‘Behind every great man lies a great woman’. A lady called Monica had a son. Being a Christian she began to pray for him from birth. Like many young people the boy grew up amid temptations in the world around and was charmed by them. She never gave up praying. She wept, she begged, she prayed. She longed for the Lord to bring her son to himself. It seemed as though he just got farther away. He rejected Christ and joined another religion. She never gave up praying. He was finally brought back to the Lord when he was 31. It hadn’t been an easy ride. She never gave up praying.
Today we know the boy as St Augustine. The man who taught Christians that in a world with a failing economy, mass migration and a questionable government their true security was not in the government of this world but in the city of heaven with God. Who having been claimed by Christ prayed, ‘Our hearts find no rest until they find rest in you’.
This story is so familiar isn’t it, it could be told by countless Christians all over the world all over time. After all, ‘There is nothing new under the sun’ (Ecclesiastes 1.9). As a parent of one (nearly two!) children I fear for their adult years. I worry for the world in which they will live. But most of all I long for them to cling to their Saviour. Many of us will have children or grandchildren whom we pray for. I hope the, not unique, story of Augustine’s mum may serve as an encouragement. Let us persist in prayer. We may feel helpless, we may be helpless. No matter how long it’s been let us keep praying, keep begging the Lord to protect and draw to himself those we love. We can’t all be St Augustines, great erudite teachers of the faith. We can all be Monicas, faithfully praying, constantly interceding for our families. When others have given up the Lord hasn’t. Let us never give up praying.