A mother's prayers
(J.R. Miller, "The Glory of the Commonplace")
We do not realize what the daily home-life means in the future of the children. A consistent and godly example is most important.
A Christian man tells of what happened in his own childhood home over and over again. As he lay quietly at night in his little room before sleep came on, there would be gentle footsteps on the stairs, the door would open noiselessly, and in a moment the well-known form, softly gliding through the darkness, would appear at his bedside.
First, there would be a few gentle and affectionate inquiries, gradually deepening into words of counsel. Then kneeling, her head touching his, the mother would begin in gentle words to pray for her boy, pouring forth her whole soul in desires and supplications. Mothers will know how her pleadings would run, and how the tears would mingle with the words. "I seem to feel the tears still," he writes in advanced years, "where sometimes they fell on my face.
Rising, then, with a good-night kiss, she was gone. The prayers often passed out of thought in slumber, and did not come to mind again for years — but they were not lost. They were safely kept in some most sacred place of memory, for they reappear now with a beauty brighter than ever. I truly believe that my mother's prayers secretly preserved me while I moved carelessly amid numberless temptations, and walked on the brink of vice and crime."
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Another says of his mother: "My mother's habit was, every day, immediately after breakfast, to withdraw for an hour to her own room, and to spend that hour in reading the Bible, in meditation and in prayer. From that hour, as from a pure fountain, she drew the strength and the sweetness which enabled her to fulfill all her duties, and to remain unruffled by all the worries and pettinesses which are so often an intolerable trial in a home with many children. As I think of her life, and of all that it had to bear, I see the absolute triumph of Christian grace in the lovely ideal of a Christian mother. I never saw her temper disturbed; I never heard her speak one word of anger, or of complaint, or of idle gossip. I never observed in her any sign of a single sentiment unfitting to a soul which had drank of the river of the water of life, and which had fed upon manna in the barren wilderness."
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A Christian man said that the evening family worship had saved his home and its affection. The days were full of little frictions and irritations. He was a man of quick temper and hasty speech, and often was the home music jangled and unhappy. But the evening prayer set all things right again. The father and mother knelt, side by side, with their little children, and as they prayed, "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us," they were drawn close together again in love. The little strifes were healed, and their domestic joy was saved. The sun was not allowed to go down upon their differences. This is one of the blessings of family prayer. Christ comes to us beside the sacred home altar, diffuses His love, and speaks His word of peace.