Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.... -Jeremiah 1:5a
The earliest memory I can recall is when Mom and Dad brought my newborn sister Deb home from the hospital. I do not recall who else was there, what the weather was like (July in Arkansas; what would be your guess?), or the color of the car my father drove. I only remember my mom holding a tiny little red-faced sleeping baby, as dad helped her from the car.
The earliest prayer I can remember praying is for my brother Rodney. By the time I was eleven, I had two sisters. I felt outnumbered.
So when I learned that Mom was expecting, I began to pray. I prayed with the confidence that only an eleven year-old raised in church can have, certain that God would hear me and answer me.
There is a sense in which we believe that the only prayer of the unregenerate heart which God will acknowledge is, "LORD, save me!"
God hears the prayers of His children. Can it be that the earnest prayer of a child fits that category? I don't know. I know that the Church has always taught its children to pray. I know from many incidents recorded in the Bible that Jesus loves the little children.
At any rate, about 8 in the evening on October 21, 1959 (my dad's 33rd birthday), the call came from the hospital. My mother had given birth to a "fine baby boy."
Was I overjoyed? As much as I love words, I cannot begin to express my feelings. Or the fellowship that we shared from the first
time we met. Eleven years between us, but two GUYS, the first guy
whose company I ever truly enjoyed. How I defended him from my sisters when they wanted to put make-up on him and dress him up. Playing football in the backyard. Not letting the other guys break up a fight between him and David Treadaway until Rod began to gain the upper hand. If you're a guy and you have a brother, I don't have to tell you any of this.
Funny thing about that prayer. I don't recall praying much (if any) at all after that. For a long time. Until that storm-lashed night (in October again) when I cried out, "LORD save me!"
But since then, I have prayed. Prayed for mercy for my mom. Prayed for forgiveness daily. Prayed for Christian brothers and sisters undergoing the trials that we all face in this life.
Since then, I have prayed for my brother again. How blessed I have been to have such a brother. Even when we have been angry with each other, forgiveness has always followed quickly.
But I would have him be my brother in Christ also. I would play football with him in the backyard of heaven. With brand new bodies able to run like the wind, "soft hands" to catch those lofted passes, eyes sharp to "look the ball into your hands."
I would stand beside him at the throne of God, and sing a new song; we who shared many a night together singing every song we ever knew.
So I love you, my little brother. I am praying for you, And I will come continuously before God's throne of grace, like the persistent widow, until He grants my petition and I rejoice as I did on October 21, 1959; a brother has been born into the kingdom of God.
May He be praised.