Forty years ago when my wife Delma and I established our Christian ministry the first thing we arranged were five ladies willing to hold up our family and ministry in prayer on a daily basis. In all these years it has been these ladies who have penetrated the heavenlies. This is an article over the years I have necessarily updated.
It is the five women praying 'every day' for us have been the mainstays of our lives and ministries and we have at times set them 'specific prayer points' to whit the Lord has given the increase.
Imagine this — five praying ladies covering these ministry adventures —
Australian Cricket Team Chaplaincy 17 years to 2000
Life After Cricket ministry 2001–
Olympic ministry 1984–
IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2000
Holy Land Tours from 1999–
Founding and heading the Sports Ministry 1982–2000
Timeout in Moruya from 1992 –2006
Timeout in the Tweed from 2006–
Laguna Quays Respite ministry from 2011–
Columnist with Christian Today from 2008–
Young writer ministry from 2009–
Country Town Tours these 40 years–
Art Ministry from 2000–
Australia's Bush Orchestra tourism ministry 1996–2005
Chambers of Commerce ministries 1992–
One Day in Melbourne 2006–
Executive ministries 1984–
Ministry travel from 1982–
schooling of the children
their HSC years
university away from home
living / travelling overseas
escaping 2005 London bombing by 20min
weddings and marriages
eldest daughter's breast cancer
all the normal family things …
It is the five praying ladies who have upheld us over all these years. Over these many years there have been a few changes due to age but we have been wonderfully blessed by them all. The current five praying ladies live in Midge Point, Wollongong, Goulburn, Cooma and Hobart. The oldest is 98.
I am reminded by Dr Sam Mings of Lay Witnesses for Christ International ministry who runs one of the most remarkable Olympic ministries who often quotes Zechariah chapter 4, verse 2b 'Not by power nor by might but by my Spirit saith the Lord'.
These praying ladies not only beseech the Lord every day on our behalf, but when special needs come to their attention for our family or ministry, we bring this to their attention, and we notice an almost visible increase in spiritual energy before the foot of the Cross.
Reverend Harry Munro said to my ministry team in 2001 at an Around the Tables conference, 'Never touch the Glory, it belongs exclusively to God' and in correlation we must be ever watchful not to take honour that belongs elsewhere. Sadly, this happens in Christian ministry all too often.
In this instance, it is to these five elderly praying ladies that the honour belongs. Delma and I are humbled in this consistent prayer, and in righteousness I'm able to say how remarkable these five praying ladies have been in seeing so much of our ministry rejoice in the things of the Lord.
The original idea is an old one. George Whitfield the great evangelist in both England and America was always accompanied by an elderly gentleman who was crippled. He would retire unseen behind the pulpit area and beseech the Lord's blessings upon the preaching of the word.
The mother of John and Charles Wesley was also one who committed her son's to prayer in like manner as laid up in bed with illness would petition the Lord for supernatural revelation into the hearts and minds of the hearers.
The sister of Hudson Taylor the missionary to China, in like manner spent her life in such prayer that his mission has become one of the great milestones of Christian outreach and evangelism.
In like manner the sister of the 1924 Paris Olympic 400 metre sprint champion Eric Liddell prayed as he too travelled to China in missionary service and held the mission community together during the cruel Japanese occupation where he died of disease. We remember her character in the film 'Chariots of Fire' as she challenged him to follow the Lord for the Olympic meet.
It therefore appeared to me that this scenario of one's ministry and family being upheld in prayer — had long proven roots — and therefore these five praying ladies became entrenched in our ministry over these 40 years.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html