If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again

On Mother’s Day Sunday, Grandma W sang this song for us during the service and we were all blessed by it. After she began singing, others started singing along with her. Here are the words:

1. How sweet and happy seem those days of which I dream,
When memory recalls them now and then!
And with what rapture sweet my weary heart would beat,
If I could hear my mother pray again.

o Refrain:
If I could hear my mother pray again,
If I could hear her tender voice as then!
So glad I’d be, ’twould mean so much to me,
If I could hear my mother pray again.

2. She used to pray that I on Jesus would rely,
And always walk the shining gospel way;
So trusting still His love, I seek that home above,
Where I shall meet my mother some glad day.

3. Within the old home-place her patient, smiling face
Was always spreading comfort, hope and cheer;
And when she used to sing to her eternal King,
It was the songs the angels loved to hear.

4. Her work on earth is done, the life-crown has been won,
And she will be at rest with Him above;
And some glad morning she, I know, will welcome me
To that eternal home of peace and love.

http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/If_I_Could_Hear_My_Mother_Pray_Again/

The Privilege of Encouraging the Faithful

Recently at a nursing home worship service, I was standing at a doorway when we were singing hymns. As I was singing, I noticed an elderly man who was sitting just a few feet from me. From my view, I could see a streak of tear on one side of his face. I had never met him before. After the service, I spoke with a woman who was sitting next to him. She turned out to be his granddaughter. She said her grandfather, now in his 90’s, had been in ministry in the east bay area for over 70 years. He had been staying in the nursing home for awhile, but didn’t know about the worship service. She said he began to cry when he heard the hymns because they are so familiar and meaningful to him. Since she couldn’t visit him every Sunday, she wanted to make an arrangement with the nursing home staff to make sure he could attend the service every Sunday. I was thankful that we could provide such a time for someone who had served God for most of his life.

Freedom from Regrets

I went to go visit Ms. J for Bible reading on Thursday. We got on the topic of church and she said she hadn’t been to church since her mother died in 1940-something. I asked her why and she said that she didn’t want to. Then I asked her if she had ever confessed that she was a sinner and asked Jesus to save her from her sins. She said no. I told her that the Bible says that all of us are sinners and I asked her if I could read it for her. She said yes, so I read part of Romans 3 to her.

Then she changed the topic and talked about her nurse since she had been having trouble with her nurse and asked something like, “Why God would allow someone to be so mean?” I then ended the night praying for her and asking her to think about what we talked about, which she said she would.

Then on Sunday after service I was talking to another resident when Ms. J called out my name. I told her I would be there in a second and after I finished with the first resident. I went over to her and she said that she had been thinking about what we had been talking about. I was really surprised because Ms. J isn’t very coherent and I thought that I would have to somehow bring up this topic again. She then started to talk, but I couldn’t hear because one of the resident’s oxygen tank started to leak. I asked her if we could go to her room and talk there instead. I took her to her room and she said a lot and I had a hard time understanding it all, but it was basically that she had regrets about how she treated her brother in the past. Recently she found out that he was sick. She also told me that she never should have stopped going to church, but after her mom died she didn’t know what to do. She also told me that she had regrets about her father. The whole time she was crying. Then I asked her if she wanted to ask Jesus for forgiveness, and she said yes and kept saying, “Please forgive me.” Then I asked her if she wanted to repeat a prayer with me to which she said yes, and I prayed a basic prayer in which she confessed that she was a sinner and asked for forgiveness and made Jesus Lord and savior over her life.

After we prayed I asked her, “Ms. J, do you know what’s happening in heaven right now?” And she asked what and I told her “The angels are celebrating.” I asked her how she felt, and she said she felt good. And I could tell that she was relieved. I feel so privileged to be able to lead Ms. J in the prayer and be with her during this time.

A New Beginning

Grandma H, who has been a regular attendee since the beginning of our weekly visits, is someone who greatly appreciates our presence and the weekly Sunday worship service. She has been reading the bible and has been growing in her desire to know more.

On New Year’s Day Sunday, the sermon was on Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! …”  In starting a new year, I talked about how we can look back at 2010 and might be filled with a lot of regrets, hurts, sadness, etc. but that because of Christ we can actually take these words in the Bible to heart.

Whenever I mention confession, admitting that we are sinners and needing to make a clear decision to accept Christ, she would ALWAYS turns her head and looks out of the window instead of at me. And when I ask her about those points she kind of does not want to talk about it. But on this Sunday, as I talked about how we can have a relationship with God but how we need to admit our brokenness, I was surprised to see her still listening and watching me very closely.

Using an illustration that I remembered from when I was in the youth group, I described our lives as a big blank piece of paper that God gives us. And as we live our lives, and as we draw out how we live, it’s nice, within the lines, pretty, but then when we sin, it’s like spilling paint on it, smearing and smudging our drawing.  So we try to erase it, we try to make up for it, make it better.  But what often happens is that we end up making it even worse by trying to use that eraser to take away the ugliness, and we end up tearing the paper! So we again try to patch it up by taping it, but the wrinkles and tears are still there even though we try to fix things, we try to “fix” our lives.  She laughed, raised her hand and nodded in agreement pointing to her chest.

After the service, she told Elaine that she wanted to accept Christ.  Elaine went through all the basic elements of the gospel and as she is not a person of very many words, she nodded her head and agreed that she is a sinner, wanted to ask for forgiveness and accept Christ as her Lord and Savior.  I am so thankful for Grandma H’s decision.

More Encouraging News from our Elderly Care Ministry!

[Recently] at one of the nursing homes we visit, one grandmother made a decision to accept Christ after the message. She suffered from a stroke so can’t really speak, but when Vicky asked her if she wanted to make any commitments from today’s message, she pointed repeatedly to the box on the commitment card “I would like to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.” Vicky asked her if she knew that she was sinner, and that she needed God’s forgiveness, and if she wanted to make Jesus Lord and Savior of her life, and after each question the grandmother would nod her head in agreement. I’m really thankful that even though this grandmother couldn’t verbally communicate, she was still alert and conscious enough to make a decision with the use of the commitment card.

Besides the one salvation decision, we had 3 people who wanted to rededicate their lives to Christ. And we also have 8 new people (6 grandmas, 2 grandpas) who are interested in reading the bible together! I think now with these new people, the total number of people we will be doing bible reading with at this nursing home is 23 people. One of them just arrived a month ago and was for the first time attending our service. As I was talking with her, she mentioned that she had attended church a long time ago when she was a child, but now she wants to learn more about Jesus and wants someone to read the bible with her. We met another grandma who expressed interest in reading the bible together while some of us did room visits while the main service was going on.  Praise the Lord for all that He is doing through our Elderly Care Ministry!