The Power of Prayer
In my adolescence I began to be aware of the world around me—of social standards and peer pressure. I had some big questions but I had hardly any answers. I had never heard of a personal God. I had been exposed to formal religion and ritual, but never to the worship of a loving Creator.
My parents were not religious people. My mother was British and Protestant; my father was Jewish in heritage but not in faith. Their philosophy on raising me was, Let her decide to be whatever she wants to be.” They only told me to be good, to be kind, and not to hurt people.
As a teenager I sensed that there was a God, but He was far away, and it seemed as though we were separated by darkness and a great distance. I used to lie in bed at night and try to reach God with my mind. I would send “thought arrows” shooting heavenward and hope that somehow they would connect with something. They never did.
I also used to imagine myself on a mountaintop or in a field of flowers, in hope that the One who had created the beauties of nature would become as real to me as His creation. It didn’t work. Always there was that void, that distance, that feeling of isolation.
Then one day when I was 17 my best friend tried to explain grace to me. She said she had become a Christian, that Jesus was alive and that He had all the answers I needed.
I visited her church and heard the pastor preach, not about goodness or kindness or honesty or giving to the church, but about Jesus. Finally I understood that Jesus had died, sinless, spotless and pure, to take my place— all of humanity’s place—and that He had carried away all the sin, death and darkness. Suddenly I knew that Jesus was real. I prayed, “I know that You are there. I know what You have done. Don’t stand outside anymore. Come in!”
I had been born again, but unfortunately I had no idea of how to grow. I didn’t read the Bible and I didn’t have sound Christian fellowship. Without my knowing it, my Christian growth was arrested in an infant state. I graduated from high school and moved from Chicago to Iowa to attend college. Only l7 when I left home, I was also very young emotionally and spiritually.
During the next four years I had a really terrific indoctrination into the world. I did just about everything there was to do. I became my own god. I wanted happiness, friends and pleasure, and I got what I wanted. Now and then I had twinges of conscience. What about Jesus? But the little stabs would go away quickly, and I soon stopped feeling guilty at all.
When I was a senior in college, the good times ended. My boyfriend of nearly two years dumped me. I was suddenly adrift, without a future, without love and without esteem. I had done well in my studies, I had many friends, I belonged to many groups on campus and knew all the “right” people. Yet somehow none of that mattered. The loss of my boyfriend caused my life to lose meaning. I felt used and empty and I wanted to die.
Suddenly I realized that I had been letting that relationship fill my need for Jesus. I saw that no human could give unconditional love. Only the Messiah could. Finally one night when I felt like giving up, I got down on my knees and turned to God. I repented and asked His forgiveness. I wept and asked Him to cleanse me and to help me find Christian fellowship.
I began to change and to grow. I joined a Christian organization on campus. I went to a Bible study every morning with a few students and a professor. I became involved with a prayer group in town. Then I graduated and moved to a large nearby town where I worked as a nurse in a kidney transplant unit. I continued to grow spiritually and, bit by bit, all the garbage filtered out of my life. It took two years.
My interaction with Jews for Jesus began earlier, back on campus when someone had handed me a tattered, dog-eared broadside. For the first time I realized that there were Jews who believed as I did. The Holy Spirit worked in my heart, confirming my Jewishness to me. At first I was astonished. I couldn’t believe it, but still the message came: You are a Jew!
I began to pray for Jews for Jesus and got on their mailing list. I remember coming home after a long day’s work at the hospital, putting on a Liberated Wailing Wall tape and dreaming about working with them one day. I felt that the Lord was calling me into His full-time service, but I didn’t know all the details yet.
In May of 1979 I drove to Chicago to visit my parents. While I was there I went to a Jews for Jesus Bible study and heard about Avodah, the special year of study and training to be held in San Francisco. Suddenly I felt that I was supposed to go. I prayed for a month and had all my Christian friends pray, too. The message came loud and clear: Go to San Francisco and be a Jew for Jesus!
As a single, I had the freedom to leave everything behind and follow my heart. After much prayer, I had decided that I wanted two things: first, to be a part of God’s work in reaching the Jewish people for Jesus; and second, to marry a Jewish man who shared my vision and calling. That spring I had no idea that within a year’s time God would graciously fulfill both my wishes!
In August of 1979 I packed up my car and headed west to attend Avodah as a volunteer. Along with the missionaries, I studied Hebrew and Judaica. I learned how to give a story and how to witness to unbelievers on the streets and college campuses.
One day as I was studying for a test in one of the headquarters offices, a young man popped his head into the room to see who was there. For a split second our eyes met, and I was not surprised when that very night Steve called and asked me out. One of the first things he said to me was that he had been praying for a wife with whom he could share his ministry. It didn’t take very long for me to realize that Steve was the person for whom I had been waiting. We went out for the first time on November 1, got engaged on New Year’s Eve and were married on April 19, 1980! We joined The Liberated Wailing Wall and for two years traveled in the U.S. and overseas, singing about Yeshua and preaching the gospel to our people.
Our first son Aaron was born in 1982. David came along in 1984, and Hannah arrived in 1986. Those were busy years as Steve adjusted to being a branch missionary in Los Angeles and I adjusted to the joys of motherhood. During that time I helped to develop a messianic mom’s group and also sang with the Los Angeles Liberated Wailing Wall.
In 1987 our family moved to Boston, where Steve is now the branch leader. I continue to be very involved in the Jews for Jesus ministry. In 1991 I became the convenor of the Jews for Jesus Youth Commission. We meet three times a year to brainstorm, develop strategy and write materials to reach Jewish children for Yeshua.
All three of our own children have accepted the Lord, and just recently Aaron said that he would like to be a missionary in Israel! Boston is a wonderful place to raise a family and tell Jewish people about Jesus.