John Newton's Mom

Soul Snack 190/12 ... John Newton's Mom

"...What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mk 11:24)

Philadelphia born Samuel Dickey Gordon was an influential devotional writer and an uncommon speaker of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. This historical anecdote is truly prayer-inspiring.

A good while ago in smoky, foggy, lovely London there was a fully surrendered, consecrated woman-gray-haired, bent back (she spent many hours a day over the washtub and the ironing board.) She had a boy. He ran away to sea in his teens, and for years she did not know where the boy was. And she prayed, of course. With these praying mothers - prayer never slips! Many a time the dew of her eyes mingled with the suds as she prayed for John on the high seas, she knew not where. And the prayer was answered, of course. No real, simple prayer ever slipped yet. It cannot. John came to Jesus. And then he began telling others about Jesus, and he became known as "the sailor preacher" of London. John Newton, London's sailor preacher, was the means of turning men (I will use a big word thoughtfully) by the THOUSANDS to Jesus.

Among the many that John Newton touched, there was one man, Thomas Scott, cultured, scholarly, moral, BUT "didn't need a Saviour." Scott came to Jesus. And then Scott, as many of you know by tongue and by pen, (again I will use that big word) swayed THOUSANDS for Jesus.

Among the many that Scott touched, there was one man, the very reverse of Scott, young, dyspeptic, melancholy, "too bad" for God to save. But Scott touched Cowper, and Cowper found out about a fountain filled with blood. And he was cleansed in the flood of blood. He wrote down his hymn, "There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood." Some folks do not like that hymn today. Some of the new hymnbook makers are leaving it out. But the old hymn was sung, and saved people by the thousands.

And Cowper touched a man, among many - Wilberforce, clever, a Christian statesman who was a lay preacher of the old school. And Wilberforce, among many, touched one man, a vicar of the Church of England, namely Richmond. He was changed. And Richmond knew the story of the daughter of a milkman... He wrote down her story. He called the little bit of a book, "The Dairyman's Daughter." This little bit of a book went into peasant's huts and kings' palaces, and all between, and everywhere-burning like a soft, intense flame. Untold thousands of lives were touched and changed.

The center of the whole thing - an old woman, gray-haired, bent back, stubby fingers, bending over the washing and ironing as she prayed for her boy, John. And praying until John came... I am very clear about this. The Man on the throne yonder who came from the throne to the cross and back would say, "This woman, she was MY friend. Through her prayer I could loosen out the power that touched untold thousands." 

~ S. D. Gordon

Through prayer Newton's mother's influence has travelled from the kitchen to the castle, the laundry to the lounge room and yesterday to today. Through prayer John Newton's mom has travelled to your house and still travels today. She still loosens prayer and you can too.

PS - She is not remembered by her name... just by her prayer ~ oh, what a humble legacy to pursue!

Today's Soul Snippet:

Prayer is the only path that can be walked on the knees.