By Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist
Caring for my ailing mother while winding down the school year brought many anxious moments. I remember one incident in particular. I tossed and turned and sleep evaded me. I glanced at the clock, which read 3:30 a.m. In just a few hours I would be in my classroom, a job I loved, being with second graders.
At 83, Mother’s tired, frail little body tried to hold on. Thoughts plagued me. Can we keep her at home and give her the care she needs?
I regained control by repeating my favorite scriptures: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthenth me” (Philippians 4:13). …”I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
About 9:30 a.m. the father of one of my students knocked on my classroom door.
“Mrs. Clayton, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I awakened this morning at 3 a.m. with a real burden to pray for you. So I prayed for you and then I made you a cake.”
In his arms he held this beautifully decorated cake with “God bless you Mrs. Clayton” written on it.
My tears began to flow. To think this parent sacrificed his sleep and rest to pray for me alone was a great blessing, but to take the time to make and decorate a cake for me filled my heart with overwhelming gratitude.
I shared my previous earlier experience with him about awaking in anxiety over my mom, and I thanked him for his tender heart.
“Well,” he said, as he turned to leave, “I just wanted to be obedient and sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. I will continue to pray for you. And I hope this cake will give you a lift and brighten your day.”
“Brighten my day.” Talk about a lift. Beside the delicious cake, the fact this man arose at three o’clock in the morning to pray for me brought me to my knees. This parent’s considerate kindness made my day. His prayer sustained me, not only that day, but for the following days of mother’s illness.
“…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Answered prayer is not to be confused with “coincidences.” I read a bumper sticker that said, “Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.”
An anonymous writer has said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” Prayer helps to see the light, renews our faith and gives hope to the future. It keeps stability in an unstable world. Prayer releases burdens and gives peace to the soul.
I have been in situations when I could not pray for myself. It is then I am dependent upon the prayers of others. When God’s people pray, problems are put into proper perspective. Prayer sets the stage for wisdom in dealing with difficult circumstances.
Throughout the Bible I have found many “prayer warriors.” Through prayer, Nehemiah built the wall, a seemingly impossible task. Samuel kept praying for the people, despite their shortcomings. Hezekiah saved a nation through prayer. The prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:9 acknowledges God as central over our lives and that he alone is Lord over every facet of our being.
I keep the memory of that humble parent’s prayer and his cake in my heart of hearts. It is in my trunk of precious memories. His prayer lifted me up and encouraged me to “keep on keeping on,” to “fight the good fight of faith,” and to be sensitive in praying for others.
My loving savior raised up an intercessor for me at my point of deepest need. I received the strength and my mother received her heavenly reward.
Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: