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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Stop Praying or Else!

Young Willie was a skinny 16-year-old boy who carried a big Bible. Willy, you see, had gotten saved in a revival service at his church, and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The year was 1929, and with the stock market crash in New York City, people were afraid for their future. The economic news was bad and men were being laid off their jobs. Money was becoming scarce and so was the faith of many people. They were losing faith in their God, their government, and in themselves.

But there was a light in the eyes of young Willy coming home late from the church revival on this Sunday night. There had been miracles and an outbreak of worship to God. This was unheard of, and unseen in this small town up until then.

It was said that Willy, who knew no music, actually sat on the piano bench during the altar service and played the most beautiful heavenly music the folks had ever heard. It had to be a true miracle of God and manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit, for Willy, you see, did not know how to play the piano. He just sat down and played under the anointing of the Holy Spirit without even looking at the keys.

This small holiness church made a lasting impact on Willy’s life and he wanted nothing more than to see his father receive the Lord Jesus as his personal savior. He would spend countless time at the altar praying, “Lord, save my daddy!” Lord save my daddy was his prayer. But more than a prayer it was a dream and a wish that galvanized his thoughts. He did not want his father to die and go to a Devil's hell. Willie had hope. The Bible teaches us,

“But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” (John 15:7 NLT)

So day after day Willie prayed for his father, who was known around town as a mean man. Some even called him a snake. When he walked down the street some people would point to him and say, “Stay clear of that man for he would just as soon shoot you as look at you.” Rumor has it that he did, in fact, shoot a man that he thought had stolen his horse. He was a laborer with a strong back, a strong right hook, and a quick temper.

One night, after Willy returned home after church, he was on his knees at his bedside praying loudly for his Daddy to be saved. “Oh God, save my daddy!” He prayed earnestly and very loudly.

The neighbors complained because he prayed with his bedroom window opened, disturbing them with the agony of his prayers. One night while in prayer, his Father burst into his room and told him to stop praying. Willie was stunned, but he kept on praying all the more. His father threatened him with that famous temper of his and said, “Stop praying or I’ll beat you!”

Willie paused ... but with the thought of his daddy’s soul hanging in the balance, he prayed even harder. “Oh Lord, save my daddy!” Daddy slapped him across the head and told him to shut up. Willie refused and kept praying. Suddenly, his prayers turned into screams as Daddy beat him into silence.

Jesus teaches us, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” (John 15:7, John 15:18-19 NLT)

The next night after church the scene was repeated. Willie prayed for his Daddy once again. He intended to pray quietly but the more he prayed, the more the power of God came upon him. His prayers raised to a crescendo as Daddy burst into the room and shouted, “Stop praying or I’ll beat you!” 

“No Daddy,” Willie said as he turned once again toward his bed to pray. Once again, Daddy beat him into silence. This went on for several more nights until Daddy gave up and let Willie be. 

The revival was over, time passed, and Daddy reflected on the behavior of his good son Willie. Can a man’s hard heart ever be softened?

One Sunday morning, Daddy walked through the doors of the church and sat in the back. Eventually, he moved closer to the front upon every visit, until one glorious Sunday morning Daddy made it all the way down front to the altar, repented, and gave his stoney heart to the Lord. Willie thought that all the persecution and beatings were worth it when he saw the tears stream down his Daddy’s face as he asked Willie to forgive him. It was a beautiful miracle that day. A long-fought battle had come to an end and Daddy, my Great Grandfather Arrowood, became known as a sweet, gentle man who served the Lord for the rest of his days. 

The Bible teaches us to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31 KJV) If it can happen for Willie, it can happen for you. 

Copyright © 2019 Gene Markland, used by permission.

Editor's note: The abusive scenes described in this devotion are not condoned by CBN or the author but are part of this family's redemption story. 

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