement God sometimes gives some people to help them pray.

Here is how Hudson Taylor’s mother experienced this gift.

A Mother’s Prayer

Hudson Taylor was one of the first missionaries to inland China.  He grew up in a Christian home, but during his teenage years had turned from Christ.

His mother was spending a few days visiting a close friend who lived 70 miles away.  One day, after having lunch with her friend, she felt an intense yearning for her son’s salvation.

So she went to her room, locked the door, and resolved not to leave the room until her prayers were answered.

Here’s Hudson Taylor’s description of what his mother experienced —

Hour after hour that dear mother pleaded, until at length she could pray no longer, but was constrained to praise God for that which His Spirit taught her had already been accomplished, the conversion of her only son.


That same afternoon while his mother was praying 70 miles away, Hudson Taylor was home alone.  He was in his father’s study looking for something to read, and came across a Gospel pamphlet.

He opened it, thinking it might have some interesting stories, and read the phrase “the finished work of Christ.”  That phrase struck him.

Here are his own words about what happened next —

Then came the further thought, ‘If the whole work was finished and the whole debt paid, what is there left for me to do?’

And with this dawned the joyful conviction, as light was flashed into my soul by the Holy Spirit, that there was nothing in the world to be done but to fall down on one’s knees and accepting this Savior and His salvation praise Him forever more …

When mother returned a fortnight later I was the first to meet her at the door and to tell her I had such glad news to give.

I can almost feel that dear mother’s arms round my neck as she pressed me to her heart and said: ‘I know, my boy, I have been rejoicing for a fortnight in the glad tidings you have to tell.’  (from “Hudson Taylor in Early Years: The Growth of a Soul,” pp.67-68)


  • It’s not that Hudson Taylor’s mother tried really heard to believe that he was saved.  This was a spiritual gift — a supernatural assurance which God gave her at this time.
  • Why did she resolve to not stop praying until God answered her prayer?  My guess is that this was part of the gift of faith which God had given her.
  • We are always to pray with faith.  But that does not mean we always must be certain that God will give us what we are asking.  That kind of certainty is a spiritual gift which God gives to some believers sometimes.
  • Never let lack of faith keep you from praying.  Pray, and ask God to strengthen your faith.  He will (Mark 9:24).  And sometimes He might even give you a supernatural gift of faith, as He did with Hudson Taylor’s mother.

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(Picture is from stock xchng by geri-jean.)

Category: Stories about Other People, The Work of the Spirit


2 Responses

  1. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    ‘I know, my boy, I have been rejoicing for a fortnight in the glad tidings you have to tell.’

    How could Hudson Taylor’s mother know about her son’s conversion before he told her about it?

    Only some of my own thoughts…
    I think that this special prayer had also been a spiritual gift of God. He drove her to pray what He wanted to answer. This is nothing we can give birth by ourselves “for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Rom 8:26) With this prayer, God’s gift of faith was poured into her heart, so she was assured of the things she hoped for, and convicted of things not seen (Hebs 11:1). Because she has become one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor 6:17), she shared some of God’s own thoughts. Naturally this sounds incredible, but God wants us to know about His hidden mysteries and reveals them to us through the Spirit (1 Cor 2:10).

    Furthermore, the description above reminds me of a similar one depicting St. Augustine’s (of Hippo) mother who was praying tearfully for about nine years for her son’s conversion from his licentious life. In this case his mother, Monica, got to know the answer to her prayers from a dream (“The Confessions of Augustine”, pp.59-62).

    Sometimes it is necessary to pray for years for the conversion of others but one day God will hear. I’m sure about it because I experienced this one year ago. The first time I prayed for the person concerned was in 1995. But not before this person finally died – last year – God answered my prayers and I was happy to hear about this one dying peacefully with a smile on the face after an agonizing time before.

    Wrapping up the whole thing, here’s a short but strange story at that.
    Over a number of years I experienced difficulties with a man who held – in my humble opinion – a lot of falsities concerning our Christian faith. Whenever he opened his mouth, I lost my temper despite the fact he was a likeable person. But those heresies always made me angry.
    One day, sitting and praying in the evening, I suddenly began to cry for about two or three minutes. For the very first time I felt deep empathy and, finally, even love for this man who was, sadly enough, deceived by his falsities. I prayed that God would enlighten him and open his eyes to the truth of Christ. I can hardly express how happy I felt afterwards, and each time I think of him I rejoice at God’s love for him though nothing has changed yet. But I do know that God will change his heart at whatever time He likes.

  2. Kathie says:

    Very encouraging!I’m a pastor’s wife who has been praying for 2 of my grown sons (we have 5 children) – they are wandering from the Lord. The Lord has spoken to me that they will come home and I continue to pray and praise Him for that day.

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