I wrote last week that my mother was dying. She passed away on Monday afternoon. And since much of my pursuit of prayer is a reflection on the Godly example she set, I thought I should say a few words in honor of her passing from this life to Eternity.
Mom was a prayer warrior. I don’t often use that term, and don’t like to see it overused or misused. Just because someone claims to pray a lot, or just because they are active in church doesn’t make them a prayer warrior. But Mom was one. She battled to be informed of the needs of those around her (and those far away, too!). She wanted to know about every concern, every heartache, every health need, every financial need, every broken relationship– not just out of curiosity, and not for gossip or condemnation– she didn’t want to miss any opportunity to pray for someone else! She wanted to listen and offer comfort, encouragement, and, occasionally, advice.
My mom loved prayer. She loved Bible study and worship, fellowship, missions, and thanksgiving, too, but she was absolutely wild about prayer! She led various Bible studies, Sunday School classes, and Ladies groups during her long and active lifetime, and each one began and ended with prayer– prayer in the preparation, prayer in asking God to direct each meeting, prayer in follow-up–Quick prayers, fervent prayers, joyful prayers and humble prayers.
Mom prayed through her worship. Often a song sung (before she got so she couldn’t sing) was a song offered as a prayer. Even the act of attending church or a wedding or funeral was an act of prayer. She said mealtime grace, morning prayers, and bedtime prayers. Her prayers were simple and sincere. And people knew that Mom prayed. They would seek her out with their requests, knowing that she would offer real support, and not just good intentions.
But what my Mom was most known for was sending greeting cards. And each one was a small prayer– a voluntary act of asking God to bless the person who would be receiving the card. She wanted God to pour out blessing, strength, encouragement, and healing to as many people as possible. Every card was saturated in prayer and appreciation– appreciation for the person, and appreciation for what God could and would do in relation to that person’s life. She sent out around 100,000 cards in her lifetime! Each one was a small act of faith, blessing, encouragement, and love.
Mom wasn’t a “super” Christian. She was an ordinary sinner saved by Grace. She wasn’t particularly gifted with money, time, writing ability or creativity– though she had some resources in each area. But she used them well. She invested in the lives of hundreds of people– time and energy and emotion–through her prayers and actions. Not because she had something to prove or because she wanted to “earn her wings” or she just felt like sending cards. She spent countless hours organizing, gathering information and addresses, and writing out the cards and envelopes each day. But it was a labor of love because she believed that God SO LOVED the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting Life (John 3:16). Her love for God was a response to His love for her, and His grace toward her…and her love for others was the overflow of the love she had received.
Mom’s passing leaves a great hole. But it also leaves an incredible opportunity. Her legacy is one of simple actions, persistent faith, and willingness to serve. God gave Mom an incredible life– nearly 90 years, and most of them full with abundant opportunities to make new friends, share God’s love, and serve her Savior.
No matter what time we have, may we have a heart to pray for others, and to grasp each opportunity to share God’s abundant and eternal love with those around us. My Mom has finished her race on Earth. It’s time for us to run the next leg!