a mother's prayer

29 November 1979

I've written about this date before. It is a huge date in my life. The morning after the Erebus disaster and I found myself at a shocked Auckland airport ready to fly to the USA. At 20 years of age I was heading to the USA both to attend Urbana '79 (where I was to experience God's enduring call on my life) and, after three years of letter-writing, to meet up again with Barby (where we were to decide to keep writing letters...!).

Last week, as I was sorting through lots of stuff in preparation for leaving NZ and coming to live here in Bangalore, I discovered a letter from my grandmother (the same one who introduced me to John Baillie's A Diary of Private Prayer ... and who instilled in me a love for the flowers in the garden - see below).

The letter is dated - yes, you guessed it - 29 November 1979.

"Dearest Paul
We pray for the trip for safety, good health and above all, God's blessing. We pray that you may be able to listen and respond with sensitivity both to people and to God; that you may be able to encourage and help in many places; that you may effectively learn lessons that will not only be of personal benefit, but of benefit to others...
(and then, on a separate piece of paper she included this little prayer)

The Light of God surrounds you;
The Love of God enfolds you;
The Power of God protects you;
And wherever you are, God is with you.

We lovingly place you in the hands of the Father ... the best of all is God is with you."

Fast-forward to 3 September 2013.

Once again the date may prove huge in our lives, as Barby and I head off to live in India (ironically - and unintentionally(!) - exactly 100 years after Barby's grandparents and exactly 50 years after my parents did the same thing, in 1913 and 1963 respectively). Once again Auckland airport is in the storyline. I am checking my emails before boarding our flight and there is one from my precious mum. It reads like this:

"... for old times' sake:

The light of God surrounds you;
The love of God enfolds you;
The power of God protects you;
The presence of God watches over you;
And wherever you are, God is there.

And it's the same for all the orphans at home.

I'm loving you all the way.


It is a well-known prayer (I haven't yet tracked its source) with frequent sightings on the internet. But it is doubly significant for me now as I pray it for myself and our seven children that we've left behind.

So here endeth my little series on mothers:
a mother's poem, a mother's plea, and now this one, on a mother's prayer.
... but, I must confess, that as a father - I kinda like all three!

nice chatting



Michael Ardern said…
I love this post, Paul. Precious thoughts, thanks for sharing them here. Blessings on you and Barby's ministry work in Bangalore. -Mike A.
Paul said…
Thanks, Michael.

Yes, it is a beautiful little prayer and I am glad to have it woven into the fabric of my family life across the generations.

Now - as the ache of separation settles in, my hope is in God proving it to be true and real in our lives.

Blessings on you too


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