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The power of a praying grandma

I dedicate the following story to those of you who are laboring in prayer for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters—anyone and everyone near and dear to you—who seem to be disinterested in the things of God, who might even appear to be growing more and more closed off to the Lord.

My grandma was the only light in the family for years and years and through her untiring witness and prayers, God supernaturally pulled me out of the darkness in which I was drowning, and set me upon the Rock of my salvation. And even though my grandma is no longer here, those prayers she prayed are still before God, still powerful, and still moving on the hearts and minds of her other grandchildren—whether they know it or not—and now this granddaughter is in full agreement with those decades-old prayers.

My grandma was a Southern Baptist dynamo. She was so passionate about her family having a saving relationship with Jesus that the majority of them despised her for it. Sure, they loved her, but they thought she was a religious fanatic, and she made them very uncomfortable.  And they let her know it.

Grandma’s three daughters all pulled out of the Oklahoma dust-bowl Depression to put themselves through college. Each one married intellectual men—my mom married an engineer and my two aunts married professors (one of whom was rumored to be a card-carrying member of the Communist party). Grandma’s pleas of “Are you saved?” rubbed every one of them the wrong way, but she didn’t care. As a kid, I was fascinated by the dynamics and secretly admired her refusal to be bullied out of what was widely viewed by the family to be an offensive and ridiculous stance. I loved my grandma and never felt threatened by her faith.

Grandma, I am sure, prayed nearly as much as she preached, and years later, even though the others in my generation of the family seemed to embrace worldviews far different than hers, I was still seeking.

One night, during a particularly stressful Christmas break, I was sitting in a bar getting drunk as quickly as I could. My friends, all dolled up, were on the prowl for good-looking guys, but I wanted nothing of that. You see, my step-grandma (my dad’s step-mom) had just passed away, and days before Christmas I had surgery to remove a large mass from my breast. As a nineteen year old, right before I went into surgery, I was required to sign a paper stating that the doctors could remove the breast if cancer was found. Although I was relieved to learn that the mass was benign, I was not in a good frame of mind.

So there I was, in a bar that served 19 year olds, getting drunk and spiraling down into cynicism and despair. I absent-mindedly watched as the band played song after song and the patrons danced in front of the musicians. When I noticed that the revelers were swaying with their arms lifted up, I heard a voice in my ear, “Lifted hands are a sign of worship.”

I dropped my head and said, “I’m in hell.”

Days later, while alone at my parents’ home, Jesus visited me, and Grandma’s prayers were answered.

Don’t you give up on your loved ones. Prayers over distance and time are powerful tools in the hand of God. You can be sure that He is working behind the scenes on behalf of a loved one—or a nation—if you don’t grow weary and give up. Stick with it. Don’t quit!