Recently, I came across the name Polly Carey—the sister of the missionary William Carey. I read only a couple of sentences about her and her dedication to prayer. I had to know more. It didn’t take long to find a broadcast from Joni Eareckson Tada in which she discusses Polly. Here is an excerpt of the transcript:
[William] Carey started out as a British cobbler, a shoemaker, who felt a deep burden for the nations of the world. He made a globe map of the world out of leather, tacked it up on his wall, and then, while he worked on shoes, he prayed for the various nations. Eventually, the Lord made it possible for William Carey to go to India as one of the first missionaries to that land. God gifted Carey with tremendous abilities. In fact, he translated the Bible into 37 different Indian dialects.
But William Carey didn’t do all of these things through his own power. While he labored in the distant land of India, back in England, William Carey had a sister whom he affectionately called Polly - Polly was bedridden and almost completely paralyzed for 52 years. William wrote to Polly all about the details of his struggle to create primers and dictionaries in the various Indian dialects, as well as the difficulty of figuring out how to get these books typed and printed. And with every letter from William that she received, Polly lifted these needs up before the Throne. Every day for 52 years, she faithfully prayed for her brother.
Now I don’t have to tell you that really inspired me. There she is Polly for all intents and purposes a quadriplegic, unable to walk or use her hands. But that didn’t paralyze her prayer life. And, oh, were William Carey’s efforts blessed by God - not only was India reached for Christ, but what he did became a model for modern missionaries even to this day… all because a paralyzed woman prayed.
A lot of people know about the work of William Carey, but not many people know about the sister behind the scenes whose prayers guaranteed the success of his efforts. Polly’s testimony tells me that the life of any Christian can have huge repercussions for the kingdom. Think of it: if God can use bedridden quadriplegics to open doors to the Gospel around the world, what can He do through your prayers?! Little wonder the Bible says, “Pray without ceasing.” … for God knows what great things are accomplished when people pray.
What an amazing testimony. Should we be surprised that the Lord chose to do such great things through William Carey when he had such a prayer warrior pleading with the Lord for his work?