Mama Taught Me to Pray
When his sister was seriously ill, T.D. Jakes's tough-minded mother stormed heaven with her prayers.
She became a warrior far superior to any epic hero. She became a giant on her knees.
With a sword in one hand she battled the enemies of death and disease, and with her other hand stretched toward heaven she kept beseeching God’s help and His mercy.
Have you ever heard the sound of desperation in another person’s voice? I heard it during those days. I am sure the halls of heaven shook with the force of her intercession. She meant business–and she knew how to do business–with God. Though my mother’s prayers were intense and emotional at times, they were not based on emotion; they were based on faith. Her passionate pleas were built on her deep and intimate acquaintance with God, her years of relationship with Him, her knowledge of His Word. She knew who He was, she knew what He could do, she knew what He had promised–and she went to war for those things to come to pass in my sister’s life.
“What happened?” you ask. Let me just say that today my sister is a strong, healthy, beautiful mother and grandmother. She had an excellent education and a distinguished career in her profession. She has authored books, she is a public speaker, she is a delight to our family, and she is a trophy and a testimony to the power of prayer....
Like so many other lessons, I believe prayer is best taught by example, and I encourage you to begin passing along a prayer legacy to you children if you have not already started. A child who sees and hears you pray will learn to pray in his or her own way. You can provide guidance by encouraging children to pray before meals, when they have a test to take at school, when someone is sick, or when their feelings are hurt. You can remind them to thank God when prayers are answered. The point is to help them realize that they are not alone in life and that they can appeal to a source of help beyond their parents or any other human being. They need to know that God loves them, cares about them, wants to be involved in their lives, is cheering for them, has a great plan for their future, knows best, can be trusted, and loves to hear their voices. Teach them to talk to Him often. Tell them that they need not bow their heads, close their eyes, and fold their hands in order to be heard, but that they can commune with the Maker of the universe in the privacy of their own souls. Let them know that if they will only turn their thoughts toward God, He will listen and respond.
There will always be situations and circumstance that you cannot change for yourself or for your children. There will always be something over which you are utterly powerless–and it may be something potentially devastating. In such moments of crisis, there is no substitute for prayer and there is no source of strength and comfort like prayer. I am reminded of a line from an old song I have known for years: “King Jesus is a-listening when you pray.” Let your voice be heard in heaven–and let me assure you that God is listening when you pray.
Homework for the heart: When did you hear your mother pray? On what occasion would she talk to God? What did she teach you about prayer and communicating with Him? How does this affect the way you pray today? What would you like to tell God that you’ve been reluctant to say to Him? I encourage you to open your heart to Him and listen for His voice.