I know that most of you in my online family know the story of how I came to faith, but I realize that many of you don’t. So, I want to take today to share it with you. If you’ve heard it before, perhaps this would be an opportunity to forward it to someone who might be encouraged by it.
I grew up in eastern North Carolina in a nice neighborhood and a nice house. But much of what went on behind the door of our ranch-style house was anything but nice.
My father didn’t drink every day, but when he did, he got drunk and grew violent. My parents fought both verbally and physically in front of my brother and me, and we lived much of our lives in fear. I saw many things a little girl should never see and heard words a little girl should never hear. I didn’t know what some of the words meant, but I know how they made me feel.
On many nights, I went to bed, pulled up the covers around my quivering chin, and prayed I would quickly fall asleep to escape the yelling in the next room. On my dresser, I had a musical jewelry box with a ballerina that popped up when the lid opened. Many nights, I tiptoed over to the jewelry box, turned the wind-up key in the back, and opened the lid in hopes the tinkling music would drown out the fighting in the next room.
I felt that I was always in the way, a poor excuse for a daughter, and a burden to be tolerated rather than a child to be loved. I concluded I wasn’t smart enough, pretty enough, or good enough—just not enough, period. Insecurity, inadequacy, and inferiority dogged me, shouting accusations and heaping condemnation on my little-girl soul.
That’s where our family story began, but God didn’t leave us in that sorry state. When I was twelve years old, my best friend was Wanda Henderson. We’d snuggle down in thick comforters when I spent the night at her house and tell little-girl secrets. Those secrets eventually made it around to me telling her what was going on at my house. And later, she coaxed me to tell her mom.
Mrs. Henderson took me under her wing. She told me about Jesus who loved me, and a heavenly Father who adored me. She not only explained the gospel to me, she lived it for me to see. But most importantly, she prayed for me and my family.
For two years, Mrs. Henderson mentored me without even knowing it. She was just going about life being her joyful Jesus-lovin’ self, but I watched her every move. She sang praise songs when she did her housework, called her gregarious husband pet names, and talked to and about Jesus as if he were her best friend. One night, when I was fourteen, she sat me down on the den sofa, took my hands in hers, and asked, “Sharon, would you like to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Would you like to become a Christian?”
I said yes.
Mrs. Henderson prayed. I cried. We all rejoiced. Jesus did change my life.
However, the next day, I had to go back home. Tension still ran high, and nothing much changed, except we began praying for my messed-up family. Three years later, through the influence of this same woman, my mom gave her life to Christ. Three years after my mom, my mean ole dad gave his life to Jesus and became one of the sweetest men I’ve ever known.
How did that happen? It started with the prayers of one mamma who loved and prayed for a child that wasn’t even hers. The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). And if you know Jesus as Savior, then that person is you.
Through prayer, the enemy’s plans are intercepted; the principalities and authorities are defeated; the power and provision of God flow into the lives of His people. It’s the conduit through which God’s power is released and His will is brought to earth as it is in heaven.
Prayer is simply opening the storehouse of heaven for lavish blessings He wants to give. And friend, He’s inviting you to stand in the gap for those you love. When you do, miracles will follow.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving Your Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for my sin so that I can live in eternity with You. Thank You for forgiving my sin and making me a brand-new creation. I continue to pray for my family members who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord…yet. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Who is one person you are praying will come to know Jesus? Leave a comment and let’s pray for each other.
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