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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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PICTURES, MAPS, AND PRAYERS

Jane Ann Clark

Memories of Aunt Wanda crowded into my mind.  Aunt Wanda in the kitchen, her ample form covered by a checkered apron.  The smell of banana bread drifting across the room as she said, "Keep your grubby fingers outta my cookie jar, you little cookie monster." The twinkle in her eyes softened the rebuke.  Aunt Wanda's rose garden.  Who would tend her roses? They were used to Aunt Wanda's sweet voice and caressing touch as she coaxed them into bloom.

The church would never be the same without Aunt Wanda.  She didn't have a beautiful singing voice, but somehow I knew God loved to hear her sing.  When Aunt Wanda sang "Amazing Grace." tears of gratitude would roll down her weathered cheeks.  But what I remember most is the summer I was ten.  I awoke about two o'clock in the morning and heard a voice softly speaking.  A dim light filtered into my room from down the hall.  I silently tiptoed through the darkness and peeped around the door into Aunt Wanda's antique-filled bedroom.  She was sitting in the middle of her big four-poster bed with photographs scattered out in front of her and a big ol' map of the world lying beside her.

I watched from my hiding place as she lovingly touched each photo, praying for the family member or friend pictured there.  She prayed for guidance for her nephew, as he finished college and searched for the job that would best serve God.  She prayed for strength and comfort for her sister whose husband had died of a heart attack, leaving her alone and bewildered.  She prayed for a wayward brother.  On and on she prayed for each personal need.

Next, she pulled the map over in front of her and began praying for different countries as she traced the outline of that country with her fingertip.  She prayed for the missionaries working there and the people who would hear the Word of God through them.  She prayed for the leadership of the country.  Finally, she prayed for spiritual awakening and peace.

I was forever changed that night.  For the rest of my life, whenever I strayed away from God, I'd see Aunt Wanda touching my old school picture and calling out MY name to God.  That memory had a way of pulling me back to the straight and narrow.  And now, years later, my family's pictures are becoming worn from my fingerprints, and of course I have a big tattered map of the world.  How else could I remember the names of all those countries when I pray?

There are many wonderful things that happen through pray.  Why not spend a little more time in prayer and let those people whom you pray for know that you have carried their name before the throne of God!!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward