Monday, January 1
“. . . the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b, NIV)
Passion for Prayer
In our sanctuary is a stained-glass window that memorializes a man who was a member of First Baptist Church Tuscaloosa in the 1800s. His name was Deacon Richards. The script on the window simply reads, “To Deacon Richards and others like him . . . behold he prayeth.” In the center of the window is a picture of a lantern. It’s that lantern that tells the story.
Deacon Richards lived on the north side of the Black Warrior River, and there were times during floods or heavy rainfall that it was impossible to forge or ferry across the river. However, because Deacon Richards had such a passion for prayer, when he could not cross the river to be present for prayer meeting on Wednesday night, he would carry a lantern and a prayer list to the north bank of the river where he, “and others like him,” would pour their hearts out to God in prayer while other members of the church prayed on the south side of the river inside the church.
First Baptist Church Tuscaloosa was founded and built by people who had a passion for prayer. They believed with all of their hearts that, as Jesus himself said, God’s house should be a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13; Luke 19:46). Deacon Richards – and others like him– stand as incredible examples of people who were so passionate about prayer that not even a flooded river could keep them from gathering to pray.
Pray and thank God for Deacon Richards – and others like him – who, through the years of our church’s existence, have exemplified a passion for prayer. Pray and ask God to give our church a greater passion for prayer! Pray and ask God to give you a greater passion for prayer! – Gil McKee