Denise Hughes and I met in 2012 at a blogging conference. She had the gentlest voice and demeanor and I was instantly drawn to her kindness. In the four years since then, I’ve found my first instincts about her were 100% accurate. She is generous and gracious in every way. I’m excited to have her share an excerpt from her Word Writers, her new Bible study series. You’ll be hearing more from me about Word Writers and why I think it is an amazing resource for you to use with your girls. But today, I’m glad you get to meet my dear friend, Denise. ~ Teri Lynne
A few years ago, a sweet silver-haired couple returned to the States after living overseas for more than 40 years. As missionaries, they spent their lives serving in a country that is closed to the gospel, and they asked me to edit their memoirs — something they wanted to pass on to their children. The husband, however, feared that too many of the stories were solely about him; he wanted more of his wife’s stories included. So he asked me if I would meet with his wife, Jan, to listen to her stories and write them down.
Jan invited me to her home for tea. I watched as she slowly folded the linen napkins and placed her favorite teacups on the table. I asked if I could help, but she insisted I was her guest. The morning light sifted through the curtains as Jan poured the tea and served the pastries. She motioned for me to sit, and together we bowed our heads.
Jan prayed for our food and our conversation. She prayed for me and my husband and our children. She prayed for the woman she met yesterday at the grocery store. She prayed for the leaders of the country where she had lived. Each leader by name.
While she prayed, I told myself to settle in for a long morning. Clearly this was going to take a while. My mind began to wander. I wondered if the tea would get cold. I wondered if I’d have enough time to pick up my dry cleaning before needing to pick up my kids from school. I wondered if I had ever started a conversation with a lady at the grocery store, much less tell a stranger in the Pop-Tarts aisle about Jesus.
Jan whispered amen and I uttered the same, feeling guilty that I couldn’t hold a train of thought long enough to follow her prayer. This silver-haired woman could pray me under the table any day. There was something different about her prayer too. I’d been in plenty of church services where the folks who prayed got louder and louder as they voiced their requests and shouted their amens. But Jan’s gentle voice grew steadier and calmer — somehow stronger and quieter at the same time.
We’ve all met people we like to call “the real deal.” Their lives exemplify what they believe, and they’ve changed ours for the better. My missionary friend, Jan, was like that for me. She was the real deal. When I think of prayer warriors, I think of her.
Prayer warriors possess a rare combination of inner strength and outer gentleness. They know where the real battles are fought. I’ve never considered myself a prayer warrior. But the older I get, the more I realize how important prayer is. Every believer is called to pray, for it’s through prayer that God’s desires become our desires. And it’s through prayer that spiritual battles are won.Prayer warriors know where the real battles are fought. @denisejhughes #PrayersForGirls Click To Tweet
I left that morning changed.
On my way home from Jan’s, my husband called me during his lunch break. “How was your morning with Jan?” he asked.
I didn’t know how to respond. Except I felt as though I had just spent three hours having tea with Jesus. And I had. Jesus was as real in Jan as anyone I had ever met. So I answered my husband with the only thing I knew for sure. “I want to be like Jan when I grow up.”
The keynote of Jan’s life was a heart devoted to prayer — prayer for her family, her friends, and even the strangers she met in the Pop-Tarts aisle. Praying with Jan moved me. And I knew the Lord was speaking to my heart, convicting me to make prayer something more than a few cursory words of praise or thanksgiving. A life of prayer leads to a life like Jesus. And I want more of Jesus more than anythingA life of prayer leads to a life like Jesus. @denisejhughes on #PrayersForGirls Click To Tweet
*Excerpted from Word Writers by Harvest House Publishers, September 2016.
Denise loves the world of words, where life and literature connect, but she’s most passionate about the one Book with living words — the Word of God. She’s the author of the new Bible study series Word Writers and the host of the Deeper Waters Retreat. She enjoys serving as the Editorial Coordinator for (in)courage, and she blogs at Embracing Grace and Truth, where she writes about the faith, motherhood, and writing. When she’s not teaching in the classroom or at conferences, she’s trying to find shade in sunny Southern California while sharing life with her husband and three kids. Connect with Denise on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Learn more about the Word Writers series by clicking the image below.