The Prayers and Tears of St. Augustine’s Mother

One of my daughters was reading Confessions by St. Augustine about the time I was grieving in tears every day for my prodigal son. I found this story about his mother very consoling because St. Augustine was a prodigal himself who came to be a saint. I’m just going to quote some helpful passages out of the book:

“But you ‘sent down your help from above’ Psalms 144:7, and rescued my soul from the depths of this darkness because my mother, your faithful servant, wept to you for me, shedding more tears for my spiritual death than other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son. For in her faith and in the spirit which she had from you she looked on me as dead. You heard her and did not despise the tears which streamed down and watered the earth in every place where she bowed her head in prayer.” (Page 68)

augustine-6

Continue reading this reblogged post here.

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Rachel Weeping For Her Children

Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.” Jeremiah 31:15-17
One dear mother brought this scripture to my attention and I have thought about it for days. So many times when mothers have wept to me about their prodigal children the words, “Rachel weeping for her children” has come to mind…

What was Jeremiah prophesying about here?

Herod commanded that all the children under 2 years of age be killed when he heard of the birth of the King of Israel…for Emmanuel had come…El with us to tabernacle with us and Satan was seeking whom he may devour knowing that his time was short.

Here again we are faced with an adversary seeking whom he may devour. Quoting Sylvia Gunter from her article entitled Praying for Rebellious Ones…

“In general, young people today are being opposed to a degree that perhaps the world has never seen. The adversary of their souls is waging spiritual battle for the lives of an entire generation. Those whom the enemy cannot extinguish by abortion he is intent on stealing, killing, or destroying at younger and younger ages.”
We definitely are living in an age where we see the signs of the return of Christ evident all around us… an apostasy as never before. An age where the gospel has gone out into all the world and is being blatantly rejected or twisted and distorted. Men are turning away from God and being turned over to reprobate minds. Romans 1:28, Titus 1:16.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” 2 Timothy 3: 1-3
Is there comfort for these weeping mothers? Look again at what it says in Jeremiah right after this…
 

“Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.”

Let us hold fast to the promises of our God for He is mighty to save and bring our children back into the fold. My hope and prayer, dear parents, is that this brings you loads of comfort and encouragement as it did to me…
And more encouragement from Charles Spurgeon…
I have prayed for thee.”-Luke 22:32
How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer’s never-ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, He pleads for us; and then we are not praying, He is advocating our cause, and by His supplications shielding us from unseen dangers. Notice the word of comfort addressed to Peter-“Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat; but”-what? “But go and pray for yourself.” That would be good advice, but it is not so written. Neither does he say, “But I will keep you watchful, and so you shall be preserved.” That were a great blessing. No, it is, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” We little know what we owe to our Saviour’s prayers. When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall we thank Him because He never held His peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon His hands, and carried our names upon His breastplate! Even before Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in heaven. Mercy outruns malice. Mark, He does not say, “Satan hath desired to have you.” He checks Satan even in his very desire, and nips it in the bud. He does not say, “But I have desired to pray for you.” No, but “I have prayed for you: I have done it already; I have gone to court and entered a counterplea even before an accusation is made.” O Jesus, what a comfort it is that thou hast pleaded our cause against our unseen enemies; countermined their mines, and unmasked their ambushes. Here is a matter for joy, gratitude, hope, and confidence.
Painting of Woman at the Well by Simon Dewey

The Garment of Praise for the Spirit of Heaviness

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalms 27:13

Love can be so bitter sweet…like the love of a parent for a prodigal.

A chasm deep and wide … so incredibly deep. I picture my hand reaching across it as far as I can reach and the hand of my son reaching from the other side of the great chasm, but our hands can not touch.

We ache for our love for each other, but we can not reach each other for that chasm of sin lies between.

A chasm of space and time

I wept and my heart was once again broken, because God’s timing was not yet right. I wept the tears of longing.

For days the waters kept overflowing and my eyelids could not press them back.

Where was my HOPE?….Where was my FAITH?

We gathered around our living room for our devotion time…lifting up our voices in unison we sang songs of worship and praise

As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after Thee…
You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship Thee.
You alone are my strength my shield…
To you alone may my spirit yield …

Choking up there were times I could not voice the words from my mouth, but I heard the melodic harmonies in rapturous song floating all around me…

And then prayers emanated around the room …the most beautiful perfumed fragrances floating up to the Father on High…a healing balm to my broken heart.

To hear the earnest prayers of my children desiring the will of the Father in each life…all in their own personal way… their own personal relationship with Jesus…

It was awesome…so awesome that my broken heart in a moment’s time was touched by the most awesome LOVE in the Universe.

…”to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3


And this morning I read this scripture…

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” Matthew 21:28-31

Parents have hope…our prodigals have said no, but they will repent

A beautiful card given with LOVE to me from my sons and daughters…

The Prayers and Tears of St. Augustine’s Mother

One of my daughters was reading Confessions by St. Augustine about the time I was grieving in tears every day for my prodigal son. I found this story about his mother very consoling because St. Augustine was a prodigal himself who came to be a saint. I’m just going to quote some helpful passages out of the book:

“But you ‘sent down your help from above’ Psalms 144:7, and rescued my soul from the depths of this darkness because my mother, your faithful servant, wept to you for me, shedding more tears for my spiritual death than other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son. For in her faith and in the spirit which she had from you she looked on me as dead. You heard her and did not despise the tears which streamed down and watered the earth in every place where she bowed her head in prayer.” (Page 68)

Beautiful photo by Janjan Perez

After this St. Augustine tells a story about a dream that his mother had that consoled her, and that it was still nine years that he “wallowed deep in the mire and the darkness of delusion.” He writes, “Often I tried to lift myself, only to plunge the deeper. Yet all the time this chaste, devout, prudent women, a widow such as is close to your heart, never ceased to pray at all hours and to offer You the tears she shed for me.”

“‘Her prayers reached Your presence’ Psalms 88:2 and yet you still left me to twist and turn in the dark.”

“ I remember that in the meantime you gave her another answer to her prayers,… “

“This other answer that you gave her through the mouth of one of your priests, a bishop who had lived his life in the Church and was well versed in the Scriptures. My mother asked him, as a favor, to have a talk with me, so that he might refute my errors, drive the evil out of my mind and replace it with good. He often did this when he found suitable pupils, but he refused to do it for me- a wise decision, as I afterwards realized. He told her that I was still unripe for instruction because, as she had told him I was brimming over with the novelty of the heresy and had already upset a great many simple people with my casuistry. ‘Leave him alone’, he said. ‘Just pray to God for him. From his own reading he will discover his mistakes and the depth of his profanity.’ (Page 69)

“Even after my mother heard this my mother still would not be pacified, but persisted all the more with her tears and her entreaties that he should see me and discuss the matter. At last he grew impatient and said ‘Leave me and go in peace. It cannot be that the son of these tears should be lost.’”

“In later years, as we talked together, she used to say that she accepted these words as a message from heaven.”(Page 70)

I hope this will encourage you as it did me that our tears are not in vain. Remember to travail in prayer for our prodigals and offer our tears to our heavenly Father knowing and trusting that He is hearing our pleas and working His perfect way in the hearts of our sons and daughters. You can read more of St. Augustine’s life, if you like, in his book Confessions of St. Augustine.

Meddling Mothers

I was reminded today of meddling. I think as mothers we have a tendency to meddle too much in the lives of our children and we also have a tendency to try and fix everything. In prayer one day God brought to my remembrance a chick coming forth from an egg. The process is very slow and sometimes as we are waiting and watching the chick does not seem strong enough to break open that shell and be free. But there are grave consequences for trying to help the chick break loose from its shell. The chick is actually gaining strength by going through the process and if we meddle we may jeopardize its very life.

chick-hatching

I am guilty of meddling too much in my son’s life; of coming between him and his father when I should have stood silent. I have learned submission to my husband in this area, even though it was and is very hard for me to let go. I have learned that I must put all my trust in my heavenly Father and His timing. I have learned that His way is better and how important it is that I not tamper with what God is doing.

From Streams in the Desert:

Isa 50:11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

What a solemn warning to those who walk in darkness and yet who try to help themselves out into the light. They are represented as kindling a fire and compassing themselves with sparks. What does this mean?
Why it means that when we are in darkness the temptation is to find a way without trusting in the Lord and relying upon Him Instead of letting Him help us out we try to help ourselves out. We seek the light of nature and get the advice of our friends. We try the conclusions of our reason, and might almost be tempted to accept a way of deliverance which would not be of God at all.
All these are fires of our own kindling; rush-lights that will surely lead us onto the shoals. And God will let us walk in the light of those sparks, but the end will be sorrow.
Beloved, do not try to get out of the dark place, except in God’s time and in God’s way. The time of trouble is meant to teach you lessons that you sorely need.
Premature deliverance may frustrate God’s work of grace in your life. Just commit the whole situation to Him. Be willing to abide in darkness so long as you have His presence. Remember that it is better to walk in the dark with God than to walk alone in the light.  From The Still Small Voice

Cease meddling with God’s plans and will. You touch anything of His, and you mar the work. You may move the hands of a clock to suit you, but you do not change the time; so you may hurry the unfolding of God’s will, but you harm and do not help the work. You can open a rosebud but you spoil the flower. Leave all to Him. Hands down. Thy will, not mine. ~ Stephen Merritt

The Prayer Every Mother Must Pray

— An Excerpt From the Inspiring Women series By Rebekah Montgomery

One night, when the situation with my son looked hopeless, I dreamed I was carrying him through a dark, foggy night over steep, rocky terrain. He was heavy and the way was difficult but I would not set him down. I carried him uphill until I could go no farther. I looked up and before me was the cross and Jesus hanging upon it, His blood dripping down. In wonder and awe, I touched His blood and immediately, I felt stronger, hopeful, empowered, wiser.

And I knew what to do: I prayed the prayer every mother must pray for her child whether that child is prodigal or not: “By the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, bring every thought and imagination of my child’s mind, every emotion of his heart, every deed of his hands, and every step that he takes under Your Lordship. Lead him to love You with all of his heart, mind, and soul, and his neighbor as himself.”

With that, I touched him with the blood of Jesus. Then I asked the Lord, “What now?”
He said, “Leave him with Me.”

I laid my son at the foot of the cross. Although the dream ended, in my heart, there my son remains.

Since there have been great changes for the better in my son’s life. Of course I still pray for him, but I pray in confidence now rather than out of desperation and fear. Like the persistent mother, I have laid him at Jesus’ feet. His love is healing him. Jesus wants my son to be well, too.

While I “saw” all of this in a dream, I have prayed the prayer of the persistent mother with many mothers and grandmothers who are struggling to bring their children to mental and spiritual health in a world where Satan actively seeks to destroy them. And until we receive what we seek, we will stay on our knees pleading for the healing of our children’s souls believing in the powerful love of Jesus…