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Never Cease Praying
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As I spoke with an elderly friend at church, he shared concern for his son and grandchildren. He and his wife worked and sacrificed to provide their children and grandchildren with Christian education. They set faithful examples of living and worshiping, but the world and apathy crept in and lured the younger generations away.

“Don’t stop praying,” I encouraged, and told him the story of “Cal,” a deputy sheriff I met years ago in California.

I was gathering data on the effects of alcohol on the fetus during pregnancy for a local university. Part of my hospital route was the County Hospital where I gave out post-delivery questionnaires. I sometimes had to wait outside the Maternity Ward until all the babies were returned to the nursery following their morning feeding.

Next to the Maternity Ward was the County Prison Ward. The deputy had a desk in the hall outside the door.

“Where you from?” he asked me one day.

“Loma Linda University.”

“You must be one of those church people. Well, I tell you, I am mad at God! I don’t go to church, but my sister did. She was one of the best, most godly people you ever saw. You’d think he’d appreciate that and keep her from getting cancer or at least make her well. But he didn’t. The best person in the world died last month and I want to shake my fist in God’s face.”

Tears Filled His Eyes

Tears filled his eyes and all I could think of was “I’m sorry.” If he didn’t believe in the Bible, what comfort could I give, so I just listened.

Eventually, in our snatches of conversation, Cal started telling me about his childhood. His grandmother was a key figure. Dad kicked him out of the house at age 12 and Grandma took him in. “She was one of those church-going ladies. She knew her Bible! She knew all those stories in there like…tell me the story about that guy, what’s-his-name, and the big fish.”

There was a glut of babies that summer and the nurses rarely opened the doors on time. Cal, meanwhile, asked the hospital chaplain for two Bibles. I had no Bible-teacher training but I prayed each morning for God to give me answers to whatever questions Cal came up with that day and to find the words in the Bible that he wanted me to find. And He did.

“That’s what my Grandma taught me!” Cal exclaimed after challenging me with another question. I watched his anger at God melting away. “My Grandma always prayed for me and my sister that we would be saved. I know my sister was saved because she loved God. I didn’t think I could be saved because I’ve lived a tough life—but maybe, maybe my Grandma’s prayers are working.”

Never cease your love, your forgiveness, or your heavenly petitions. They are your most important privilege and responsibility. God never throws out an earnest prayer!

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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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