Thirty Years of Praying Rewarded
This article was originally published in the January 1987 edition of our magazine.
There is a song that says, “If I could only tell of Jesus as I know Him. . . I am sure that you would make Him yours today.” That is why I like to tell what God has done for me.
As a little girl, I used to go into the bedroom on many nights and kneel beside my Christian mother as she was praying. I believe Jesus remembered those prayers in later years, and I’m glad He did. The truths of the Bible were planted in my heart from my wonderful mother, and also from Sunday school and church. Someday I would meet God—I never got away from that fact, and I wanted to go to Heaven.
As a young girl, I was saved, but I somehow missed the necessity of praying to keep the treasure in my heart. One day I realized by my actions that I was not saved. Right then I should have turned to the Lord, told Him I was sorry, and asked Him to save me again. Instead, I quit going to church. At eighteen years old I married a nice young man named Jim, and life went on.
Through the years, I was pretty careful about doing things I knew would have to be straightened out if I did get saved. But I could not control my temper or keep myself from taking God’s name in vain when I was angry. Eternity did bother me, so I kept very busy so I wouldn’t have time to think about it.
Time went by. One Sunday when I was twenty-nine years old, I went to church again with my mother, and God called me. At the close of the meeting, I handed my baby to my mother and went forward to pray. Although I did not get saved that day, I had seen my need and I began to seek God earnestly. I kept seeking until I knew that I was a Christian—born again!
Salvation was just the first taste. Soon I heard a sermon on the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians about the love that God could give to His people. That day, He put that love into my heart when He sanctified me. Then I prayed a long time for the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and one day I felt that fullness of His Spirit come in. I still start my prayers thanking the Lord for my baptism. It was just that good.
Jesus was the best Friend in our family. Our four daughters and I called on Him for every kind of problem.
Jesus was the best Friend in our family. Our four daughters and I called on Him for every kind of problem. One time our oldest daughter was knocked down by a pickup truck, and got up unhurt. Another time our fourteen-year-old came into the house while it was being burglarized and heard someone run out the door. The Lord was our great Physician, sometimes instantly healing us. He took a big wart off our daughter’s foot just overnight. One time I had pneumonia and was sick a long time, but the Lord healed me. The Lord has done so many things for us.
All of our daughters gave their hearts to the Lord when they were still young. And if my husband Jim could have been talked into becoming a Christian, he surely would have been by our daughters and myself. He did come to church and even prayed twice, but never gave God a chance. He was always occupied with business and restless. He traveled all over the world.
Living with an unsaved husband wasn’t always easy, but the Lord was a good teacher. One memorable time soon after I was saved, I said something to Jim that made him angry. I quoted from the Bible, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” I can still remember the look on his face. He stopped and did not say one more word. A long time later, I said something a bit sharply to him and he reminded me, “Ah, ah—a soft answer.” That was quite a lesson!
For thirty years I prayed for my husband. Sometimes the Lord must use drastic measures in order to get someone’s attention. After one of his trips to Europe, Jim had a stroke. It affected his language but not his memory. Our pastor came to see him and was talking to him about the Lord. My husband said, “You’ve got to have something there,” pointing to his heart.
Jim began to go to church and pray. And one day he found that “something”—something so great he would tell everyone he met about it! His ability to speak was limited by the stroke, but seldom anyone escaped without hearing about “the wonderful day” or “the wonderful change.” He sat on the front row at church and would testify in just a few words, ending with “I love you all.”
This love for others proved the change in Jim. I had a good friend whom he had never liked through the years. He treated her deplorably. After he was saved, he told her many times that he was sorry. One day I said, “You’ve already told her.” He said, “Get her on the phone again.”
Jesus told in the Bible about working in the vineyard. Some stood idle until the eleventh hour. It was the eleventh hour of my husband’s life when he was saved. He lived about a year longer, and I believe he gave more testimonies for the Lord in that year than some people give in their whole lifetime. But the wonderful mercy of the Lord is that the pay—Heaven—is the same for those who worked from the first hour.
Am I glad I gave God my life? Of course! It has proved to be the very best way.