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Frank W. Smith
Pastor, General Chairman of OBC (1938-1947)

I didn’t have the privilege of sitting under the ministry of Frank W. Smith, a man of legendary status in Open Bible, but I’ve heard stories of his great faith and compassionate heart. At First Church of the Open Bible in Des Moines, Iowa, where he pastored for 37 years, when someone tells a story about “Brother Smith,” it is told with a mixture of love and deep respect.

“He prayed for my dad, who had been diagnosed with cancer,” said one friend. “My mom was pregnant with me at the time, and Dad had been told he would not live to see me born. Dad was healed, and lived to see me as well as my younger brother grow to adulthood. He even met his grandkids.”

Others told how Brother Smith had lovingly counseled them through trying times. A story I will never forget, however, is one he told while speaking at one of our chapels at Open Bible College. Pastor Smith had been conducting his normal hospital visits, checking on church members, when he found himself in an elevator with an extremely agitated young man. Pastor Smith introduced himself and asked the man if he could help him
in any way.

The young man retorted bitterly, “Do for me!? What could you possibly do for me? I just lost my wife.” With all the empathy of a loving father, Brother Smith placed his arm around the man’s shoulder and started to intercede – in heartfelt, genuine prayer. When he had finished praying, Brother Smith again asked the young man, who now had tears in his eyes, if there was anything he could do for him.

“Do for me?” the man asked. “Man, you just did it all.”

Dave Skelton, whose ministry we feature in this issue, said, “Compassionate, sensitive prayer is the most potent thing one can do for another. The most powerful thing we can do is to bring someone into the presence of the Lord.”

We make sharing the gospel too hard at times. We think we need to memorize the right words, to have all the answers. But what we need to do most is bring people into God’s presence. He knows how to minister to a person’s deepest needs.

“We may not get immediate answers to prayer,” Dave says, “but prayer always leaves that person with an experience of Jesus’ love for them.”

About The Author

Andrea Johnson
Managing Editor

In her spare time you will most likely find Andrea Johnson with family or friends, or outdoors hiking. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with four children and five grandchildren.