Yesterday, marked 1-year after the passing of Mrs. Judy. It is hard for me to believe. As I talked with Scott yesterday, we reminisced about his precious wife, the ebb and flow of the last year, and God’s faithfulness throughout this entire time.
One of Scott’s greatest desires is that Judy’s legacy will continue to impact lives as she did during her time on earth. I told him that one of the greatest imprints she left on me was her dedication to prayer.
An automobile accident should have taken her life, but God had other plans. She lived 18 years longer than anyone expected. While her mobility was restricted due to the injuries, Mrs. Judy never lost her sweet spirit, her joking nature, or her passionate commitment to the ministry.
She wouldn’t let anything keep her back from being beside Scott on mission trip after mission trip. As she would hold on to Scott’s right arm, they ministered to college students and led college students on mission all over the place.
It was amazing watching them on the go and always knowing where you would find them – together.
At Judy’s memorial one year ago, so many people mentioned the power of her prayer letters. I was the blessed recipient of some of those notes over the years. It is a beautiful realization anytime that someone says they have been praying for you, but there is something uniquely special when you receive a note in the mail and realize that a godly person whom you respect was lifting you up before God a morning or two ago.
Judy kept stacks and stacks of prayer journals. She would write down different requests with the date. She would write down what she would pray for the person. She also would often write down the completion date when God had answered each prayer.
In our time together over the last year, Scott mentioned something to me that impacted my own prayer life deeply. He stated that some of Judy’s prayers are being answered in the year after her passing. She had begun praying for certain issues years ago and had written them down in her prayer journals and they are being resolved in the last few months.
The power of our prayers is that they can outlive us.
The only problem I have with discussing Judy’s prayer life is the way I used to think about it. Maybe, it is also the way you thought about it. I would look at Mrs. Judy’s health and reason in my mind that it’s a blessing that she can pray since she is limited in doing other things.
First off, Mrs. Judy did not just begin to pray after the accident. Prayer wasn’t a Plan B for her. Prayer had always been a serious spiritual discipline in her life.
Secondly, shame on me for thinking that she could have done something more significant than pray if only she would have been more healthy.
Prayer was not the only thing she could do, prayer is the only thing any of us can do.
Not only does Mrs. Judy’s life show us this, but Scripture teaches this repeatedly:
- We cannot do anything apart from God (John 15:5).
- Prayer is the key to relying on his strength (John 15:7).
- The lack of anxiousness in our lives prove that we are committing our concerns to God through prayer (Phil. 4:6).
- It takes faith in who God is to see our prayers answered (Mark 11:24).
- Praying without ceasing implies that we are relying upon God’s strength for every step (1 Thess. 5:17).
Yes, we can encourage, share, preach, teach, sing, and work on so many ministry efforts, but without God’s power working in any of them (Zech. 4:6), we are just wasting our time.
Prayer is not what we do when we can’t work; prayer is what we do because we want to work.
Months after Mrs. Judy’s passing, I was asked to help out with a Bible study curriculum on prayer. Working with the Kendrick Brothers and LifeWay preparing “The Battle Plan for Prayer,” I couldn’t get Mrs. Judy’s example away from my mind as I worked.
I would constantly try to think of how to equip people to take prayer seriously, and I would envision that stack of prayer journals by her chair. I would think about those hand-written prayers that she sent out all over the world. I tried to imagine how many people she touched over the years because she partnered with God through prayer.
To honor her life and ministry today, I encourage all of you to spend some time in prayer. Pray for Scott, Cherry, and CT. Pray for Lander’s BCM that they would have an incredible year of ministry. Pray for those struggling. Pray with people. Let people know that you are praying for them.
Above all else, don’t treat prayer as the ministry for those who can’t simply do what you can do.
Mrs. Judy’s ministry was more fruitful praying in her rocking chair than many of our ministries will be scampering out of ours.
I pray one day I can have half the ministry that Mrs. Judy had. And I probably could see that happen if I actually realized that the power was not in my efforts but in my God.
Prayer reminds us that the power is not in our efforts but in our God.
Thank you, Mrs. Judy. You are still making an impact on me.