Stories of people who really know how to pray, inspiring and uplifting others as a result
Posted in , Apr 25, 2017
Joe Hill is a successful young author today. Though he chose that pen name to avoid “cashing in” on his parents’ fame, he nonetheless learned from them—authors Stephen and Tabitha King. And as a 16-year-old, future President Bill Clinton was inspired to enter politics after meeting President John F. Kennedy at the White House.
The Bible is likewise full of examples of people who charted a path in the footsteps of another, from Joshua to Paul’s protégé, Timothy. Something similar can happen to you, drawing inspiration from praying people.
When I asked my friends on social media to share examples of the “prayingest” people in their lives, here were some responses: Karen, who lives in Georgia, said of her grandmother Mary, “The family joke was that if we were traveling home, the first call was to Gramma to let her know we arrived safely so she could get off of her knees. We knew we were covered by prayer.”
Edie, from Pennsylvania, can’t even remember their names. But she knew an elderly couple about 40 years ago; the wife was in an interfaith neighborhood Bible study in which Edie participated. “Whenever she heard of a need, she would ask for the name of the person. She would never write it down. When I commented on it, she said that every morning she and her husband would pray for everyone they knew in need, and that God would always bring back to her memory all of those names.”
Deb and Charlotte, sisters from southwest Ohio, remember their pastor father’s prayers. “I used to listen to him pray,” Deb says, “joining in my spirit, and it seemed there was such an intense connection to God, like they were Father and son, brothers, best friends. He often prayed the scriptures that flowed freely from his memory and praised the Lord, thanked the Lord, confessed and repented and petitioned the Lord on behalf of hundreds of people and churches. He prayed for the wandering, searching, struggling, lost, sick, widows, prisoners, surgery-bound, marrying, newborn, divorcing, ministering, as well as family and himself. I can still see his furrowed forehead and passion in his face, often using his hands or folding them on his well-worn Bible. I can hear his bass voice pleading the promises and the blood of Jesus over people, sometimes lilting into song.”
John, who lives in Texas, identifies his wife as the “prayingest” person he knows. “She prays constantly. She weeps when she prays for those who are hurting. She smiles when she prays praise to God. She never goes a day without praying for our children and our grandchild.”
Ohioan Jill Morris cites the example of her friend, Rosalyn who “prays constantly and anywhere anytime. When I feel overwhelmed, she will pull me down to my knees and fervently pray.”
Kristi, from Arizona, has been inspired by “Bible Bill” in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. “If you see him and say hi,” she says, “he will pray for you and any problem you have.”
Judith lives in Illinois. She once interned with a pastor named Ting who “would spend hours in her office. Being a task-person, I asked her what she was accomplishing. ‘Everything,’ she said. She was praying. It took me almost 10 years to fully appreciate this.”
Alaskan Denise remembers a woman at her church in Akron, Ohio. “I was very young—in elementary school—but Mrs. Tyree seemed to my young eyes to be always in prayer. I can remember once she had been sitting for a long time and not moving, and I thought she was dead because she was so old. I went to her and asked if she was okay. She slowly turned her head, looked me in the eye, and placed her hand over mine. ‘Just prayin' child, prayin'." I nearly jumped out of my skin.
Finally, Candice from Ohio cites the woman whose example most influenced her prayer life. “My grandmother died on her knees. Praying. She knew her time was coming. When the paramedics came, she had not moved. She was simply kneeling in prayer and died there…at age 79.”
Like some of these, many people would cite an older person as the “prayingest” person they know. That may be because older folks have more time to pray. But I think it’s also because it takes experience and maturity to fully understand how critical—and powerful—prayer is. And, as with any habit or skill, the more we practice, the better we get.