This past Tuesday, we learned that one of our missionaries, Olive Brittain, 90, went to be with her Lord on May 29th. Our church had the privilege of supporting Miss Brittain for 50 years. She began her ministry in India in 1954 and ‘retired’ in 1991 and later that year I met her. I was immediately struck with her deep love for God and seeing others come to Christ.
We are of course happy for her arrival in heaven and the presence of God, but here’s the rub. On the two occasions I met her personally and in every letter she sent to the church she assured us of her gratitude for supporting her. But she also made it clear, she was praying for our church and me personally as the pastor. That mutual prayer support is over and I will miss that. A year or so ago, I read Olive’s biography and in it her prayer life was described. It was also referenced in the letter we received from the mission regarding her ‘Home going’.
During her entire ministry in India and after her retirement, Olive had made it a habit to rise at 4:30 in the morning and spend the next ninety minutes to two hours in prayer and Bible study. Logical to guess that is when the Lord heard the name of our church and my name as she poured out her heart to God for us and many others. We sometimes call a person like this a ‘prayer warrior’ – one who commits her body, soul and spirit to petitioning heaven for the needs of those here on earth. Someday in heaven we will discover just what was accomplished here in Newark, because there was a dear saint on her knees praying for us whether she was in India or her home in Canada. I miss her already.
It is not too often I hear the testimonies of dear saints who rise early to spend an hour or two ‘bombarding’ heaven with their intercession. It makes sense that they don’t make their private prayer lives a thing for public acclaim. However, every time I do, they are men and women in their seventies and eighties. And they haven’t just started, they’ve been doing it for decades. Here’s my deep concern for the work of Christ and Christians and as surely for the lost and the world in which we live. With these dear men and women who have been praying for us entering eternity, who will take their places here on earth? Who will be praying for us now?
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about this and you have been waiting for the right time to begin. Dear friend, the time has come. If you wait until you’re in your seventies, the possibility that it will happen is very slim. Olive must have started when she was in her early twenties to meet with God every morning as she began her day. Dear child of God, will you take her place?
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3
Think about it!