Joni shares that William Carey's missionary efforts in India were empowered by the prayers of his paralyzed sister in England.
Go into all the world and preach the Gospel -- that's a missionary call!
Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I've always loved stories about overseas missionaries -- especially stories from great saints of the 19th century who traveled on clipper ships to the outermost parts of the earth, most of them never to see their families back in England again. One such story is that of William Carey who lived from 1761 to 1834. He’s known as "the father of modern missions." Carey started out as a British cobbler, a shoemaker, who felt a deep burden for the nations of the world. He made a globe map of the world out of leather, tacked it up on his wall, and then, while he worked on shoes, he prayed for the various nations. Eventually, the Lord made it possible for William Carey to go to India as one of the first missionaries to that land. God gifted Carey with tremendous abilities. In fact, he translated the Bible into 37 different Indian dialects.
But William Carey didn't do all of these things through his own power. While he labored in the distant land of India, back in England, William Carey had a sister whom he affectionately called Polly – Polly was bedridden and almost completely paralyzed for 52 years. William wrote to Polly all about the details of his struggle to create primers and dictionaries in the various Indian dialects, as well as the difficulty of figuring out how to get these books typed and printed. And with every letter from William that she received, Polly lifted these needs up before the Throne. Every day for 52 years, she faithfully prayed for her brother.
Now I don’t have to tell you that really inspired me. There she is Polly for all intents and purposes a quadriplegic, unable to walk or use her hands. But that didn’t paralyze her prayer life. And, oh, were William Carey’s efforts blessed by God – not only was India reached for Christ, but what he did became a model for modern missionaries even to this day… all because a paralyzed woman prayed.
A lot of people know about the work of William Carey, but not many people know about the sister behind the scenes whose prayers guaranteed the success of his efforts. Polly’s testimony tells me that the life of any Christian can have huge repercussions for the kingdom. Think of it: if God can use bedridden quadriplegics to open doors to the Gospel around the world, what can He do through your prayers?! Little wonder the Bible says, “Pray without ceasing.” … for God knows what great things are accomplished when people pray.
I hope this inspires you today to pray for the success of the Gospel. And speaking of that, I have five Gospel tracts called “Amazing Love.” Three tracts in English and two in Spanish (for anyone in your community who might speak Spanish)… pray over these tracts and then slip one into a note card for a neighbor; leave one with your tip at a restaurant; or enclose one when you send payment for a bill. Who knows how the Holy Spirit might use it? But with prayer covering each tract, we can know for certain that God has somebody in mind! For your free Gospel tracts, just go to joniandfriends.org and we’ll get them to you right away; again, that’s joniandfriends.org. And I leave you with this wonderful statement that William Carey made after his labors in India were over. He wrote, "Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God." I'm expecting great things from God through you today, too!
And once again let me remind you of our website: it’s joniandfriend.org.
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