Rees Howells Intercessor by Norman Grubb is an inspiring biography of one man's incredible walk with the Lord. I have the original edition (published in 1973). I understand that now a revised edition (published 1997 by Christian Literature Crusade, IBSN 098508 1886) is the version that is now available.
Rees was born in 1879 in South Wales. This book unfolds the story of his life, his conversion, his developing relationship with God and of his incredible intercessory experiences and ministry. Rees was a man who moved in God's power in demonstrable ways. I really love this book because it shows how this deep relationship with God developed. It presents his story in a way that leaves the reader thinking.. I can go there too.. I can do that too.
His story is shared with warmth and sometimes with humor. You will feel like you are there, walking through these experiences with Rees.
Rees learned about the importance of obeying God very early on. I believe this is a key to why his walk with God was so intimate, so filled with God's power. One of his earliest encounters was when God told him not to cover his head. In those days, it was the considered bad manners not to wear a hat. And it raised quite a stir for Rees to abstain from doing so. It got him a lot of attention.. attention he did not desire. Yet he remained faithful to obey God in this odd command. Later he developed a lifestyle of fasting and prayer. He came to really know the Father and walk close to God; he literally abandoned himself to the will of God. The book talks about the struggles God allowed Rees to go through to gain authority in intercession.. and oh what authority he gained!
Many of the incidents shared in this book will inspire you. Some will awe you and one or two may downright scare you. It gives a very accurate snapshot into an intimate walk with God... showing both the power and the sacrifices required.
One of these chapters was life-changing for me. It is the fifth chapter, entitled, "The Holy Ghost Takes Possession". It details the struggle that Rees went through to turn over Lordship of every area of his life to the control of the Holy Spirit. When I read it the first time, I was spellbound. I went back and re-read the chapter after finishing the book, as it had a deep impact on me. About a year later the Lord brought me back to the same chapter and told me I was being offered a similar choice.. He wanted total Lordship of my life, complete control. I must have read and re-read those 9 pages at least 10 times a day for about a week. I prayed over them, I cried over them. In the end I made the same choice as Rees. That was many years ago, and I have never regretted that decision.
The chapter on "The Holy Ghost Takes Possession" is very powerful. Let me share portions of it with you... First Rees discovered that the Holy Ghost is a person, not some force or anointing to be released. As a person, He has likes, dislikes, things that please Him and things that cause Him sadness. Rees says He has
"..the faculties of a Person, exactly like the Savior. He has intelligence, love, and a will of His own; and as a person, before He comes to live in a man, He must be given full possession of his body....
The Holy Spirit said to me, 'As the Savior had a body, so I dwell in the cleansed temple of the believer. I am a Person. I am God, and I am come to ask you to give your body to Me that I may work through it. I need a body for My temple (1 Cor 6:19), but it must belong to Me without reserve, for two persons with different wills can never live in the same body. Will you give Me yours? (Rom 12:1). But if I come in, I come as God and you must go out (Col 3:2,3). I shall not mix myself with your self.
He made it very plain that He would never share my life. I saw the honor He gave me in offering to indwell me, but there were many things very dear to me, and I knew He wouldn't keep one of them. The change He would make was very clear. It meant every bit of my fallen nature was to go to the Cross, and He would bring in His own life and His own nature.
It was unconditional surrender." (Pp 38-39)
The chapter goes on to share Rees' 5 day struggle to choose to die to self and allow the Holy Spirit to transform him. This was no small choice and it was not an easy one. God gave him an ultimatum.. that he must decide by 6:00 PM on the 5th day whether or not to give God total Lordship in his life. The conversation went like this..
"You have seen the position of the overcomers, but you have not yet entered into it. I have been dealing with you for five days; you must give Me your decision by six o'clock tonight, and remember, your will must go. On no account will I allow you to bring in a cross-current. Where I send you, you will go; what I say to you, you will do." It was the final battle on the will.
"I asked Him for more time," Rees continued, "but He said, 'You will not have a minute after six o'clock.': :'You gave me a free will,' I answered, 'and now you force me to give it up.'
'I do not force you,' He replied, 'but for three years have you not been saying that you are not your own, and that you wanted to give your life back to the Savior as completely as He gave His life for you? ... You are not forced to give up your will,' He said again, 'but at six o'clock I will take your decision. After that you will never get another chance.' It was my last offer, my last chance!" (P. 42)
It was quite a struggle for Rees. "I looked at the clock. It was one minute to six. I bowed my head and said, 'Lord, I am willing.'" At that point God came in and such a transformation occurred in Rees.
My own experience was a somewhat similar. God asked me three times and on the third time He told me that He would not make the offer again. I identified with many of the experiences Rees went through with the Lord. I related to the one I just shared the most. It may be that you will relate more closely to some other of the experiences shared in this book. But I am confident that if you are a person who loves the Lord and are committed to serving Him, you will identify with and relate to many of the experiences shared here. This book is a "must read."[Previous Article] [Next Article]