Power in Prayer
Pastor Dawn Jackson
Do you recognize the man in the picture? My guess is probably not. In fact you most likely have never seen him before. But to me this man is a hero, one of my heroes. This is my grandfather, the Reverend William Olin Jackson and boy could he pray!
He and my grandmother lived in Oklahoma so my interaction with him was limited yet he left a lasting imprint on my life in the area of prayer. Occasionally we would visit during the summer. At meal time he would pray over the food, sometimes praying so long that my grandmother had to reheat the food! At night it was expected that whoever was present in the house, family member or guest, would meet in the living room for family prayer. He would read a chapter of the Bible and then everyone would kneel around the room as he led us in prayer. He would name each one of his children and grandchildren by name and intercede specifically for them. As a child I was bored and felt like these prayer sessions went on forever. In fact, I would try to get out of them by staying at my cousins house. But looking back as an adult I am extremely grateful for I am confident his prayers helped shape my life.
While there were many times my grandfather saw the hand of God move as the result of his prayer (people healed, weather patterns changed, food provided when there was no money, their sick cow which they needed for milk healed, etc.), there is one story that stands out to me. When he was in his early 80’s he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and he eventually ended up in a nursing home. He spent much of his day thinking he was living in the 1930’s . But at night when the nurses would help him back into bed he would grab their hands, start to pray and not let go. The nurses knew that when the Reverend Jackson started praying over them they would not be leaving for a while. What I find interesting though, is the nurses would often come out of his room in tears. In his mind my grandfather was living in the 1930’s, yet when he prayed the Spirit of God took over and the nurses would say his prayers were specific to what they needed to hear for their current situations. My grandfather’s spirit was in alignment with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit overcame his Alzheimer’s and gave him words to pray which were specific to a situation and personal to the one being prayed for. Not even Alzheimer’s could inhibit his prayers!
From my grandfather, I learned that prayer is not a last resort when I do not know what else to do. It is a powerful, dynamic connection to the Creator of the universe who is personal, knowable and willing to intervene in my life. And I am encouraged to know that even a mind-debilitating disease cannot inhibit me from connecting to him or being effective in my prayers! Prayer is powerful and it is a privilege—let’s continue to press into Him!