Though I cannot credit any one person for teaching me the ways of Christ, there are a handful of people who certainly did more than their share! First and foremost, my mom was, and continues to be, an incredible influence for me spiritually. My paternal grandmother prayed like no one I have ever seen before or since. Miss Betty had an absolutely amazing gift for opening her home and ministering to weary souls. And my friend, Martha, has a way of getting through to me when other people cannot – and she happens to show up at just the right time. It is uncanny!
Prayer Changes Us
Previously, I shared how Miss Betty influenced me by her hospitality, and I will share another of her special life lessons next time. But, today, I wish to highlight how Miss Betty’s life proved that prayer not only changes our circumstances, but it changes us.
Even if we are not praying for our needs, we are going to be changed by the very act of humbling ourselves, repenting of our sins, and going before God the Father. We cannot remain in sin and have open communication with the Lord (Psalm 66:18).
I can remember Miss Betty talking about how Jesus went away early in the morning to commune with His Father, thus freeing Him to be available to minister to others during the day. She followed this example closely. Seldom, if ever, did my visits interrupt her prayer time, but I could tell she had prayed that day! She used to pray with a friend over the phone every morning. After she had retired, she found her way into multiple prayer groups and Bible studies. When you walked into her home, you felt peace. You simply knew someone had been praying in that house.
I Am Not Going to Have Any More Bad Days
When I was about eleven-years-old, I remember Miss Betty making a rather odd statement. She said, “I decided I am not going to have any more bad days.” Can she control that?! As I consider all the hours she spent before the Lord, I would say, yes, she could. Because she began her days in the presence of God, she had the strength to withstand temptation and deal with trials.
She had plenty of opportunities to declare, “This is a bad day!” – especially towards the end of her husband’s life. His health would rise and fall, and we never knew what to expect next. Still, through it all, she remained faithful and content in her heart. Someone going through such a roller coaster could not remain steady and at peace without the presence of much prayer in her life.
Prayer Made it Possible
I am sure Miss Betty spent a lot of time talking to me about the power of prayer, but it was watching how prayer changed her life which made the biggest impact on mine. Prayer changes the atmosphere of a home. Prayer gave her the strength to get through a decade of her husband’s constant health problems. Prayer gave her the ability to be bold and speak up for Christ. Prayer made it possible for her to minister to scores of people throughout her life. Prayer made it possible for her to get good rest. Prayer is what kept that sweet and Godly countenance on her face through it all.
When I am grumpy, unhappy, and listless, I know I have not been praying enough. During those times, I am clearly not being led by the Spirit. When we repent and receive what God has for us (e.g., joy, wisdom, hope, etc.), we do not have room for murmuring and negativity.
It seems like Miss Betty’s teachings shine brighter now to me than they did when she was still here. I want them to be a part of me until God calls me home. I am honored to have been one of the students who she touched with her amazing life.
Who do you know who prays so fervently that is radiates on his or her face?