The Ultimate Gift

That Sunday morning I had great expectations. During prayer I had indications that God was going to do something special and it was a bonus to have my mother and father visiting from Louisiana. During worship, the Holy Spirit enveloped me with love, and I felt to call our entire church forward for corporate prayer for the nations.

"They were silent warriors who brought forth prophetic voices"

Suddenly, my wife told me that my mother was sick. I turned to see her pale face and weakened stance. I continued to pray as ushers helped her leave the room. Moments later I learned that her condition was serious and she would need to be rushed to the hospital. I turned the service over to my associate and left to meet my parents at the hospital.

The ten minute trip brought flashbacks of my mother’s life. From my childhood I remember her as a pursuer of God. I recalled coming home from school to be greeted with loud prayers from our basement. That was difficult for a ten year old to explain to his friends!

My father had been far from God, yet my mother prayed for 19 years until he was radically saved. My brother and sister both serve God and two of us are in full time ministry. This frail woman, mother of three, grandmother and now great-grandmother, had made a mighty impact. Because of her intercession her children had a heritage like Timothy’s. He had “genuine faith” as recorded in 2 Timothy 1:5, through his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois. They were silent warriors who brought forth prophetic voices.

My mind drifted back to my weekend trips to my grandparents’ in West Virginia while growing up. I would lie in bed at night and hear them praying loudly and fervently for God’s hand to be upon us. I strained to listen through the wall as they called out names of each child and grandchild. Finally... ”and Lord touch little Steve, fill him with Your love and power.” I drifted off many nights with the security of knowing that others silently or not so silently, wanted a great purpose for my life.

"Even in her illness my mother had initiated corporate intercession"

During the drive I was at peace knowing that my mother’s life had always been in the Lord’s hands and that I had inherited the fruit of her life. She isn’t known by masses of people yet has laid down her life in silent, sometimes in agonizing prayer. At times of discouragement in college, I headed for my mailbox as a last duty before abandoning God’s purpose for my life. To my surprise, often what was a letter that began “Thus says the Lord...” was waiting from my mother. I would return, unpack and vow to continue onward. Long before my discouragement she had engaged the enemy in intercession, winning the battle in secret.

At the hospital, my mother turned out to be fine. Back at our church our morning meeting had gone ballistic! After I left, many at the church had begun to pray for my mother and then had moved into deep intercession over our church and the city. The reports I received confirmed a mighty outpouring and a breakthrough in our church.

Somehow that didn’t surprise me. Even in her illness my mother had initiated corporate intercession. I still don’t understand how these things work theologically but I have concluded that even when she is struck down, she has impact. I’m sure my mother and grandmother could have often chosen to serve themselves, but by laying down their lives for others, they exhibited what is meant by “no greater love.” Where would our outspoken, prophetic church be without the sacrificial giving of behind-the-scenes warriors?