My Mother's Prayer
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 4
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“Hitler’s Army needs YOU! Report to Gumbinnen in 1½ hours!” a Nazi official commanded my Dad as he was waiting on customers in his leather-goods store. Emil, who was not a Nazi, started on the 25km trip and 7½ year separation from his wife and four children. His church missed the long-time organist.
My Mom juggled running the business and caring for us children. The day the Führer visited our sleepy hometown of 50,000 residents, we had a great view of him and his motorcade because we lived on Main Street. His Wolf’s Lair was only a short distance from our town.
Few Germans knew of their Führer’s atrocities, but the world had begun to recognize the evil he was perpetrating. Nightly bombing attacks of our hometown started. Sirens howled, bombs exploded, church friends died. Dragging four children under 10 years of age into the damp and rat-infested bomb-shelter every night became increasingly more difficult for my Mom.
“We saw the nightly explosions and fires here in your town, Emmy,” her visiting friend said. “We live too close to the Russian border. Why don’t you go to my Dad’s farm near Berlin. The Russians will never get that far into Germany. I will join you there later with my boys.”
With the travel permit in hand, my Mom, we four children, and our 76 year-old grandmother boarded the overcrowded train. While the enemy flung “Christmas trees” into the black night sky to illuminate targets, the train pulled us away from everything we had ever known.
The bomb-free days and peaceful nights made life enjoyable on the farm. After six months, however, rumbling tanks and explosions could be heard in the distance. If the enemy should come close to our town, the official told my Mom at Nazi headquarters, trains will be waiting at the station to take mothers and children to safety. That conversation took place on January 29, 1945 at 12:00 PM. Four hours later the news spread through town: “Evacuate the city!”
Old people, mothers, and children began to trek through the 10 inches of snow toward the railroad station. My Mom pulled the sled with the little-ones. They cried as they toppled off and the snow stung their faces. At the first street corner horrified citizens already returned from the station: “There are no trains!” (Months later we learned that the Nazis had escaped with the train and that it had been bombed.)
Disheartened, wet and cold, the town’s people trudged back to their homes to surrender—surrender to the enemy? To the Red Army? Sheets and pillowcases were hung out of windows. Twenty-one neighbors crowded into our tiny living room. “Teach us to pray! Please pray for us,” some were begging the godly host. He had previously been mocked by his neighbors for having been a Christian and preacher. But that had not bothered him. He pleaded with God for everyone’s protection.
My Mom knew how to talk to God. She had done that most of her life. I was 11 years old and have forgotten every prayer she ever prayed except for the following: “Lord Jesus, take all of us! Don’t let one of my children remain behind!” Remain behind? Could that mean we all might die? When a soldier was primed to pull the trigger, while holding the pistol to my Mom’s forehead, she remained calm and prayed. When chased by rapists, she ran, hid, and prayed. And God protected. Mothers without hope killed their children and then committed suicide. My Mom instead relied on God. She was in His hands and indwelt by His spirit. He would give His angels charge over the family and shield them from death, diseases and starvation. He was with her in the good times, and He later even saw her through the horrors of a Russian prison.
You see, my Mom had given her life to God as a teenager. She had lived for Him and walked with Him daily.
“Lord Jesus,” she had earnestly prayed, “I have learned that going to church, doing good deeds, and being a good person doesn’t get me to heaven. I have done all of that. But the Bible says we all have sinned. So now I ask you to forgive me of my sins. Thank you for dying for me on the cross! Thank you for rising again! Please come into my heart and save me, and let me live for you from this day forth. Amen!”
God had answered her prayer. He delights in prayers of repentance and grants eternal life. After a 7½ year separation, a joyous family reunion took place in a West German refugee camp. God rewarded my parents’ commitment to Him.