A Woman of Prayer
By Nicole R. Jones
Ask Pauline Hord to tell you her greatest life accomplishment, and her answer may surprise you. You might expect her to say that it was being one of President Bush’s Points of Light, her extensive prison ministry, her long-standing teaching career in the Memphis city schools or her awards for excellence in education and community service.
Instead, she says it is the publication of her new book Praying for the President: A Daily Guide of Scripture and Prayer.
She believes this book is the most important writing she has done in her lifetime: “The things I’ve written over the years, for other teachers, for pleasure, in poetry,” she says, “I don’t think any of it could be as important as this book is for this time.” Former President George Bush has written that “ Praying for the President could not have come at a more opportune time.”
Praying for the President shows America how five minutes a day can make a difference in our nation, and in our lives.
The book originates from a carefully preserved daily prayer journal written during President Jimmy Carter’s days in office. On the day of Carter’s inauguration, God used Pauline’s early devotional time to direct her to pray for Carter during the coming year: “I think that the Holy Spirit at that time asked me to pray. When I made a commitment to Him, I kept it. So I prayed ‘Father, I know I must pray for him every day, at least for a year.’ And it was if He said, ‘That’s right. And I will give you the Scripture on which you ought to pray.’ That was confirmation that He was telling me what to do. I look at it now, and ask myself, ‘How did I choose those Scriptures?’ Well, I didn’t. God led me to each Scripture. It is amazing how God works. This book is as applicable today as it was in 1977.”
As she prayed for Carter daily, she says: “I would know when he was going to another country, or when he was going to have a conference with a person with another country. And I would pray as disciplined as I could regarding whatever he was doing. Because God has told us to be as specific as we can when we pray. He wants us to know that He hears and He will do exactly, if we are praying in His will and we obey Him when He tells us what to pray, then He will do it.”
She firmly believes that close communion with God in prayer is essential to our nation and ourselves: “How imperative it is for us to become a people of prayer – who let our relationship with Christ be centered in our communication with Him. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through the Word, but only if we are tuned to Him. If we ask not, He doesn’t answer. If we ask, He is going to answer. If we ask, wanting to know His will and being in His Spirit, asking for His honor and glory, He is going to speak by His Holy Spirit.”
For Pauline, Praying for the President is simply a further extension of her own prayer life. In early childhood, she experienced the power of earnest prayer.
Six years her senior, Pauline’s brother had broken his leg and it was in a cast. Early one day, when the telephone rang, he jumped up to answer it. As he made his way to the phone, he stumbled over Pauline, breaking his leg again.
She was tormented with guilt. She vividly remembers: “The doctors could mend his leg, but there was an answer far greater than just mending. They took him to the hospital and removed the cast. When they did, they measured his leg. They discovered that the bone had grown back incorrectly. If it had healed like that, he would have been a cripple all of his life, since one leg would have been permanently two inches shorter.”
“I realized then that I could stop blaming myself because God let my brother stumble over me, so that my brother’s leg could be reset to heal properly.” When malaria struck her younger brother, she called on the Lord again. She recalls: “One night, I overheard this country doctor say to my mother: ‘Mrs. Jones, I don’t think we can save George. He may leave us tonight around midnight-he’s going to reach a crisis.’ And I was horrified that I was going to lose my brother in the night. So I began to pray – ‘You cannot let my brother die.’ It felt as if I prayed all night. My brother did live, and became a general and commander during the Second World War.”
Today, at 96 years old, Pauline believes all the more strongly that prayer is vital for us all. An avid believer in the power of prayer, she says, “Everybody should pray. You should just pray about everything, because God is God, and He is in control of everything.”
Pauline says with a smile, “As I’ve gotten older, I sense the Lord’s presence more. I talk to Him all the time-about little things, big things, future things and present things. The older you grow, the closer you grow to wanting to know what He wants you to do, to say, to be the person He wants you to be for His glory so that you would reflect Him in the lives that you touch. That’s our main purpose-helping somebody else along the way. Where He leads me, I will follow.”