I Prayed have prayed
God, we thank You for strengthening these women in their quest to bring the gospel to the people who needed it. In a time where so many Muslims and Jews are hostile toward the truth of Your Son, we pray that You would give us the same faith and courage to share that Hannah Hurnard displayed.
Reading Time: 8 minutes

God shared a vision with missionaries years ago that speaks profoundly to us today. Read and be encouraged.

In 1932, God brought a timid missionary from England to Israel. She stayed until 1948. The Church’s Ministry Among the Jews finally granted permission for her and a fellow missionary to visit Jewish settlements throughout the land. For 5 years they drove in one small car “from house to house and knocked on every door–throughout every single place in Palestine.” They distributed Hebrew Bibles and tracts and shared the gospel with all who would listen.

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Hannah Hurnard, later famous for her allegory Hind’s Feet on High Places, also wrote the nearly extinct Wayfarer in the Land about her ministry “telling of that wonderful wayfaring Man who nearly 2,000 years ago passed this way, searching for the lost sheep of Israel. . . proving that He is in truth the only hope of Israel, their only Saviour.” (Most of the following is in her words, condensed.)

She writes, “[My missionary friend and I] decided that we would put aside one whole morning each week for prayer and for seeking the Lord’s guidance and strength and for claiming, before we set out on our visits, an open door and victory in each place we planned to go. The fact that we felt so helpless and so utterly cast upon the Lord, drew us very close to each other. Always we prayed together outside the village before going in, and always on the way home after the work was over, we experienced the same wonderful joy.”

The Jewish pioneer settlements they visited were uncultivated areas almost entirely peopled by wandering Bedouin tribes: “Settlers had to endure great hardships of every kind, as they began their task of wringing a living out of the undeveloped land. ”

At that time there were no roads anywhere–at best, just narrow tracks worn by donkeys or camels–so travel was terribly rough, and painfully bumpy over a barren rock-strewn wilderness. Or through desolate muddy or boggy ground. “Sooner or later a stream blocked every track we followed.

“The tribes themselves were noted for their fierce, unruly behavior. They were constantly quarreling and fighting with each other and often attacked the settlements. Murder was common, and so was highway robbery, and political unrest added to their tension and danger. Mission hospitals on the border of [the Jordan Valley] were constantly treating people for malaria and typhoid, not to mention gun-shot wounds and still more frequent stabbings.”

Jackals, wild boar and the occasional hyena roamed this wild country. Leopards and lions had haunted it not long before.

pray for israel

“I remember turning to the Lord in despair and saying ‘Please Lord Jesus, don’t ask me to go. I am so afraid. Send somebody braver.’ Quite clearly it seemed to me that He answered, ‘If you will go with Me, and face whatever discomfort or weariness there may be, I promise you that the car will not break down, you will not get malaria or typhoid, and you will not be shot, nor hurt, nor molested in any way.’ ”

As they traveled, “Encouraging receptions were at least as numerous as violent opposition. Polite indifference was our hardest obstacle.

“At one community that was notably more orthodox than any others we made our way up to the first house, and a man wearing the traditional garments indicating his strict orthodoxy, met us at the door. As we stood talking to him and showing our books, an astounding thing happened. People began hurrying towards us from all directions, and as they came up they clamoured for our books and Scripture portions. Again and again we explained that we were Christians and these were Christian books, and still they clamoured. Then [we] said, ‘But we thought you were all very orthodox Jews. Why do you want these books about the Christ?’  Somebody answered immediately, ‘Outwardly we are orthodox, but inwardly we are dissatisfied.’”

On another, “particular hot unpleasant day, a woman who came to the door was very annoyed to find that we were missionaries. But she softened a little when she noticed that we both looked very hot and tired. We asked her for a drink of water and she said, ”Oh, yes of course, even though you are missionaries, I will give you a cup of water. Come inside.’

“When we left we presented her with a Bible. [Not until 4-5 years later we learned that]  she picked it up as soon as we left, and turned with curiosity to the New Testament which she had never in her life read before. The first words her eyes fell upon were, ‘Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My name shall in no wise lose his reward. He that receiveth you, receiveth Me.’ She was absolutely staggered. She said to herself, ‘Can it really be true that in giving a glass of water to the two Christian women, I have done it to the One I have always been taught to believe was an imposter and blasphemer?’”

She had read the Bible through twice, become convinced that the book was true, that Jesus was the promised Messiah and the Son of God. She had led several neighbors to Christ and started a Bible study. When the woman met a friend of theirs, she told him, ‘Tell those two ladies their work has not been in vain and encourage them to continue with it.’

“Often the work was very difficult. On one occasion a woman came to the door, a very orthodox Jewess. As soon as she learned who we were and heard the name of the Lord Jesus, she burst into a torrent of abuse, spitting continually every time she or we mentioned the precious name of the Saviour.

“May His name be blotted out,’ she shouted, and spat again. ‘An imposter! A blasphemer! May His memory be forgotten.’

“It seemed impossible for us to accomplish anything at her house, for she spat again at the sight of a proffered gospel and tried to snatch it from us and tear it up. As we stood patiently listening to her abuse, I noticed that her two grown-up daughters, who had been standing silently behind her, were looking wistfully at me. I left my companion to continue listening to the mother, and turned quietly towards them. One daughter put her finger on her lips and then motioned me closer.

“The elder of the daughters leant towards me and whispered quickly, ‘Give me one of those books. My sister and I would like to read it. We will hide it.’ I quickly slipped a New Testament into her hand and she hid it under her apron and stood quietly while her mother finished her harangue. The mother mentioned the Saviour’s name once more, spat again, and announced that she had finished with us. All we could do was turn away yet praying earnestly that God would bless and use the Testament which so unexpectedly had found its way into that closed house.

The Wayfarer’s Other Sheep

Finally Hannah and her ministry partner had reached every Jewish community in the land. “What had seemed at the beginning such a stupendous and impossible task, was actually accomplished,” she wrote.

Then– “One morning early the Lord seemed to say to me, ‘Come with Me and look from the top. I have something to show you that you have never properly noticed before. Then it seemed to me that in the spirit I was standing with Him on a mountain top, looking out over the whole land spread out before us which we were coming to know so well. And I thought He said to me, ‘What do you see?” In my mind’s eye, I saw all the Jewish settlements we had visited. I thought I saw green trails to each of these places, as though a tiny rivulet of water had trickled to them. By this time I knew the map of Palestine by heart as far as these settlements were concerned. Then he seemed to say, ‘Look again. Not just at the villages with the green trails. What else do you see?’

“Very wretchedly I raised my eyes and looked again. Now as I stared out over the land, I saw not just a few hundred Jewish settlements where the people spoke Hebrew, but on all the hills, and in every valley and scattered over the plains, hundreds and hundreds of mud villages became visible, dirty, primitive, miserable places, where the people spoke a language I had never learned, and practised another religion, that of Islam.

“I saw unnumbered tents belonging to wandering tribes who had no settled villages. And as I stared, sick at heart, I heard my Lord say, ‘ Why do you never pray for all these places? Who is carrying My message to them? Is the water of life not meant for those villages too?’

“I remember how fiercely I answered because I knew now what it was He was going to say, and I was afraid to hear it. So I exclaimed, ‘What concern of mine are all those hundreds of other places?  I do not know Arabic. I have not studied their religion. You told us to claim that every Jewish settlement should be reached. We have claimed the ones You told us to. Is that not enough? ‘

“‘While there are still lost sheep,’ said the Wayfarer, ‘I will never rest from seeking them. Are you ready to go with Me?’

“It is impossible not to laugh now as I look back on my feelings when the day came to set out on the first visit. To me, the Moslems we were going to were all fierce, primitive creatures, continually stabbing one another, carrying on blood feuds, firing on foreigners, and holding up and robbing travellers. The Arab-Jewish disturbances were in full swing, and dangerous terrorist bands were lurking in the mountains and raiding the villages for supplies.

“The thought of venturing unarmed and alone into one of their lonely, wild villages, and trying to preach to them about a Saviour, for whom they felt only a fanatical contempt or even hate, seemed to me a frightfully dangerous undertaking.

“Also I dreaded the squallor and the dirt, and the fact that it had been firmly emphasised to us that we must eat or drink whatever was offered to us, or we should offend the people.

“It was a good thing that we did not know at that stage, what we discovered after arrival at our destination, that the village we had chosen had just got itself into serious trouble for harbouring and supporting the leader of an Arab terrorist gang who had been raiding other villages. The gang had been allowed to store their arms in this village and the rebel chief made his headquarters there.”

The “roads” in the Arab areas were even worse. “We were now to discover what really difficult driving was like. The tracks to these villages were narrow, stony, often with jagged rocks sticking up all over them, and the way was so narrow that it was impossible to turn the car, and one simply had to go on and on whether the track came to an end or not. At the bottom of most ravines, there would be the dry bed of a mountain torrent to negotiate, and one either crashed against boulders or sank in the loose stones and everyone would have to get out and push.

“One day outside a certain Moslem village, where the track was full of immense boulders, a large party of the men of the village kindly turned out to help us push and lift the car over the rocks. On returning home, a British policeman asked where we had visited that day.  When I told him the name of the village he looked horror-struck and exclaimed, ‘Surely not! We had to take our strongest armoured car there a day or two ago, and we broke our back axle on those rocks and were stranded hours and hours. How did your weak little car get through?’

“And once, during the (Second World) war, when spare parts were no longer available, one of our front wheels went down into a deep pit and we were completely stuck. Our front outer spring was badly broken. We crawled to the nearest little town and were told we would have to crawl to Haifa, 40 miles away. So immediately, while still sitting in the car, we prayed. Then we drove to the one garage in town, explained the situation to the owner and he came out to examine the car.

A peculiar expression crossed his face. ‘You have the most extraordinary luck. In the ordinary way I could have done nothing for you, but early this morning a lorry stopped here and the driver asked if I wanted to buy some secondhand spare parts. I took all that he had and among them there is one spring from an Austin the very size you need.’

“Through it all, God supplied everything we needed–all the literature needed in the many necessary different languages; large free grants of Bibles and thousands of New Testaments. All the traveling expenses had been supplied, all necessary helpers and preachers, health, and strength. In all the thousands of miles of difficult travel we had been spared from accidents, violence, and all serious breakdowns. Our daily experiences of the Lord’s wonderful care and kindness had made life a continual joyful adventure. and above all, every single place in the country had been opened to the preaching of the gospel. We were surely the most privileged people in the land.”

Are you encouraged by this powerful story? If so, share it!

(Photo credit: Peter Pryharski on Unsplash)

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Constantine Michailidis
May 30, 2024

This is one of the most remarkable missionary testimonies I have ever read. It certainly perks up one’s faith. Praise be to Jesus!

Rose Roper
May 28, 2024

Thank you
It was an encouragement and joy to read this story

Thank you Jessica for sending it to me


Ann NMN Shaw
May 26, 2024

Hallelujah praise the

Pearl Miller
May 26, 2024

Wonderful Mighty God! Hallelujah!

May 26, 2024

The Lord used “Hinds feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard , in a most extraordinary way in my life! When we choose to fully surrender our lives to the “Good Shepherd “ He leads us to greater heights like never before!

May 25, 2024

What a wonderful and courageous story. Thank you Lord for your continual protection of these two women and their obedience to you. May our trust always be in you.

May 25, 2024

Lord thank you, Praise You Living LAMB for this powerful account of Hannah and her sisterfriend/ co worker / maidservants…wildly courageous!
So many good lessons, but awe inspiring confirmation, exhortation and yes, rebuke …where needed…even back then You were making it clear, You love everyone there, Jewish and Gentile.
Poppa, we are all weary to the core of the campus riots that have spewed the past 2 months…I know some have been praying they will all be saved…even the terrorists of 10/7/23…I have been trusting Your goodness Lord for those reports of Hamas leaders killed in recent days, that You know who will receive the truth about you or not.
But we who are called by Your name- Christian, was originally used as a derogatory label- we do not have the luxury of doing our own thing, we do Your thing – Love, each other and enemy- not the best you can but as I have loved you….
Lord, we have sinned in loving well, much and without hypocrisy, we have sinned for trading zeal for You,our Father’s House, Your Word for _______ so many other things, ask Poppa G-d to let you know what to fill in the blank.
Jesus, You are no doubt on the move and we so want to cooperate with You, to walk humbly with You, our G-d, Maker and Master.
Thank you so much for Hannah, her story, I’d never heard this about this great author! Timely inspiration indeed!

Darlene Estlow
May 25, 2024

Thank you for sharing this story. God is faithful if we obey. I was struck by the fact that Hannah told the Lord her doubts and fears and was obedient anyway. Then how God provided! What a lesson for me! Thank you.

Rich Swingle
May 25, 2024

What an encouraging and instructive story!

Lord, help us go wherever you send us, and make those you’re sending us to hungry and thirsty for You!

We visited Stella Carmel, a church on Mt. Carmel Joyce helped build. Arabs and Jews worship Isa/Yeshua/Jesus together there. Praying for more of that!

Mary Beth
May 25, 2024

“Hinds Feet on High Places” greatly impacted my life, and now I understand why – the author lived it! Thank you, Lord, for her life and ministry. May we walk in like trust and obedience!

May 25, 2024

Praise you Lord, Jesus! May your good news penetrate every human heart in Jesus Almighty name!

Darlene Abrams
May 25, 2024

Oh how powerful this is. Glory hallelujah to the Lord.!! Thank you Jesus!

Kathleen Hollinger
May 25, 2024

And I/ we shrink at the smallest fear or possible opposition! What an inspiring story of God’s faithfulness to us and His love for all people..
I say UP let us fulfill out assignments from God our Lord and Savior

May 25, 2024

What an encouraging article from the front lines!
Thank You, Lord, for Your courageous missionaries!! Help us all go where You send us! In Jesus Name -Amen!

May 25, 2024

Thank you for sharing! This is amazing!

May 25, 2024

Beautiful, strong, faith inspired story.

Father help your followers to all develop this same kind of faith and attitude. Help us to learn to Trust the Lord with all your heart, don’t depend on our own understanding. Remember the Lord in everything we do and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3: 5 & 6. You really are an amazing and faithful provider!! I worship and adore you. You alone are worthy to be praised.


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