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If you have read a book on Taylor’s life, you probably remember there was a time when his mother decided she would pray and seek for her son’s conversion until her prayer was answered. At the time she was away from home.
Hudson didn’t claim to be a Christian. He had tried to walk with God, but had repeatedly failed in his quest and therefore had given up on Christianity
On the same day his mom decided to pray, Hudson wandered into his father’s study. Because his father was a pastor, there was religious reading matter around, including a tract that caught his attention.
Here is a picture of the tract. Notice the note from his mom indicating the impact it had on her son.
Describing his experience in his book Retrospect Taylor said the following:
“Little did I know at the time what was going on in the heart of my dear mother, seventy or eighty miles away. She rose from the dinner-table that afternoon with an intense yearning for the conversion of her boy, and feeling that—absent from home, and having more leisure than she could otherwise secure—a special opportunity was afforded her of pleading with GOD on my behalf. She went to her room and turned the key in the door, resolved not to leave that spot until her prayers were answered. Hour after hour did that dear mother plead for me, until at length she could pray no longer, but was constrained to praise GOD for that which His SPIRIT taught her had already been accomplished-the conversion of her only son.
“I in the meantime had been led in the way I have mentioned to take up this little tract, and while reading it was struck with the sentence, “The ﬁnished work of CHRIST.” The thought passed through my mind, “Why does the author use this expression? why not say the atoning or propitiatory work of CHRIST?” Immediately the words “It is ﬁnished” suggested themselves to my mind. What was ﬁnished? And I at once replied, “A full and perfect atonement and satisfaction for sin: the debt was paid by the Substitute; CHRIST died for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Then came the thought, “If the whole work was ﬁnished and the whole debt paid, what is there left for me to do?” And with this dawned the joyful conviction, as light was ﬂashed into my soul by the HOLY SPIRIT, that there was nothing in the world to be done but to fall down on one’s knees, and accepting this SAVIOUR and His salvation, to praise Him for evermore. Thus while my dear mother was praising GOD on her knees in her chamber, I was praising Him in the old warehouse to which I had gone alone to read at my leisure this little book.”
I’ve always wondered what Taylor read exactly. Well I did. Here are the key words from a little tract entitled, “Poor Richard”:
(Poor Richard) “kept on saying, ‘I am in agony.’ He was then asked if he thought he was too bad for God to pardon him. After some thought he replied very emphatically, ‘No; I believe He will save me, some day!’ The text was then repeated to him, respecting Jesus (1 Peter 2:24): ‘Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.’ Poor Richard intently raised his head off from his pillow and exclaimed, ‘Then it is done!’ He was answered, ‘Yes, Jesus said, It is ﬁnished!’ He immediately cried out, ‘Then my sins are gone—my burden is gone. Precious Jesus—He died for sinners—He died for me as well as others.’ From that moment he began to praise God with a loud voice.”
I am grateful that the same God who led Hudson’s mother to pray that particular afternoon, also led to the tract being in his father’s study, and also led him to wander in and ﬁnd it. Of course the question could be raised, would this have happened if she had not prayed. I don’t think so.
She isn’t the only mother who prayed of course. Other notables include Susannah Wesley—who prayed for her children and met with them weekly; Monica—Augustine’s mother, who wept more about her son’s spiritual death than most parents weep about the physical death of their children; and James Fraser’s mom—who he credited with turning the tide for his mission work among the Lisu people in China. I have heard that Zwingli’s mom also played a great role for her son. I am sure there are a host more but these great women actually played a huge role for God even though their praying might have seemed limited in the eyes of some people.
So thank you moms for your prayers. Please keep praying. You don’t know but your child may be the next Hudson Taylor who will bring a new tide of Christianity to some far off country, or a John Wesley who will bring sorely needed reformation to the church at home. Hopefully the rest of us will also join you praying.
If you look closely at the picture of a portion of the tract you will notice there is a note from his mom indicating the impact it had on Hudson.