In January of 1987 Gertrude Gaston, who was my prayer partner and co-founder of Widows Harvest Ministries, arranged to have a prayer luncheon for widows in her home. On that historic occasion widows from very diverse backgrounds gathered together for the common purpose of prayer and fellowship. This first prayer and fellowship luncheon was such a success that these monthly prayer luncheons continue today 15 years later. In addition to these luncheons many of these same widows also gather each week for a widows prayer ministry and Bible study.
Over the years these faithful saints have prayed for literally thousands of individuals and ministries with miraculous answers to prayer too numerous to list. This group is also the driving force behind all that we do in this Ministry. Without the widow's continuous prayers I am not at all confident that Widows Harvest would have survived all these many years.
The Call to Prayer
In I Timothy 5:5-6, “The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6.) But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.” (NIV)
In the second chapter of Luke there is a wonderful example of a widow who devoted her life to serving God through fasting and praying:
Luke 2:36-38, “There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37.) and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38.) Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (NIV)
The Story Continues
In the year following that first prayer luncheon that Mrs. Gaston so graciously hosted in her home I began to search God's word in order to gain more insight into the role that widows are called to serve. Based on the passages in I Timothy 5, along with the example of Anna the Prophetess recorded in the second chapter of Luke I concluded that one main area that I believe widows are called to serve is the ministry of prayer.
As I began to share these insights with the widows who were regularly attending the monthly prayer and fellowship luncheons I witnessed something that I can only describe as miraculous. Widows, through the power of the Holy Spirit, had their hearts opened to the truth of this calling in such a way that they all responded eagerly and with sound conviction. It wasn't long before a request was made to me by the widows themselves for me to start a Bible study with them.
In those formative years we met weekly in the home of one of the widows, Irene Stinson, who has since gone to be in the Lord's glorious presence. Initially, I taught the Bible study, and then, after a time, I handed it over to others who I felt were more gifted and qualified. Presently, this weekly Bible study, which has also grown into a weekly prayer ministry as well, is now taught by Beverly Jackson (my mother). Beverly is not only an excellent teacher, but she is also a seasoned prayer warrior. In fact, I owe a great debt to my Mother, who faithfully prayed and fasted for me for over a year before I finally came to the place of devoting my life to serving God.
These widows, who have faithfully gathered for prayer week after week all these many years, in appearance, may seem ordinary, but in faith each one is quite extraordinary. A number of years ago, when our Nation was fighting in the Gulf War, the Lord put in my heart that the strategy that was employed by our air force was an example of His strategy for us who are called to battle in a heavenly realm. If you will remember, our air force flew bombing missions over Iraq 24 hours a day for weeks. That Country was so thoroughly bombarded that when the ground troops finally went in the enemy was quickly defeated with a minimum of casualties on our part.
Since that time I have come to view widows prayer ministries in the same light. In terms of the Kingdom of God I believe that widows are called to the air in the same strategic way that our air force operates. When enlisted widows can be that air power that bombards the heavenly realm (Ephesians 6:12) which, strategically, is so critical for those ground troops who are trying to advance the cause of Christ in hostile territory both here and abroad.
It is sad to say that widows are not typically seen in this light. They are, perhaps, the greatest missing link in Christiandom today. Not only are widows not recognized by governments, but more tragically, they are not recognized and given the proper honor by the Church either. In both situations widows fall into much broader categories like, senior adults, single retired woman, and in the case of younger widows, single mothers.
As part of our mission, Widows Harvest Ministries not only calls on the Church to recognize widows for who they are according to God's word and to utilize their gifts, talents and life experiences, but we also promote this among widows and provide them with opportunities for their gifts, talents and life experiences to be utilized as well. Given the recent tragic events in our Nation WHM is more determined than ever to rally the support of widows in the cause of Christ through prayer. Our churches, our communities, our cities, our states, our nations and our world needs seasoned prayer warriors, like those found among widows, who will stand together against our common enemy, the devil, and wage war against him on a heavenly battlefield.
I believe that the trumpet has sounded, giving us all the call to arms. Based on what it says in Psalm 127:1, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (NIV), all of the smart bombs and superior technology in the world cannot save us if the Lord is not watching over us. We cannot, as Christians, afford to lose sight of this fact. Our enemy has always been and will continue to be the devil.
If you are a widow and you desire to be fulfilled in God's calling in your life as well as in the lives of others through prayer please contact Andrew Mendonsa, at Widows Harvest Ministries. The vision of WHM in this crucial area is to build strong networks of widow's prayer ministries both here and abroad.
For more information about how you or your church can be involved in widow's ministries of prayer please contact us.
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