Let me tell you a true story.
The burden of a mother’s heart, who can weigh it? The shoulders stoop, the brows furrow, the tongue clicks, often despairing but never voicing, as she soldiers on, bearing the worry that often keeps her awake into the wee hours of the night when all are still in the quietness of sleep.
As meek as she was, he was brash. His demeanour was of the coarse slang of liquor bars. Profanity projected out of his mouth like a river of lava from a spewing volcano. Tobacco-tainted breath made speaking face to face with him only bearable by a mother's love. The house would know peace only when he slumbered from the after-effects of heavy drinking, and even then, his rasping snore bellowed enough to rob sleep.
At this time, she would be found on her knees, petitioning, lamenting, and crying for a change that would bring peace. Day after day, month after month, the years stretched into each other. Through his broken marriage and isolation, she soldiered on. And then it came! To some, it may have seemed the sowing was being reaped. The life of debauchery was making its mark finally. It would seem that the poor mother’s heart, seared by years of grief, would rend at this final judgement: her son was incurably sick. But wait! She was rejoicing! For quietness came to him in the aftermath of the diagnosis. Reason seemed to talk to him.
Finally, he bowed in confession and acceptance. He would receive his just desserts, but not before returning to his childhood teachings and admitting to his prodigal life. “God had been throwing pebbles at me”, he avowed, “the only way He could get my attention was to throw a brick. I realised He loves me too much to let me be”. The transforming power of a mother’s prayer was making its mark!
The theme of the 2023 International Women's Day of Prayer is “Transformed by Prayer”. Heather-Dawn Small, director for Women’s Ministries at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, urges us to consider the change that prayer brings in its wake. An invitation has been issued to all humanity, big and small, to come into God’s presence just as we are. We may enter broken, and heads bowed low, but we will leave with heads held high and spirits revived when we have had true communion with God. While we may worry at our unworthiness to repair broken communications with loved ones this side of heaven, the heavenly door is always wide open.
Sometimes we may approach prayer with trepidation, fearful of meeting similar rejections from the world around us. Habitual negative self-talk may close heaven’s view to our eyes.
Looking at the size of our problems obliterates the vision of how big our God is, raising to mind the question of whether we are really expecting an answer. The mother clearly did. Her son went from the likeness of a liquor bar brawler to one so transformed old friends had difficulty recognising him. And he would live!
Nilde Itin, associate director for Women’s Ministries at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, said, “A life of transforming prayer does not only change us spiritually. It has a positive influence on all the dimensions of our existence. It impacts our whole being”.
In line with the International Women’s Day of Prayer on March 4, we are invited to really look to God as we pray, finding renewal in our minds and making way for God to reveal His power because we pray. Thus we are transformed!