The Power of One Prayer

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Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – August 2019

By Pastor Lloyd Pulley

I often think about my grandmother who passed away over 25 years ago, at the ripe old age of 92. A simple woman raised on a farm; she married and raised five daughters and was left a widow by her husband's alcohol problem. After seeing her five daughters married, she lost a daughter to a stress induced heart attack at age 31.

At 60 she retired and became guardian of her deceased daughter's children. My three sisters and I were raised by a devoted Christian who took us to a small Baptist church down the road and enrolled us in Mrs. Vreeland's Bible Story Hour every Saturday morning.

I recall watching Billy Graham on TV with Grandma as a young lad of 6 and expressing my desire to be like Billy when I grew up. This youthful desire fell victim to my adventuresome spirit, leading to regularly drinking and smoking marijuana before my 15th birthday. I'd often come home late and as I sneaked quietly by my grandma's bedroom, I'd see her on her knees praying. Praying for me!

Though Grandma wasn't on the "Who's Who" list or another directory of "movers and shakers" she had an impact beyond her natural abilities by faithfully traveling in the lane to which she was called. She turned to Him who is all powerful and through prayer laid a foundation which affected many. I was amazed at her prayers: she talked with God like he was right next to her! And her prayers outlived her! It's as if every prayer she prayed was cataloged, filed and answered in His time.

She prayed for crazy, unlikely things: asking God to make me a pastor and bring me a Godly woman. I would smirk when she reminded me of her prayers for me. In the end her prayers won! Her grandson is now a pastor and will soon be celebrating 40 years of marriage to an amazing Godly woman.

We have all kinds of statistics that tell us the make-up of society. We know the percentage of people in prisons and rehabs and the percentage which graduated college. There is one statistic we can't know: the "what would've been" had prayers not been prayed. Where would I be without grandma's prayers? Would I have heeded the call of God? Do you know what impact your prayers can have on others? It's like a version of "It's a Wonderful Life" where James Stewart's character learns what life would've been like had he not been born. You can't calculate the impact of traveling in your lane!

We often hear "Dream Big! You can be anything you want." That's not true. If you're 5'3", it's unlikely you'll play in the NBA. Sure, there's exceptions: "Muggsy" Bogues, at 5'3" relied on his gift of speed and jumping ability which he fine-tuned, to play next to some of the NBA's tallest players. But that's an exception.

We each have a lane that is ours alone. We need to ignore the voices on both extremes: the voices that say you can be anything you want and the voices that say you're insignificant. We can't be anything we want because we're made with a unique purpose. We size people up according to worldly standards: beauty, wealth, popularity and fame. We measure a person's impact from cradle to grave.

We look at achievements and accolades. But we haven't the slightest idea the impact we can have on another's life. Our impact continues beyond the grave as we leave behind our influence.

Knowing the will of God and that He has a plan and purpose makes all the difference. Picture a diamond in the rough: to an untrained eye it looks like a shiny rock. A trained eye, however, sees potential in that rock. That diamond is special, set apart and different from other rocks. Like that diamond, you've been made special by God's grace. When you believe and follow Jesus, He cuts away all that doesn't fit, like a master jeweler cutting away at that rock, revealing the diamond within. He polishes that gem and makes it into a shiny example of what it really is.

Life has become very fast in the Northeast and we speed by the little churches peppered in our towns. We think we've outgrown the little church down the street. It isn't the size of the church that brings a dynamic change to this world. It's the work of God in a humble soul gathering in one of those many church buildings. It's that life that's come full circle back to the guidance and counsel of God. The life that's learned that while there's many ways to make a better living, there's no better way to live than to "acknowledge your creator in the days of your youth." Only through God's help can you avoid the many snares in this world and be strengthened, so your life will influence others for good.

At Calvary Old Bridge we believe your soul is precious in the sight of God and we know that our lane is to help you find yours.

Marj Lancaster