It was more than forty years ago that we met Blanche. And it was about that time that the Lord was putting on her heart to engage in a ministry of intercession. Few people do this; even fewer spend a lifetime doing it. God takes notice. Isaiah 59:16 records how God saw the desperate condition of man and “…wondered that there was no one to intercede…” This is likely true of every generation.
Blanche began praying for family, friends, and missionaries. She continued praying for them daily. Every missionary prayer letter she received was brought before the throne of grace in prayer. As time passed, Blanche opened her small living room on First Avenue to other women who wanted to join her in prayer. That prayer meeting, held every Thursday morning, continued for forty years.
Not even Blanche’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease could interrupt the weekly prayer meetings. Prayer was a priority. As they prayed it was as if they stood on Earth and touched Heaven.
Over the years, the list of missionaries to be prayed for grew. Intercession was made for people and ministries on every continent and in dozens of countries. It is amazing but true that prayer could be made on First Avenue that impacted lives around the world. And these prayers were effective in seeing the Gospel go to unreached people groups! Because of God’s grace, by this prayer and through these ministries the lives of thousands, probably millions, of people were impacted for all eternity – all praise to Jesus, the Lamb of God!
Revelation 5:8 and 8:3 speak of the “prayers of the saints” accumulating before the throne of God. Over the 2,000 year span of church history that represents innumerable prayers from every generation of believers. Mingled with them are the thousands of hours of Blanche’s intercession. Though not acclaimed by man, and mostly unknown on earth, the prayer of Blanche and her friends – Fredlyne, Epsie, Sylvia, Glenda, and Cindy – have gained an eternal place in Heaven before God.
More recently, her battle with Parkinson’s disease brought much disability to Blanche. Even then, the weekly prayer times continued until she had no more stamina. A few days ago, Blanche slipped from her earthly body into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, we buried a prayer partner. Or, as you know, we buried the body she inhabited while on earth. Blanche was already present with the Lord. No less than seven missionaries were able to join with family, friends, church family, and the remaining prayer group, to honor a life well-lived. From the four corners of the Earth, many others have written of their love and appreciation for Blanche.
Today, we buried a prayer partner.
Who will take her place?