Young Black Man Discovers Holy Spirit

January 29, 1917

Death of Holy Spirit Student, Stephen Merritt

Dan Graves, MSL

You may move the hands of a clock to suit you, but you do not change the time; so you hurry the unfolding of God’s will, but you harm and do not help the work. You can open a rosebud but you spoil the flower. Leave all to Him. Hands down. Thy will, not mine.”

Stephen Merritt, who wrote those words, died on this day, January 29, 1917. A wealthy New Yorker, he gave much time to overseas missions and to New York’s poor. He had studied the work of the Holy Spirit. This led to the encounter for which he is most famous.

As a secretary to the Methodist missionary-bishop, William Taylor, Stephen met many missionaries. One was a young lady named Elizabeth MacNeil. Stephen could see that she was feeling overwhelmed as she left for Africa. Gently he advised her to humble herself before the Lord and commit herself to Him. The Holy Spirit, he assured her, would empower her to do the work for which she was sent abroad.

Lizzie taught a young African named Sammy Morris everything she knew about the Holy Spirit. Sammy hungered to learn more. When she said there was nothing else she could teach him, he asked, “Who taught you about the Holy Spirit?”

“Stephen Merritt,” she replied. Sammy questioned her. Who was this Stephen? Where did he live? Satisfied, he said goodbye. Without money or a map, he headed for America. Protected by God, who miraculously met his needs, Sammy arrived in New York. Stephen lived several miles from the dock. God arranged that the first person Sammy met was an alcoholic who had once been in one of Stephen’s shelters.

The man led Sammy to the St. James Street Methodist Episcopal Church where Stephen served as pastor. Stephen was heading off to a prayer meeting and sent Sammy next door to a rescue mission he bankrolled. Stephen had gotten into trouble with the law because his prayer meetings had a way of running too late at night. However, on this night, he returned home about 10:30. Remembering Sammy, he drove back to the mission. There he found seventeen men kneeling around the African, who had led them to Christ. That night, to the surprise of his wife, Dolly, Stephen took Sammy into his home and put him up in the bishop’s room. Sammy was the first black man who ever ate at Stephen’s table. Much of what we know about Sammy and his fervor for Christ was recorded by Stephen.

He told this story on himself. “I took him (Sammy) in a coach with a prancing team of horses, as I was going to Harlem to officiate at a funeral. I said: ‘Samuel, I would like to show you something of our city and Central Park.'” Stephen showed Sammy the sights. Suddenly Sammy asked, ‘Stephen Merritt, do you ever pray in a coach?’ Stephen assured him he did.

Sammy placed his great, black hand on the white man’s “…and, turning me around on my knees, said: ‘We will pray,’ and for the first time I knelt in a coach to pray. He told the Holy Spirit he had come from Africa to talk to me about Him, and I talked about everything else, and wanted to show him the church, and the city, and the people, when he was so desirous of hearing and knowing about Him; and he asked Him if He would not take out of my heart things, and so fill me with Himself, that I would never speak or write or preach or talk, only of Him. There were three of us in that coach that day. Never have I known such a day. We were filled with the Holy Spirit, and He made him the channel by which I became instructed and then endued as never before.”


  1. Holden, David. Select Seed from the Granary. #99-4.
  2. “Sammy Morris. A New World Appears, Quoting from Stephen Merritt.” SammyMorris/6-A-New-World.html
  3. Whalin, W. Terry. Samuel Morris, The Apostle of Simple Faith. Barbour Books, 1996.
  4. Various internet articles.

Jabez Prayer

Charles H. Spurgeon, London’s Prince of the Pulpit

Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed!

—1 Chronicles 4:10.

Charles H Spurgeon 

We know very little about Jabez, except that he was more honorable than his brethren, and that he was called Jabez because his mother bare him with sorrow. It will sometimes happen that where there is the most sorrow in the antecedents, there will be the most pleasure in the sequel. As the furious storm gives place to the clear sunshine, so the night of weeping precedes the morning of joy. Sorrow the harbinger; gladness the prince it ushers in. Cowper says:

Please click the following link for the complete Jabez Prayer:

How to Handle Fear


By Michael Guido ( Dr. Guido is now in Heaven)

Michael Guido

“It’s above me, around me, in me and under me,” he said.
“What?” I asked.
“Fear,” came the reply. “I am afraid of everything and everybody, anything and anybody.”
David gave us a good prescription for fear.
“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him and He will help you.” In one brief verse he provides three steps to dealing with our anxieties:
Step One: Commit our concerns. The word “commit” contains a unique picture: it is as though you would “roll” the burden, problem or threat from yourself to God. Imagine putting all your concerns in a wheelbarrow and then rolling them into the presence of God and “dumping” them out at His feet. What a joy!
Step two: Fortify our faith. When we leave our concerns with God, we know that not only does He care about them, but He has the ultimate responsibility for their solution, because we have His Word that He will help!”
Step three: Trusting God does not mean that He will remove every problem or give us everything we want. But it does mean that He is totally responsible for our well-being and will meet every need.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to take You at Your Word, to know that you will calm our every fear, give us Your everlasting peace, and provide for all our needs. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.