An excerpt from The Power of Spoken Blessings, by Bill Gothard
One day in 1874, at a Gypsy encampment in a place called Epping Forest in England, a carriage drove up with two Americans inside. The two men were accustomed to being surrounded by large crowds in nearby London, for they were none other than the famous evangelist Dwight L. Moody and his musical partner, Ira Sankey. By the prevailing social conventions of the time, however, Gypsies could not expect to be welcomed at the evangelistic meetings the men were holding. Moody and Sankey, therefore, took the gospel out to them.
As the two men stopped and talked to some of the Gypsies, a group of boys gathered beside the carriage. Ira Sankey reached out and touched the head of one of the youths. "The Lord make a preacher of you, my boy."
The prospects for that coming true, however, seemed dismal at best. The boy, whose mother had died a few years earlier of smallpox, was barely literate and not yet even a Christian, though his father had recently found faith in Christ.
Fifteen years later, Ira Sankey was living in Brooklyn when a rising young British evangelist landed in New York on his first visit to America. He was soon introduced to Sankey, who took him on a carriage drive.
As they passed through Brooklyn's Prospect Park, the evangelist asked Sankey about the meetings with Moody in London years before, and whether he recalled driving out to a Gypsy camp. Sankey replied that he did.
"Do you remember that some little Gypsy boys stood by the wheel," the evangelist continued, "and that, leaning over, you put your hand on the head of one of the them and said, 'The Lord make a preacher of you, my boy'?"
"Yes, I remember that, too."
"I am that boy."
Sankey's joy overflowed! And the British evangelist - soon to be well known around the world as "Gypsy" Smith - continued in a ministry that lasted nearly seventy years, influencing millions of lives. For Gypsy Smith, the words Sankey spoke from the carriage that day became an enduring statement of blessing.
It was true in the 1800s and is still true today: Our words have incredible power.