His Prayers Made the Difference

post date: January 5, 2009

This morning’s funeral service for John Sergey lasted an hour-and-a-half, longer than usual, but that was to be expected for a man who lived so long (91 years) and accomplished so much. But in listening to family and friends, one fact stood out above everything else.

John Sergey was a man of prayer.

I think Sergei Nikolaev, pastor of the Temple of the Gospel in St. Petersburg, Russia, said it best.

I have known many great men, leaders of all varieties, great pastors and spiritual leaders from around the world. Over the years I have known hundreds of leaders, but very few of them want to pray. They all talk about prayer but very few take time to do it. John Sergey loved to pray. To him prayer was simply talking to his Heavenly Father.

Later on Pastor Nikolaev addressed the family seated in front of him.

You are John’s children, his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren. I tell you the truth. You are what you are and where you are because of your father’s prayers.

Think about that for a moment. You live for 91 years, you witness the rise and fall of empires, you establish a ministry, you preach via shortwave radio for decades, you establish churches, train pastors, you work tirelessly for the church in Russia, and what do they talk about at your funeral?

Your prayers.

Not all of us can do what John Sergey did as a missionary. But we can all pray. 

Lord, I want to be that sort of man. Teach me to pray and give me a heart for prayer so that when I am gone, people will remember that I prayed for them. Amen. 

PS Here is the text of my message at the funeral service this morning.

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Ray Pritchard
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