Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Root, The Fountain, and the Mother of All Blessings

Billy Gene & Dorothy Grace
Many of you know that I spent five days with my parents last week.  The occasion for our reunion was not happy, but as has happened so often in my life, troubling circumstances became the source of joy and gratitude beyond anything I could have imagined.

One particular moment stands out to me as singularly precious.  Indeed, the memory of that moment has returned to me repeatedly in the days since I returned to Dallas, bringing with it the emotions I felt then.

Mom and Dad and I were sitting at the breakfast table, about to eat the first meal that she had prepared since she was taken to the hospital a few days earlier.  As we bowed our heads, I heard my father ask who would pray.  

My mother volunteered.


I wish I could recount the words for you, but I cannot.  I can assure you that it was an ordinary prayer.  

However, as I listened to Mom pray, I felt the quiet power of her intimacy with God.  A flood of memories swept over me, memories of a lifetime of listening to her pray in public and in private, after happy and sad occasions, full of joy and sorrow and everything in between.  

I was acutely conscious in that moment of how much I have been influenced in my own inner life by the prayers that my mother has offered in my presence.  Now, again, the quiet rhythm in her words, the soft conversational tone of her voice, the unassuming eloquence with which she addressed her Savior beckoned my heart God-ward.  Those few sweet moments awakened me to the Presence who had been with us all along.


Chrysostom, the famous Christian theologian of the early church, said of prayer that it is "the root, the fountain, the mother of all blessings."

I am acutely aware that the term "mother of" has developed an incredibly pejorative connotation since the years of Sadam Hussein's infamy.  

I must tell you, however, that I suddenly understand what Chrysostom meant when he spoke those words.  

I am sure there is nothing we can do with our lives that is more powerful, of deeper or of longer lasting effect than to share our hearts with God in direct and absolute trust.  And if those we love are lucky enough to be with us in moments when God is our all in all, then they too may find themselves awakened to God's presence.  

May it be so with you and those you love.


Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer,
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer.

                                                         William W. Walford, 1845


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