I'm back in South Carolina for my grandma's 100th birthday. This is the speech that my dad will give for his mom. He told me that he wanted to speak on how he always remember his mom praying. He had a few stories to tell but none of them flowed together and there was no over arching meta-narritave. There were basically some unrelated facts. So I went to work, did some mind mapping, and diagramming. I spent some time editing and rewriting and this is what I ended up. It has a few notes about how it's to be read and when he should pause. Speker notes so to speak. You can just ignore those.
It's actually a pretty amazing tale of God's faithfulness in honoring those who pray. I hope you enjoy it!
And with that, I'll let my dad get to talking about dear old 100 year old mom!
I want to start off saying thanks to all of you for coming out to share this joyous moment with our families. I..m glad that you are here.
But there are some people who are no longer with us. They have, in a very real way, made this celebration possible. There are those who played an important role in todays jubilation. Their stories are all stitched together by a common bond and weave together a singular tale of our God and Savior, Christ Jesus, honoring his word and blessing those who pray. This is their story.
As a child, I had it pretty good. Like most kids, growing us was a time of exploration and learning. It was a time when my impressions of the world were being shaped. Most of my childhood is a bit fuzzy and hard to remember. Perhaps, Mom, if I had listened to you and taken more vitamins this would not be a problem. However, one memory that I do recall, vitamins or not, are summer and winters on Gamps farm in Jesup.
The time spent on the farm was great. Rex and I spent time doing things young boys should do. We spent our time hunting squirrels, picking and eating grapes, learning to drive, and tempting fate by jumping over cow pies. But the thing that I remember most was Sunday.
Sundays on the farm were special days. Those were church days. There was a small church that had been built on land Gamp had donated. I don..t recall the pastor, the sermons, or the peoples names...What I do remember is people praying. And not only people praying, but how they prayed.
Usually, when people pray, they take turns. For some reason the members of this church would all pray, out-loud, and at the sametime! As a young kid I was left with a sense of confusion and fear. All these people talking at once and I could not understand any of them. Yet I was also left with a sense of awe that God could hear all these prayers and understand each and everyone of them.
While I did not fully grasp what was going on, I KNOW it was something POWERFUL. And while I don..t know for sure what they were praying for, I KNOW they included prayers for mom and Gamp.
But there was something strange about this noise at church. If followed me back to farm. Without fail, every night, I awoke to the noise of prayer. It was Gamp. He would pray ever night. And he would pray loud enough to WAKE ME! Now, granted, he was losing his hearing, but the point is that I was starting to see a pattern of prayer. First at the church, now at Gamps farm. As a young kid I was left with a sense of confusion. Why would Gamp pray so much? Yet I was also left with a sense of awe that God would actually listen to Gamp pray every night.
While I did not fully grasp what was going on, I KNEW it was something IMPORTANT. And while I don..t know for sure what Gamp was praying for, I KNOW they included prayers for mom.
I was only 13 when my dad passed away. This left my mom to raise me and Rex. As I look back over the past 62 years, I have often wondered how mom did such a fine job raising her kids. All of my siblings love the Lord. What had she done? How did she get us all on the straight and narrow?
The answer is simple. She prayed.
Mother, unlike Gamp, was silent and still in her prayers. Almost every-night I found her lost in the pages of scripture. I found her silently praying to God. As a young kid I was left with a sense of peace. There was no noise or confusion. Yet I was also left with a sense of awe that God heard not only the loud, but the silent.
While I did not fully grasp what was going on, I KNEW it was something SERIOUS. And while I don..t know for sure what mom was praying for, I KNOW they included prayers for her kids.
In the 66 books that make up Holy Scripture James tells us ..The prayer of a righteous person has great power... I know of no greater example in all the pages of scripture than the prayer from the righteous man Joshua. Joshua was engaged in a raging war with the Amroites, and in the heat of battle he took time to pray. With a faith that I can only hope for, Joshua called out and commanded the Sun and Moon to stand still. And in this moment we see the great power from the prayers of a righteous person. Because of Joshuas prayer ..the sun stood still, and the moon stopped... It says ..The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day... And it says ..There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD obeyed the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for His people...
In my life, I know of know greater example of prayer than my mother. Her story started with the rumble of saints in a small church. Their faithful prayers gave way to my grandfathers prayers. And his prayers led to my mothers prayers. This is the legacy that she has been part of. Don..t miss this. Sure she has seen presidents come and go. She has seen the world change. She has seen wars and peace. But more than anything else, she has been part of the only history that matters. She has played a part in God..s story of redemption.
Mom, thank you for praying. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me the best gift of all. I KNOW, and I don..t know too many things, BUT THIS I KNOW that it..s is because of your prayers that I love Christ.
Mom, thank you for praying. This world is not always a kind place. It has its share of sorrow and troubles. It has its share of heartache and suffering. It can be a chaotic and unpredictable place. There have been many times in my life when I feel thing have spun farrrrr beyond my control. In those times when I feel the weight of this world and my universe is crashing in around me. Mom, by your silent example, you have show me how to stop the sun and moon. I picture you in your silent prayers and know that the LORD listens to and fights for his people.
And that..s not the end of this story. The drama of redemption and the pattern of prayer goes on.
Mom, because of your prayers; Jimmie prays, Pat Prays, Rex Prays, and I pray. And the prayers of your children, like tributaries flowing together to form a raging torrent, have formed a torrent of prayer. Because, not only do your children pray, but their families pray. Pat and Rich pray for their 3 children who pray for their 9 grandchildren, Jimmy and Eveylin pray for their 2 children, Linda and I pray for my 4 children, and Rex and Jan...They..ve got 3 dogs and 2 cats they pray for...
Happy 100th birthday mom! I love you. Thank you for giving me the gift of prayer.