North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    A long time ago, a preacher in an England mission hall noticed a great broad-shouldered sailor come in and sit down in the back of the congregation. After the service was over, the sailor approached one of the ushers and asked, “Do you think the preacher would speak privately with me?”    “Of course, he’ll talk to you,” the usher assured him.

    The usher led the young sailor to the preacher’s study room. When the preacher entered the room, the sailor began to tell his story:

    “I had no thought of being here tonight, preacher. I haven’t been living up to what my mother taught me. I left home and my mother almost three years ago. She’s a widow and I was her only child. I haven’t been as bad as some of my sailor mates. Believe me, I’ve tried to run away from her and all the prayers she keeps praying. I’ve never written, nor sent her any money, even though I’ve made some good wages. I’ve even tried to make myself drunk to rid myself of uneasy thoughts. But as I came down the street past the hall, the songs I heard being sung were songs I heard growing up. I used to be in a choir back home. I wanted to come in and sing them again in a church like old times. But I wasn’t dressed properly, and I needed a shower. It was just an excuse, preacher. It would have been very easy to give into the devil’s easy excuses that he gave me. But somehow, I could not completely walk away. I’ve never felt a draw that strong before. The devil told me to forget it and just come back next week. But it was no use, before I knew it I was up the steps, through the door, and sitting down in the congregation. It was your preaching that kept me here; your message from the Lord was calling my soul and I heard it. God wanted me, I heard Him, and he softened my heart. If He can help me with this guilt, I’ll be a good lad, and go home to mother.”

    The attentive preacher talked and prayed with the sailor until, by faith, the young man accepted Christ as His Savior and Lord. As he shook the preachers hand he said, “I’ve got a peace inside now; like I used to have when I was young. But this time I know what it is, and I understand it. I’ll never be the same as I used to be! I can hardly wait to go and see my mother next Saturday”.

    Just four days later the same preacher was conducting a service in a smaller town many miles away, and during his sermon he told of the big sailor’s conversion. As he came down from the pulpit he was met by a humble old woman who asked him if he knew the name of the sailor, and when he told her she exclaimed, “I thought so! That’s my boy!”

    The dear old mother told the minister how on the previous Sunday she had been thinking very strongly and more than usual about her wandering son. She decided to attend the evening service despite the very bad weather conditions. She had only a thin jacket and her steps were feeble. She had gone about half the distance when she encountered a heavy storm of rain and sleet, so she stopped at a friend’s house for shelter. Her friend also happened to be a widow and was a woman of strong faith.

    After some conversation, her friend said, “Since it’s impossible for either one of us to attend public worship tonight, let’s have our own little prayer meeting right here in my house”.

    She went on to propose their subject of prayer should be for the mother’s son. And at that very hour, in a city many miles away, the prodigal son was led to God’s house, and while his old mother earnestly prayed, he was saved.

    God has given us the great charge of praying on behalf of others. Matthew 18:19 clearly states, “If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gathers together as my followers, I am there among them.”

    Shall we not be one another’s lifeline? Shall we not pray for one another’s most sincere requests? What a privilege it is to pray on behalf of someone and to know the Power Source that can move mountains is concerned about what matters to each of us. Therefore, let us approach God’s throne with bold and confident prayers (Hebrews 4:16); humbly seeking Him in all that is a concern to us. For God’s promises will not waver and He wants to give good things to us.

    What is there today in your life that needs committed, genuine prayer? Is there someone in whom you are burdened? God says, “Cry out to me, call upon my name, pray to Me and I will answer. I will be with you, rescue you, and give you my salvation” (Psalm 91:15-16).

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him at:

Posted by on May 13 2018. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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