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Men and Women of Faith: Mary Ball Washington


“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 

The same can be said for our person of interest today, the mother of our first president, George Washington. 

Mary Ball was born at "Epping Forest", Lancaster County, Virginia and orphaned at 12. Married Captain Augustine Washington on March 6, 1731 and widowed at 35, single mother of six, including a daughter who died at the age of 1. Mary Ball Washington hadn't had an easy life. 

 Then, her oldest son, George, went to war. Her other children faced issues of their own. Left at their home in Fredericksburg, Ferry Farm, Mary Ball Washington surely bore many burdens at heart when she would stroll her  nearby woods. The Bible instructs us to go into our closet, where no one can hear us and let our prayers be known there. For Mary, that place was a private rock found on her property, one she set aside for her own private petitions. 

 Tradition has it that she frequently perched there to read the word, meditate, and intercede. Her cries would rise up for our nation, for her son, for each battle, for God’s will to be done. From these prayers birthed an independence for our nation, a wise and humble leader who pioneered our nation into what it is today, and a man who prayed deeply and frequently for God’s will to be done in all things. 

A Prayer for Guidance 
O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul.... 

Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings,

and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred. 
 --An undated prayer from Washington's prayer journal, Mount Vernon 

 Her prayer altar was such a sweet place to her, that she requested that she be buried there, and after her death in 1789, her wish was granted. In 1833, Silas Burrows, a wealthy New York merchant, agreed to pay for a monument for Mary Washington's grave and President Jackson laid the cornerstone. In 1889, the centennial year of Mary Washington's death, a group was chartered with the goal of erecting a new monument. The National Mary Washington Memorial Association erected the present monument and on May 10, 1894, it was dedicated. The place is now used for much prayer for our nation, and that need grows more urgent daily. 


A Prayer for Unity- Prayers of Note
True Humility and Repentance


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