Shortly before Buchman's second visit to China, Henry Wright was responsible for another important step in his development. While based at Hartford, teaching and gathering his team, Buchman used to travel four hours each way, once a week, to attend Wright's lectures at Yale. On the wall of Wright's lecture room he was confronted with Moody's words:

'The world has yet to see what God can do in, for, by and through a man whose will is wholly given up to Him.' Wright never began a lecture until two minutes had been spent silently considering those words. Then he would say, 'Will you be that man? Will you be that man?', and would always link his challenge with the Bible verse, 'I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.'

Buchman said of those sessions, 'It took me six weeks until I came to absolute conviction and yielded myself to that principle.' Exactly what he meant is not known, but it was evidently a profound commitment - a break-out from a narrow to a universal conception of Christianity - for in repeating the phrases used by Moody and Wright, he always laid stress on the words 'world' and 'all'. This may have been the source of his thought of 'turning nations Godwards', and could help to account for the steadiness which kept him working towards this vision despite the setbacks which were to occur at different times throughout his life.

Perhaps it was also the origin of the quality to which Henry van Dusen of Union Theological Seminary later referred: 'Frank Buchman belongs to the tiny company of the centuries who have known themselves summoned to the surrender of all to the exacting demand of the Divine Will, and who, making that surrender, have pressed on through darkness and light in immovable confidence in the Divine Guardianship of their destiny. A like surrender he requires of every person who would share intimately in the leadership of his work.'8

Buchman's most immediate interest in these years in Penn State, Hartford and China was in studying and practising how to win individuals to God. Here another influence upon him was Henry Drummond, the Scots geologist and evangelist who in his undergraduate treatise Spiritual Diagnosis pioneered the science, as he liked to call it, of helping individuals one by one. Drummond contrasted the detailed clinical work required of every medical student with the total absence in the theological curriculum of 'any direct dealing with men'. Yet, he maintained, a minister could do far more by learning how to help individuals than by preaching sermons. Drummond's phrases were liberally used by Buchman in his talks in China and he is much quoted in Soul Surgery, the little book published in 1919 in which Howard Walter summarised his and Buchman's experience of life-changing. Soul Surgery was intended as an outline of a fuller book which the two friends planned to work upon at Hartford after the second visit to China, a hope frustrated by Walter's death in 1918.