My mom, younger brother, and I lived with my grandmother from the time I was 5 years old until I started the 5th grade at 10 years old. As my two cousins will testify, “Mamaw” knew The Lord in a very special way.
My sweet Grandmother had a habit of kneeling beside the bed at night and praying to her Savior. She often prayed softly, but loud enough so that I heard my name being presented to the throne room of Heaven. There were times, I felt if I opened my eyes , I would see her and Jesus having a cup of tea while they talked.
Her prayers affect me to this day even though she died Christmas Eve 1976. This was only 4 months after my conversion from atheism to a follower of Christ. As she lay in the hospital bed, I asked The Lord to let her sleep so she would not be in pain and the confusion of Parkinson’s disease. I got news of her death after I left the hospital and arrived at home where my wife and 2-month old daughter waited for me.
That exact prayer for God’s mercy would happen years later for my saintly mother, who died from a lung infection. My prayer was, “Lord, let her sleep to escape the pain of death.” The doctors asked the family to say our good-byes. When it came my turn, I trembled. My mother had been praying for 10 years for my return to the Lord. She often asked me when I was going to come back to the faith I once knew. Lately, I had begun to feel that familiar pull of the Holy Spirit to repent of my sins and receive forgiveness.
The Lord was knocking hard on the door of my heart. A lump the size of my fist was stuck in my throat as I approached this beautiful woman who also knew the Lord. Here lay the woman who gave me life and was the sweetest non-obtrusive woman I had ever known. She was only moments away from the penalty passed upon all….death. We would be separated, perhaps forever.
Years earlier, after my conversion, she and I had studied the Bible about the resurrection and the coming of Jesus. It was in this study we saw the plan for those who die in Christ. The clearest verse is found in 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18 (GW)
The Lord will come from heaven with a command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the dead who believed in Christ will come back to life. Then, together with them, we who are still alive will be taken in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. In this way we will always be with the Lord. So then, comfort each other with these words!
When I leaned in close to my Mom who seemed to be at peace, but under the influence of the drugs to help soften the sting of death, I said these words through wet tears dripping on her hand. I held her soft sweet hands close to my face.
“Mom, I will see you resurrection morning.”
Immediately, I felt a squeeze of her hand! Twice! That tightening of her hand had strength despite the drugs and impending death. It communicated the unspoken words, “You better be there.”
Like those who see their life pass before their eyes when they think they are about to die, I recounted my fall from grace. My fall had been dramatic just like my conversion. When converted, I was compelled to teach others about what I had learned. I became a Bible teacher with a very large class. I got involved in prison ministry and a world-wide magazine did a story on my ministry. A Christian brother (Charlie) and I began a radio ministry called Answers from Scripture. When Billy Graham came to town, I participated in training to become a counselor. For several nights, I had the incredible experience of working next to Jesus and the Graham team to help people start their “Jesus Journey.”
I did things under the power of God I never dreamed likely or possible.
But, a series of events in 1994 had me shaking my fist at God. I felt He had forsaken me and I turned back to the world and began to drink for the first time in my life. I became an alcoholic after infidelity from my wife, a sick child with a rare disease, divorce, loosing my job, and the death of my father in a car wreck.
I was so low, that I could not feel God’s presence any longer, but He was there protecting me and hearing the prayers of these two powerful women in my life….not to mention many others in my church and my family.
This experience with my dying mother would only make louder that “still small voice.” Later, that year, I would return like the prodigal son…dirty, broke, and doubtful. That is a story unto itself. My God had not forsaken me! He allowed me to waste my inheritance for the salvation of my soul.
My experience is now firmer than ever before….in Christ, but I know that the prayers of these two beautiful women interceded for me and prayed in my stead when I could not or would not do so.
(For my three-part conversion story, click here:)
Last night (New Year’s eve 2015), I felt that same feeling of hearing my name being presented to The Lord. Just like I heard from my grandmother and my mother years before.
My beautiful wife of almost two years (Judy) has a tradition of praying at midnight each new year. (What a contrast to the parties and drinking that I once indulged.) I tried to stay up till midnight, but we both feel asleep.
I was awaken by a soft touch on my arm and the sound of my beloved wife praying for me at midnight. She said The Lord woke her at 11:55 PM to pray.
There is nothing more powerful than a praying and believing woman! It was the women during Christ’s time on earth, that were closer and more loyal than the fearful men. These women dared the enemy of man and his agents, by standing at the foot of the cross to comfort the dying Savior. Except for John, the disciples had all fled.
I am blessed by the prayers of a Grandmother, Mother, and now my wife who encourages me along in my “Jesus Journey.” Also, those two female cousins I mentioned at the start, also pray for me!
Thank you, Judy, for carrying the prayer torch into another year and for praying for me…and my children. May I come to know the Lord like the women in my life.
Yes, I am blessed by the women in my life. But, I bet you are too!
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous (woman) avails much.”