The Essentials of Prayer is a message of meditation based on the Bible and written by Edward McKendree Bounds (August 15, 1835 – August 24, 1913) prominently known as E.M. Bounds, was an American author, attorney, and member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South clergy.
He is known for writing 11 books, nine of which focused on the subject of prayer. Only two of Bounds' books were published before he died. After his death, Rev. Claudius (Claude) Lysias Chilton, Jr., grandson of William Parish Chilton and admirer of Bounds, worked on preserving and preparing Bounds' collection of manuscripts for publication. By 1921, Homer W. Hodge completed additional editorial work.
Edward McKendree Bounds was born on August 15, 1835, in Shelbyville, Missouri. He is the son of Thomas Jefferson and Hester A. (née Purnell) Bounds. In the preface to E.M. Bounds on Prayer, published by Hendrickson Christian Classics Series over 90 years after Bounds' death, it is surmised that young Edward was named after the evangelist, William McKendree, who planted churches in western Missouri and served as the fourth bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was the fifth child, in a family of three sons and three daughters.