A new year

As we start this new year, let’s begin with hope.

Hope that’s fueled by prayer.

My grandmother believed in prayer. She had eight children – that would be enough to drive almost anyone to prayer. When your resources are stretched, you have to look outside yourself for help.

Her third-born son was named Paul. (My parents named me Paul and emphasized that I was not named after my Uncle but after the Paul in the Bible.)

My Uncle Paul was an alcoholic. He didn’t just struggle with it – that disease saturated every pore of his body. It ruined his life and ultimately was the main cause of his death.

But my grandmother prayed for him. Daily. Hourly.

“I’m stirred to pray more for others than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m trying to spend at least 3 hours on my knees every day.” She wrote that in a letter to my parents at 78 years of age.

Though she didn’t see an answer to her prayers for her son Paul (at least not the answers in the way she desired), she got a lot closer to God during all those hours of pouring out her heart for her kids and grandkids. And God answered many of her other prayers.

So when we face personal and global situations in 2021 that are beyond our control, let’s get on our knees. I can’t think of a better way to start the year.

Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.