A Child’s Prayer
A True Incident
Many years ago there were two young boys, William and John, playing on the back of the Pecatonica River in north-western Illinois. Their ages were about seven years old and they lived relatively close to each other. William lived very close to the river edge with his parents, and John lived just over half a kilometre away. These boys were best playmates, although not related except by the ties of close friendship.
They both had good Christian homes, and on one particular day were discussing the blessings of their mothers. They were recalling some of the good things their mothers had done for them, how they had cared for them in sickness and in health, with many other ways of giving them love and kindness. These boys were genuine in their discussion and both really appreciated their Mum’s sincerely.
As they were having this uplifting discussion, William inadvertently said to John, “The doctors report is not good news that your mother won’t live very long.” This was a stunning blow to John, as his parents had held the knowledge of this back from him at this stage. His face flushed, and tears started to well up in his eyes and he began to cry. Little William, seeing the effect of his words upon his best friend, immediately tried to comfort his grief by saying, “Don’t cry John, the doctors don’t always know everything. Your mother may live a long time yet.” But the arrow had struck deeply and the wound was too big to be healed by any of Williams words.
So John started running towards home, weeping aloud. As the thought pressed upon his heart that he would soon be motherless, his sorrow knew no bounds, it hit very hard. It seemed his heart would burst with grief. When he was about half way home, the thought came to him of what his father, a minister, had said to him. “If we are good and pray to the Lord, asking Him for anything, and believe that He will give what we ask according to His will, we shall have it.” While John was used to his prayer time upon going to bed, he had never seen the need like now.
On the side of the road was a rail fence. John crept behind this fence and offered a short, but sincere prayer, “Dear Lord, please keep my mother alive till I grow to be a big man, and I will be a good boy, for Jesus sake. Amen.” Then he went back onto the road, looked about to see if anyone was watching. Seeing no one, he went on his way. Before he reached his home, his sorrow had left him and he was skipping and hopping cheerfully as if nothing had happened to make him sad.
Not until John was thirty-three years old, married and had two children, did his mother die. The doctor that had originally diagnosed John’s mother, was present at her death, said that for everything he was worth, he would not have thought she could have lived more than six months after that original diagnosis, let alone another twenty six years. But John’s mind immediately went back those many years to that day when, behind the fence, he sent up that short earnest prayer.
Let every boy or girl who reads this true story remember that God is no respecter of persons, that He is just as ready to hear the sincere prayer of children, as He is to hear the prayer of grown men and women. But also let the grown people remember the words of our Saviour, “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Let all remember God’s dealing with Samuel through whom he foretold the overthrow of the house of Eli, the downfall of Saul’s kingdom, and the coronation of King David, who was a type of Christ. The same God that used the child Samuel and raised him to a great work, is also and still able to use any willing child and raise them to a great work, yes, to even proclaim the soon coming of the Mighty Life-Giver and the final overthrow of this wicked world, and to raise all true mothers to their children.
~Youth Instructor, January 16, 1912