The importance and influence of a mother are beyond human calculation. To some the everyday pressures and strains of family life may seem a less important sphere of influence than others but, as Dr. Alex McLaren has said, “The narrow arena of domestic life affords a fit theatre for the highest gifts and graces.” Think of the many famous names in Biblical and secular history whose fame and place can be directly traced to a mother’s influence & prayers: Moses the great leader of Israel; Samuel the godly prophet; Timothy, the New Testament evangelist & church planter. They teach us that:
A Mother’s Protection is very necessary. When the life of her child was threatened Jochebed hid Moses (Exodus 2:1-10). Then she cradled and nursed him. I believe her influence had a great bearing on Moses stand for God and the good of His people in adult life. Our children’s lives are often threatened in these modern times. We need to cradle them with our prayers and nurse them with parental love. Those will go with them into whatever the future may hold.
A Mother’s Intercession is very necessary. Hannah was able to say of her son Samuel, “For this child I prayed and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him” (1Samuel 1:27). After years spent with little thought of God, I finally trusted Christ as my Saviour and then, with my wife devoted our lives to the work of the Lord as missionaries in South America and Pastoral work in the Homelands. I was greatly moved when one day my own mother, who is now “With Christ” said, “You could not be other than you are for you were much prayed for before you were born.” I believe many, many mothers pray for their children before and after they are born. Keep on believing, God still answers Prayer.
A Mother’s Instruction is very necessary. Paul writing to Timothy reminds him of the sincere faith, which he saw in Timothy’s Grandmother & Mother and now was also in him (2Tim.1: 5). The unforgettable example and instruction of two godly women bore fruit in the life of young Timothy and, through him, in the lives of many others.
There are many more examples of the importance and influence of mothers in the Scriptures and also in what we may call secular history. Monica mother of St. Augustine; Susannah mother of John & Charles Wesley; and the mother of John Newton, author of “Amazing Grace”, “How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds”, and many other well loved hymns. Newton said this of her, “My mother was a Dissenter and a pious woman. She was of a weak consumptive habit and loved retirement. As I was her only child she made it the chief business and pleasure of her life to instruct me and bring me up in nurture and admonition of the Lord. I have been told that from my birth she had in her mind devoted me to the ministry; and had she lived till I was of proper age, I was to be sent to St. Andrews in Scotland. But the Lord had appointed otherwise. My mother died before I was seven years of age". John Newton’s own amazing life and conversion were the inspiration for his hymn “Amazing Grace” which must also be traced to a physically weak mother’s prayers.
Dr. M.R. De Haan (Founder Radio Bible Class) wrote, “Mother’s prayers influenced me more than all the preaching to which I was constantly exposed.”
Peter Bilhorn was only three when his father was killed in battle just before the end of the American Civil War. At eight he had to leave school to help his mother bring up the family. At fifteen he moved with the family to Chicago where he and his brother later established a Wagon and Carriage works. Peter had a very fine singing voice, and used to sing at the taverns where he worked as well as concerts. Returning home one night very late as he passed the door of his mother’s bedroom he heard a voice and words that sounded strange. Curious to know what this was he opened the door and found his mother kneeling and praying fervently with tears and sighs. Then he heard his name. He heard his name in his mother’s prayer that night and never forgot it. Her prayer was soon answered. He was invited to a series of special evangelistic meetings where, on the last night, he gave his heart and life to Christ. He dedicated his singing talents to the service of the Lord, working with some famous evangelists of that era. In the year 1900 he travelled to London. He conducted a 4000-voice choir in the Crystal Palace and was invited by Queen Victoria to sing at Buckingham Palace. He wrote over 2000 hymns including the one that recalled the night he heard his name in his dear mother’s prayer. “My Name in Mother’s Prayer”
MY NAME IN MOTHER’S PRAYER
’Twas in the days of careless youth, when life was fair and bright, And ne’er a tear, and scarce a fear o’ercast my day and night, As, in the quiet eventide, I passed her kneeling there, That just one word, my name, I heard my name in mother’s prayer.
I thought but little of it then, tho’ rev’rence touched my heart, To her whose love sought from above for me the better part; But when life’s sterner battles came with many a subtle snare, Oft that one word, in thought I heard, my name in mother’s prayer.
I wandered on, and heeded not, God’s oft repeated call To turn from sin, to live for Him, and trust to Him my all; But when at last, convinced of sin, I sank in deep despair, My hope awoke, when mem’ry spoke my name in mother’s prayer.
That pleading heart, that soul so tried, has gone into her rest, But still with me for aye shall be the mem’ry of her trust. And when I reach the Golden shore, and meet her over there, We’ll praise the Lord, Who blessed that word, my name in Mother’s prayer. (Peter P. Bilhorn 1865-1936)
“Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages.” Exod.2: 9 So said Pharaoh’s daughter to Jochebed. If we nurture and nurse our children for God we can be sure that, at the last, His reward will not be lacking. Bob Watson