Streams in the Desert: A Time-Tested Legacy of Faith and Wisdom

Streams in the Desert: A Time-Tested Legacy of Faith and Wisdom

Updated: October 26, 2016

Do you have a daily time for prayer and reflection? A time to get away from distractions and draw close to God? Maybe you’ve heard of “quiet time” but haven’t made it a habit. Now is a good time to start!

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Make Time for God

Adrian Rogers (1931-2005), an American pastor, founded Love Worth Finding ministries. He described Christianity in this way: “Christianity is not a legal relationship; it is a love relationship.”

To develop a love relationship with God, you must spend time with Him. Having a daily quiet time will deepen your relationship with God.

To have a meaningful quiet time, you need the right tools: a Bible, journal, or notepad. I use old-fashioned pen and paper to take notes, but YouVersion has free digital tools for your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”soc92″ via=”no” ]Christianity is not a legal relationship; it is a love relationship. — Adrian Rogers[/ctt]

Streams in the Desert

A good devotional book can also make your quiet times meaningful. I like Streams in the Desert by Lettie Cowman. My mother gave me her copy to read as a child, and I’ve been reading it ever since.

Published in 1925, Streams in the Desert offers timely insights and timeless wisdom to inspire your walk with God. Cowman drew inspiration for the book’s title from Isaiah 35:6:

Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.


This classic devotional can be a fountain of encouragement for you, especially as you face setbacks and struggles. Today, I want to talk about the author and how her book came about.

Who Was Lettie Cowman?

Streams in the DesertLettie Burd Cowman (1870-1960) was an American writer and missionary evangelist. She is best known for Streams in the Desert.

Her companion volume, Springs in the Valley, is also popular with readers. She wrote her books as Mrs. Charles E. Cowman.

Lettie Burd married Charles Elmer Cowman, her childhood sweetheart, in 1889. The couple left the United States in 1901 to serve as missionaries in Japan.

Together, they established the Oriental Mission Society (OMS). Eventually, the name changed to OMS International.

Today, the ministry is known as One Mission Society – “one Lord, one life, one calling.” According to the ministry website, one person comes to Christ every 31 seconds through the work of One Mission Society.

An Ambitious Evangelism Plan

With help from two of their friends – Earnest Kilbourne and Juji Nakada – the Cowmans opened two Bible institutes in Japan. They also launched the Great Village Campaign.

This evangelism initiative was later called the Every Creature Crusade. It was an ambitious plan to share the Word of God with every home in Japan.

The Cowmans managed to reach 60 million people before Charles fell ill with a heart condition. His illness forced the couple to return home to the United States.

In 1924, Charles experienced a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body. He died two months later.

A Legacy of Faith and Wisdom

After her husband’s death, Lettie Cowman continued the work they started in Japan. Over time, she expanded her outreach to Africa, South America, Cuba, and Eastern Europe.

Streams in the Desert: A Time-Tested Legacy of Faith and WisdomShe also poured herself into writing books. Before her death in 1960, Lettie wrote five more devotionals as well as her husband’s biography.

Streams in the Desert remains her most popular work, but no one expected success when it was published. In fact, the publisher planned only 3,000 copies. But God had other plans.

There are several editions in print today, in dozens of languages. It is one of the finest devotionals ever written. And Cowman gave all the credit to God.

According to One Mission Society, Cowman often said, “I did not write Streams. God gave me Streams.”

Indeed, God has encouraged millions of people through Lettie Cowman’s pen. Streams in the Desert is a legacy of faith and wisdom for all of us.

Over to You

Now it’s YOUR turn to chime in. Do you have a daily quiet time for prayer and reflection? What is your favorite devotional resource?

Let’s fill the comments with friendly conversation! Scroll down the page to leave a reply, ask a question, or just say hello.

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[ctt template=”1″ link=”h05dn” via=”no” ]Streams in the Desert: A Time-Tested Legacy of Faith and Wisdom[/ctt]

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