A Heritage of Prayer
My birthplace was Portland, Oregon, and I had a beautiful mother and a handsome, hardworking father. We had a wonderful home. I never saw my parents drink alcohol or heard them fight, but I never heard them pray either.
My father had been brought up in the Apostolic Faith Church and taught to love the Lord, but the day came when he rebelled against his upbringing and chose to ignore God. When their children were born, Mom and Dad joined a neighborhood church. After each meeting, the pastor stood on the front steps and everyone shook his hand as they left the building. Then we all went home. That seemed to suit everyone just fine.
About that time, my grandmother joined with a group of women who were praying for their unsaved children. After she passed away, my dad once again attended an Apostolic Faith camp meeting with his father, and after the service, at the altar of prayer, Dad gave his life to the Lord. A week later, my mother prayed too. From that day on, our home was different.
Following the camp meeting, there was a two-week break in the service schedule in Portland so we drove to Dallas, Oregon, to attend a meeting there. When we walked into that place, I felt an aura of holiness that I had never experienced before. It registered in my eight-year-old heart. There was joy written on the faces of the people in that church. When the meeting was over, we didn’t go out and shake hands with the preacher. Instead, everybody went forward and knelt at an altar and they prayed—out loud! My dad was the last to leave the altar—something that was to become a very familiar thing to me. Though my father had never been one who prayed, from then on he made up for lost time.
Every morning at 5:30 while the oatmeal cooked, Dad would pray, and these were not quiet prayers. Even when my older brother and I moved to the opposite end of the house, we could still hear him pray.
Every morning at 5:30 while the oatmeal cooked, Dad would pray, and these were not quiet prayers. Even when my older brother and I moved to the opposite end of the house, we could still hear him pray. Then my grandfather moved in with us, and it was two of them praying. I felt the Spirit on those prayers. My dad named everyone he knew—everyone in his family and everyone at church who needed prayer. Lives were changed because of those prayers; sinners became righteous and miserable people became happy. That had an effect on me.
Also, I was affected by observing the young men in the church and watching their lives. It wasn’t long before I said, “This is what I want.” Though I was only nine years of age, I prayed a simple prayer, and God made a wonderful change in my young heart. A thrill came over my soul, and I knew I was right with God. I also knew at that early age that it was necessary to be sanctified, and when I prayed and received it, I felt like my chest would explode as that cleansing flood went through me. Later, I experienced what it means to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire.
Throughout the years, Jesus has been all I have needed. He blessed me with a wonderful wife, and we raised our three children to know about Him. It is good to live for Jesus. It’s a joy every day. Even in the midst of pain, it’s joy. At the age of twenty-six, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and I wondered how I would be able to raise my little family. They depended on me, and I was in terrible pain. One night, with the little bit of faith that I had, I told God I was going to put my trust in Him. About noon the next day, I realized I didn’t have any pain. God had undertaken, and He helped me so that I could continue to work.
Music has been a joy in my life. Songs have been my prayers, testimonies, and praises to God, and they have healed my heart when it was broken.
Music has been a joy in my life. Songs have been my prayers, testimonies, and praises to God, and they have healed my heart when it was broken. In 2004, my ability to sing was greatly reduced due to cancer. Even so, there is still a song in my heart.
A couple years later my wife of forty-three years died from cancer. Her sickness and treatments were a long valley, but God was with us. After her passing, I found a note she had written that said, “If what I am going through will make me a better person, I don’t want to waste it.” That has been my prayer as well.
A few years ago, I was in a serious car accident and ended up in the hospital with a fractured back and neck. The people of God stood by me during that time, and prayers were prayed for me by people from all over the world. I know what it is to lay without any sleep, but still be able to communicate with Jesus. I know what it is to lay in extreme pain and feel the presence of the Lord come right into the room and comfort me.
In 2013, God blessed me with another wife who also loves the Lord. As we face the challenges of aging, God is still with us. He has been there in the good times and has been even closer in the bad times, so we praise the Lord for those also. God has given me a wonderful life and a blessed assurance that I am His and He is mine.