Here’s a seldom-seen partner of the great evangelist Charles Finney during the 2nd Great Awakening. His name was Daniel Nash, and he had had a lackluster record as a pastor in upstate New York. He finally decided, at the age of 48, to give himself totally to prayer for Finney’s meetings.
“Father Nash,” as some called him, would quietly slip into a town 3 or 4 weeks before Finney’s arrival, rent a room, find 2 or 3 other like-minded Christians to join him, and start pleading with God. In one town the best he could find was a dark, damp-cellar; it became his center for intercession.
In another place, Finney relates,
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 2 other men have been at my boarding house for the last 3 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 2 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,” I replied. “They just have a spirit of travail in prayer.”
Once the public meetings began, Nash usually did not attend. He kept praying in his hideaway for the conviction of the Holy Spirit to melt the crowd. If opposition arose-as it often did in those ragged days of the 1820’s Finney would tell him about it and Father Nash would bear down all the harder in prayer.
Shortly before Nash died in the winter of 1831, he wrote in a letter,
I am now convinced, it is my duty and privilege, and the duty of every other Christian, to pray for as much of the Holy Spirit as came down on the day of Pentecost, and a great deal more….My body is in pain, but I am happy in my God…I have only just begun to understand what Jesus meant when He said, “All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
Within four months of Nash’s death, Finney left the itinerant field to become the pastor of a Church in New York City. His partner in cracking the gates of hell was gone. If you want to see Father Nash’s grave today, you will have to drive to northern New York, almost to the Canadian border. There, in a neglected cemetery along a dirt road, you will find a tombstone that says it all:
Laborer with Finney
Mighty in Prayer
Nov 17, 1775 – Dec 20, 1831
Daniel Nash was a nobody to the elite of his time. They would have found this humble man not worthy of comment because he lived on a totally different plane. But you can be sure that he was known all too well in both heaven and hell.
God’s mighty men and women lay aside the distractions of life to do exploits in the spiritual realm. Whether or not they become famous is beside the point.
This is how it is with all God’s might men and women. They are famous in heaven.