"MY MOTHER’S PRAYER"
"Her children arise up, and call her blessed" (Prov. 31:28)
INTRO.: A song which encourages children to rise up and call their mother blessed is "My Mother’s Prayer." The text was written by Judson Wheeler VanDeVenter (1855-1939). The tune was composed by Winfield Scott Weeden (1847-1908). The song was copyrighted in 1895 by Weeden and VanDeVenter. VanDeVenter was an evangelistic preacher, and Weeden served as his song director. The two collaborated on several songs, including the well known "I Surrender All" beginning "All to Jesus I surrender," and "Sunlight" beginning "I wandered in the shades of night." Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "My Mother’s Prayer" appeared in the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) edited by L. O. Sanderson. It used to be quite popular judging from its appearance in older hymnbooks, but very few in recent years have used it. There is another song by Tullius Clinton O’Kane that was included in Ira Sankey’s Gospel Hymns Nos. 1 to 6 Complete with the same title.
The song relates the prayers of godly mothers to their children and their behavior.
I. Stanza 1 mentions a mother’s influence in prayer
"I never can forget the day I heard my mother kindly say:
‘You’re leaving now my tender care; Remember, child, your mother’s prayer.’"
A. God has created us with the capacity to remember, and there are certain things that we should not forget: 2 Pet. 1:9
B. One thing that we should not forget is the law of our mother: Prov. 1:8-9
C. This is true even after that time when a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife: Gen. 2:24
II. Stanza 2 mentions a mother’s influence through different places
"I never can forget the voice That always made my heart rejoice;
Though I have wandered, God knows where, Still I remember mother’s prayer."
A. Not forgetting the teaching that our mothers have given us is one way to honor our mothers: Eph. 6:2
B. Especially if we have had mothers who have stirred up unfeigned faith in us through their teaching, remembering their voice will always make our hearts rejoice: 2 Tim. 1:5
C. Quite often, our lives will cause us to wander in various places, but wherever we are, we should remember that when we live righteously, it causes our mothers to rejoice: Prov. 23:24-25
III. Stanza 3 mentions a mother’s influence over the passage of time
"Though years have gone, I can’t forget Those words of love–I hear them yet;
I see her by the old arm chair, My mother dear, in humble prayer."
A. Of course, the older we get, the more the years go by: Gen. 25:7-8
B. Yet, it is still important to remember that no matter how old we become, it is possible to act in such a way as to bring a mother to shame: Prov. 29:15
C. Rather, throughout life, assuming that our mothers are or were praying for us, we should strive to live in such a way as to honor them or at least their memory, knowing that the effective fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much: Jas. 5:16
IV. Stanza 4 mentions a mother’s influence leading to salvation
"I never can forget the hour I found the Savior’s cleansing power;
My sins and guilt He cancelled there. ‘Twas there He answered mother’s prayer."
A. Certainly all Christians can be thankful for the Savior’s cleansing power: Eph. 5:26
B. When we obey the gospel, our sins and guilt He cancels or remits and remembers them no more: Heb. 10:17-18
C. Such an occasion might just be the answer to a mother whose heart’s desire and prayer to God has been that her child might be saved: Rom. 10:1
CONCL.: The chorus continues to remind one of his mother’s care and concern for him or her.
"When-e’er I think of her so dear, I feel her angel spirit near;
A voice comes floating on the air, Reminding me of mother’s prayer."
The chorus to the final stanza reads as follows:
"O praise the Lord for saving grace! We’ll meet up yonder face to face,
The home above together share, In answer to my mother’s prayer."
Some might object to songs like this as merely sentimental religious nostalgia, and others might think this song inappropriate because not all Christians have had godly mothers whom they expect to see in heaven. However, I have to wonder, since the scriptures command us to honor our mothers, is it unscriptural to honor them in spiritual songs? Many denominational churches observe Mother’s Day as a special occasion in their worship. The New Testament does not authorize the church to observe any such special days. However, it is not wrong for individuals to observe Mother’s Day, and it is not wrong for the church by its teaching to exhort people to honor their mothers. So again I have to ask, does it make any difference whether that teaching is done by word or by song? Each one will have to make up his own mind about the matter, but I have to admit that the older I get, it not only brings a tear to my eye but also helps me to be more faithful in my service to God when I remember "My Mother’s Prayer."