Thursday, November 27, 2008
A Mother's Prayers
Like mother like daughter
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22 KJV
My grandmother only had a fifth grade education, but she graduated valedictorian from the School of Adversity several years in a row. She had been a child of alcoholic parents and experienced neglect and severe abuse. The trauma she endured left gaping holes in her soul. This deep inner pain drove her to God. On her knees she discovered there is power in prayer.
When her only son was serving his country in the Vietnam War, there were nights she couldn’t sleep. I remember her crying out to God, pleading for her son’s safe return. I also recall the day her prayers were answered, and when her beloved son walked through the doors of his childhood home Grandma's face was wet with tears as she thanked the Lord for answering her prayers.
There were the other times she would be singing to the Lord at top of her lungs, as she scrubbed her hot, soapy pots and pans in her kitchen sink. She was usually asking the Lord to make her a blessing to the hurting souls around her. And in just minutes, there would be a knock on her front door, and Grandma would lead them to her dining room table, give them a cup of coffee, a piece of pie and then pray for their needs.
The memory which is chiseled in my mind’s eye for all eternity is her early morning prayers. God knew every morning when the sun came up, He would find Grandma on her knees. It was during one of those early morning prayers, as I lay quietly on my little cot, I heard Grandma arguing with the Lord.
“Lord, You promised me. I don’t care what the doctors say. You promised me that she would live and not die. I’m standing on Your Word, Lord. You are not a God that can lie.”
I knew she was praying for her daughter; my mother, Bonnie. Mom was in an unhappy marriage and suffered from severe depression. Because of her mental anguish, she had lost her will to live. She had attempted numerous times to end her life. One day when my grandmother dropped over to our house. She found Mom lying unconscious on the floor. After she was taken to the hospital and stabilized, Grandma found a place to pray. We didn’t see or hear from Grandma for several hours, but when we did, she was radiant.
“God spoke to me today.” Grandma insisted. “He gave me His promise that all things will work together for good to those that love the Lord. And I love the Lord so something good is going to come out of this desperate situation. My girl is not going to die, but live.”
She dabbed the tears that spilled from her eyes with her handkerchief and continued, “And that’s not all, God assured me that I would see my Bonnie play her violin for Jesus one day in church.”
A few months later there was another suicide attempt. Mom’s doctor came to speak with our family. “I don’t know if we can save her this time. One of these times she is going to get the job done.”
Grandma bolted from her chair. Pointing her plump finger in his face she barked, “Now you listen to me, Doc. My girl is not going to die but live. God promised me. And He also told me that I would see her play her violin for Jesus in church.”
An awkward silence enveloped the room. None of us knew exactly what to do, but one thing was for certain, we were not going to cross Grandma. A few hours later the doctor reappeared to tell us that Mom had escaped death again.
It was a few years later that my mother met an elderly pastor’s wife, who had suffered with deep depression, too. This dear woman took a keen interest in my mother. Because of her love and patience, my mother found the Lord. Grandma was shouting happy. She would tell everybody who would listen that God had heard her prayers and that He had kept His promise. Beaming she declared, “He is trustworthy!”
One Saturday morning, Mom announced to Grandma that she and another lady in her church were going to have the special music for the Sunday morning worship service.
“They’ve ask me to play my violin.” Mom said. “I’m going to play What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
Grandma let out a yelp. “I knew it! I knew it! Thank you, Lord!”
I am now a pastor’s wife of thirty-one years. I’ve learned much in my Bible college classes and ministry experiences, but it was watching my grandmother’s life that taught me the most about the power of prayer. She gave me a sample, a living example of how an ordinary woman with a simple faith in an extraordinary God can move mountains.
My mother is now seventy-six years old and continues to play her violin for Jesus.
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