Life Sketches Manuscript


Chapter 4—Beginning Of Public Labor

Up to this time I had never prayed in public, and had spoken only a few timid words in prayer meeting. It was now impressed upon me that I should seek God in prayer at our social meetings. This I dared not do, fearful of becoming confused and failing to express my thoughts. But the duty was presented to my mind so forcibly that when I attempted to pray in secret, I seemed to be mocking God, because I had failed to obey His will. Despair overwhelmed me, and for three long weeks no ray of light pierced the gloom that encompassed me. LSMS 35.1

My sufferings of mind were intense. Sometimes for a whole night I would not dare to close my eyes. I would wait until my twin sister was fast asleep, then quietly leave my bed and kneel upon the floor, praying silently, with a dumb agony that cannot be described. I knew that it was impossible for me to live long in this state, and I dared not die and meet the terrible fate of the sinner. With what envy did I regard those who realized their acceptance with God! How precious did the Christian's hope seem to my agonized soul! LSMS 35.2

I frequently remained bowed in prayer nearly all night, groaning and trembling with inexpressible anguish and a hopelessness that passes all description. “Lord, have mercy!” was my plea, and like the poor publican, I dared not lift even my eyes to heaven, but bowed my face upon the floor. I became very much reduced in flesh and strength, yet kept my suffering and despair to myself. LSMS 35.3