Back to Preachers Index
"Evangelistic and Hymn Writer"
"I felt not the slightest inclination at the time that the answer would be 'yes,' for it was no small matter to resign a well-paying job, break up my home and move to a strange city." Ira Sankey on his initial reaction to Moody's invitation to join him in evangelistic work."
When Sankey, as a teenager, trusted Christ as his Saviour during a revival campaign in Edenburg, Pennsylvania, no one realized how many others would be brought into Gods fold because of his ministry. Sankey was a Sunday school superintendent and a popular singer but was comfortably settled in his secular career.
During a YMCA conference in 1870, God brought Moody and Sankey together. When Moody heard Sankey sing, he said, "I want you to help me with my work in Chicago. I have prayed for you for eight years!" After a little time passed, Sankey became convinced that God was in the move, and he abandoned his career to join Moody's work.
After just a few months, the Chicago fire of 1871 destroyed the city and Moody's buildings. Undaunted, the evangelist raised the funds to rebuild, and the singer stayed on. Sankey rose to international fame during Moody's crusade in England. His music brought conviction and comfort to thousands of listeners.
His songs were so popular that a hymnal selling for six cents produced profits of $388,000 for the publisher. Moody and Sankey returned to the United States and conducted great revivals in this country as well.
Sankey continued to compose music. His most famous works are: "The Ninety and Nine," "Hiding in Thee," "A Shelter in the Time of Storm," and "Faith Is the Victory."
Sankey's health broke at the time of Moody's death. He went blind and spent the last years of his life in his home in Brooklyn. Shortly before his death, F. B. Meyer paid him a visit and asked him to sing. Sankey felt his way to the organ and began, "There'll be no dark valley when Jesus comes..."
In August, 1908, the great singer's faith became sight as he entered the presence of the Lord.