Some events in life are so profound that they affect all our thinking and, as writers, our writing. So I hope you will pardon a very personal blog from me this month. My mother was recently called home to Heaven at the ripe old age of 87. As we met to plan her funeral, my brothers and I naturally had many things about which to reminisce from childhood upwards.
My mother’s physical health was devastated by rheumatoid arthritis from the age of 33. Despite this, she would have been astonished if anyone had applied the label “disabled” to her, even on the many days when we watched her crawl backwards down the stairs on her elbows and knees because her legs were too unsteady to walk down.
My father was away a great deal with his job, sometimes for weeks on end, and my mother carried on caring for three small children on her own with no outside help at all. Over the years she won two cancer battles and had knees and a hip replaced. Nothing ever defeated her indomitable spirit or her close relationship with and deep faith in the Lord Jesus. In her later years I often stayed with her and her sister to take care of them (by then they were both widowed and living together) and the amount of time they spent in Bible study and prayer together – at least an hour every day – has left a lasting impression on me. If they promised to pray for you, you could be sure that they did, regularly and faithfully.
I know that I don't read all the prayer letters and emails I receive, although there are some to which I have a particular commitment. I'm quite certain that people who have subscribed, for example, to my blog don't necessarily always read it - life is too short to read everything that flows into our inboxes. But I would like to reassure you, if you regularly send out newsletters or prayer updates, that though not everyone may read them, there will be some people, like my mother and aunt, who pray very faithfully for you, and who knows what God may achieve in your life and work through their prayers?
Paul knew the value of the prayers people prayed in private for him. He wrote, "It was God who preserved us from imminent death, and it is he who still preserves us. Further, we trust him to keep us safe in the future, and here you can join in and help by praying for us, so that the good that is done to us in answer to many prayers will mean eventually that many will thank God for our preservation." (2 Corinthians 1. 10-11). So I would encourage you to keep on sending out your news and your prayer requests. Someone will pray as a result, and give you cause to thank God for answered prayer.