Susanna Wesley (1669-1742): A Life of Prayer
Hidden behind the door of many homes is the reality of hardship. Secret things happen that few want the world to know. Yet, from some people (presently and historically) we are given the inside story, whether they want it told or not.
A devastated home isn’t always apparent on first impression, is it? Susanna Wesley was married to a preacher. They had 10 children of which, two grew up to bring millions of souls to Christ. That would be John and Charles Wesley. It’s a powerful story if you stop there, isn’t it?
But, behind the door of her home, hopeless conditions were the norm. She married a man who couldn’t manage money. They disagreed on everything from money to politics. They had 19 children. Nine of them died in infancy. Sam (her husband) left her to raise the children alone for long periods of time. This was sometimes over something as simple as an argument.
One of their children was crippled. Another couldn’t talk until he was nearly six years old. Susanna herself was desperately sick most of her life. There was no money for food or anything. Debt plagued them.
Sam was once thrown into debtor’s prison because their debt was so high, which doubled their problems. Twice the homes they lived in were burned to the ground, losing everything they owned. It was assumed that their church members did it because they were so mad at what Sam preached in the pulpit! Someone slit their cow’s udders so they wouldn’t have milk, killed their dog, and burned their flax field!
When Susanna was young, she promised the Lord that for every hour she spent in entertainment, she would give to Him in prayer and in the Word. Taking care of the house and raising so many kids made this commitment nearly impossible to fulfil. She had no time for entertainment or long hours in prayer! She worked the gardens, milked the cow, schooled the children and managed the entire house herself. So, she decided to instead give the Lord two hours a day in prayer!
She struggled to find a secret place to get away with Him. So she advised her children that when they saw her with her apron over her head, that meant she was in prayer and couldn’t be disturbed. She was devoted to her walk with Christ, praying for her children and knowledge in the Word no matter how hard life was.
One of her daughters got pregnant out of wedlock and the man never married her. She was devastated, but remained steadfast in prayer for her daughter.
In the end, she knew that one day her hard life would be over and she alone would stand before the throne of God and give an account of how she lived her life.
We can be the best mom, wife, friend, person in the world and still have untold hardships. We need to take Susanna’s example, flip our apron over our head and pray in the middle of it all.
Back to the beginning of the story…
Her sons John and Charles were powerhouses for the glory of the Lord. John Wesley preached to nearly a million people in his day. At the age of 70 he delivered the gospel message of salvation to 32,000 people- without the use of a microphone! He brought revival in England and transformed the nation! His brother Charles wrote over 9000 hymns, many which we still sing today.
Underneath it all, hidden behind the door of the home – was a woman on her knees praying diligently – no matter how busy or how hard the circumstances. That was all. Can we live such a sacrificial life? Where’s my apron?
Do you know where you are? Is your apron on? Are you in position so that the others around you come into position?