I tenderly opened the journal, and its pages almost crumbled in my hands. It’s over 100 years old, after all! And there I saw the handwriting that tells the owner’s name: Mabel Salsbury Dohm, my Father’s Mother.
And I cried as I read her opening Scripture:
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
For you see, I know a part of her story that makes that verse so very valuable. But maybe I should back up a little, and explain how I know these things, since Mabel died almost a decade before I was born.
I grew up hearing about Grandma Mabel, and what a Godly woman she was. She was the second wife of my Dad’s Father, after his first wife died, and she, who was known as a beloved Sunday School Teacher soon found out that a pre-teen stepson was a bigger handful than a room of docile Sunday School children. My Dad told us that this petite little woman wasn’t afraid to be stern when firmness was required, and she had soon won the affection of her new stepson.
Not too many years later, and their home was filled with the addition of a new son, my Uncle Murlin, and four years later my Dad was born, the baby of the family. These were the early 1920’s and modern day medicine was still a long way off. So when my Father contracted polio, the family all huddled together to do anything they could to save his life. But my Grandma Mabel was a woman of prayer, and she sought God to preserve her son’s life. A miracle happened on the darkest night, and my Father was fully healed, with only a paralysis of his eye movements!
But the bigger prayer life that consumed my Grandma Mabel was for the Spiritual lives of her sons. This quote in her journal went deep in my heart as I read it:
“O Lord, cleanse us! O Lord, keep us! O Lord, accept of our persons and services, through Him who is our ‘strength’ and our ‘Redeemer.’”
My Dad would tell me how his Mom prayed for him during all his years of wandering. And when he returned to the Lord as a young adult, Mabel only lived a few more years, dying from complications a few years after she fell and broke her hip.
But what about the prayers for her other son, my Dad’s older brother? Did she see him return to the Lord before she died? No, my Uncle Murlin spent a life of wandering for over 70 years. He filled up his days with anything that would keep his mind occupied and distracted away from God.
How does a soul so hardened by years of running ever return?
Where can the sound of that knocking on the heart’s door finally be heard?
My Uncle Murlin faced a life-threatening illness, and lay sick in the hospital, receiving treatment, when my older brother visited him in the late 1980’s. My brother David had a way of getting to the heart of the matter with people, and he prayed with my Uncle Murlin, as he found his way back to Jesus.
But the part of this story that fills my Praying Heart with such hope is what Uncle Murlin shared with anyone who would listen during his last months and days on earth. Do you remember the dark night when Grandma Mabel prayed over her young son, facing death from polio? My Uncle Murlin came into the room as she was praying that night, and held something in his heart about that for over 70 years. He saw a light, brighter than anything he had ever seen before, enveloping his Mom and his little brother, as he stood in the background and listened to her prayers. He knew that he was seeing Heaven stoop down and heal his little brother. But his heart ran from that truth all those years.
Until the time for his returning was full.
Until the time that he heard the knocking of Jesus on his heart’s door.
Are you weary in your prayers for your wandering prodigal? Are you fearful that your prayers have gone on too long to be effective? My Grandma Mabel’s prayers did not go unanswered. Even though it took 70 years for them to be made visible, the Glory of God could not be contained! He will restore and He will rescue those loved ones we are praying for today. As I sat with my Grandma Mabel’s precious words, the Lord took them deeper in my heart. I pray they bless you today:
O Lord, cleanse us!
From the sins of the world
From the sins of our hearts
From the plague of this age,
O Lord, cleanse us!
We are crying for our children,
We are crying for our neighbors,
We are crying for ourselves,
We are crying for this world.
How long, O Lord,
Until our prayers
How long, O Lord,
Until You answer
O Lord, keep us!
Our hearts are weary
Our arms are tired
As we carry the burden
As we are tempted to quit
O Lord, keep us!
Our only Strength
Our only Redeemer
Accept our prayers
Accept our service to You
As we lift Holy Words to you
The Shepherd who stands at the door
(This post was originally shared with “The Beloved Prodigal” Community.)
I am linking with:
20 thoughts on “A Legacy of Praying Faith”
Bettie, this post is a glorious tribute to that sweet lady. May we treasure the people we admire and move forward ourselves into the role of prayer warrior for our family and friends. This is a real weakness of mine, so I appreciate this inspiration.
I just came from your post today about being a Godly GRANDparent, and what a sweet confirmation! And, yes, you are right that now the roll of being that prayer warrior leading the way has been passed down to us. May we find the Lord's sufficiency in this as well. Blessings to you.
I commented at Beloved Prodigal, Bettie, but thank you again for encouraging my heart today. Hugs!
Thank you so much for your comments and encouraging words Trudy! I am so blessed that the Lord would use these words to lift you closer to Himself! He is so good to us. Hugs to you too!
Bettie! This is awesome! I LOVE delving into the lives of those who came before us and left legacies for us to walk in. Sometimes good–and sometimes not so much. I am inheriting the history and documents of my family–seems I'm the only one who is interested in preserving it like jewels. The good, the bad, and the ugly help us understand who we are. BUT bringing the redemptive Word of God into the mix transforms the good into blessings and the bad into renewal. Joy to you, milady!
Thank you so much for your kind comments, Miss Kathy! What a treasure that you have in your family's history and documents! Maybe someday your will be able to share those jewels with other members of your family, especially as God reveals His faithfulness! Because, yes you are so right, that our God redeems and transforms it all when He shines the light of His Word over everything. Blessings and joy to you also!
Dear Bettie, this is a truly inspiring read. I loved it! Your family history story touched me so much. I've left an appreciative comment on Beloved Prodigals but wanted to let you know here too. Blessings, love and hugs! xoxo
Dear Joy, Thank you so much for always being an encouragement to me! And even as I consider needing to switch from blogger to wordpress, your prayers for God's grace to relieve the pressure there have been a help! As I read your comment about pulling together these posts, I remembered the original post that started it all for me, back in August of 2016. I can re-post that one next week, and give myself a little more time in the transition! :). God truly is so faithful to us! Blessings, love and hugs to you too my friend! Xoxo
BettieG, I come from a legacy of prayer and faith. It is the very foundation of my life. And, it is one I pray I pass on to Hannah and Simon.
Dear Susan, I see the beauty of how you are passing on that legacy to your children and grandchildren too! It makes me think of Jesus' words that for those who've been given much, much also is required. We do have a responsibility don't we? But what a JOY it can be when we look at those who have gone on before, right?
I LOVE seeing this vintage photo and hearing about the old journal of your grandmother's! What a rare and priceless treasure you have in reading her words and in the legacy of faith she left to her family — even those she never knew — beautiful! Praying for you and thinking of you, friend! xo
How cool that you can read Grandma Mabel's very words! What a gift that you have in your hands and heart.
Yes, I feel that I have been so blessed, not only to have such a faith-filled heritage, but to have the precious treasures to share from some of them also! Her words and her prayers have been such a comfort to me during my own trials too. May I willingly lift up my own prayers for those I love also! Thank you so much for all of your prayers, my friend. They mean so much to me!! Hugs and Love to you! Xo
I like the way that you put that, Lisa: “What a gift that you have in your hands and heart.” Those treasures that were passed down to me really have taken root in my heart too!
Oh Bettie, I'm leaving a comment here so I don't forget –but then clicking over to read the rest of the story! What a treasure to have these memories, yes –but to have the journal! I have a few handwritten pages from my Grandmother, who passed when I was very young… what a gift they are!
Thank you for sharing this encouraging story. Bless you, sister! 🙂
Those writings, even just a few, are so precious to have aren't they? As the Lord is leading me on this journey to look at the heritage left for me, I have been amazed by the stories that were passed along! Thanks for commenting here too! Blessings on your weekend!
I am so glad that the Lord brought encouragement here! He is so good to keep us looking up to Him, isn't He? Bessings to you!
What a treasure to have that journal with such a wonderful connection to the past! What a woman of God she must have been, and this is a beautiful tribute. No wonder tears came to your eyes as you read it. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Blessings to you with hugs and much love. ❤ xoxo
Oh yes, I feel so blessed to have these treasures from those who have gone before me. And I know that her praying heart has had such an influence on my life, even though I never met her. Even as I pray for my own children and grandchildren now, I ask the Lord to help me be faithful too. I am so thankful for the love and hope that you share about your family, my friend! Blessings, love and hugs to you too! xoxo