Up early each morning, Fla. couple faithful in prayer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (BP)--Light comes to Herb Crowther’s day long before dawn -- he gets up around 4:30 and starts praying shortly thereafter. By 8 o’clock, he and Mickey, his wife, have eaten their breakfast and are sitting together, looking over several prayer lists, trying to wear out their third copy of Oswald Chambers’ "My Utmost for His Highest," reading Scripture and praying. The couple, members of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., has done this for decades.

Ask Herb in Mickey’s presence what drives him to such faithfulness in prayer, and she’ll interject, “His wife.”

Mickey was reared in a Christian home, a praying home.

“My mom prayed the most beautiful prayers I’ve ever heard,” Mickey said. “There never was a time when I didn’t know the name of Jesus.”

Prayer was and is a way of life for her. She prays for everything, just as she did as a youngster. She prayed for a husband long before she was old enough to be married “because I didn’t want to make a mistake. I wanted a long, happy marriage to one man.”

She also prayed early-on for two children, a boy and a girl. “God tickled my heart real good when He answered that prayer,” she said.

Mickey’s conversion to Christ was a result of prayer -– not unusual. But her conversion experience was. She was crawling into bed one night when she said a voice spoke to her, telling her to pray. She declined, for her bed was warm and cozy, and the floor would be cold on her knees. She said the voice spoke a second and a third time, but she silently and stubbornly resisted -- and waited for the voice again.

“When I didn’t hear that voice speak a fourth time, I jumped out of bed and prayed, ‘Dear Father, what do you want me to do? Guide me. I’ll wait.’”

The next day Mickey hurt her finger at work and said, “Dad-jimmit.” And the voice came back and said, “We don’t talk that way anymore.” That’s all it took for Mickey. “When I acknowledged Him as Lord, the Holy Spirit came in and took control.”

Herb also came to the Lord as a teenager, but confesses he was little more than a marginal Christian until God got hold of him at a revival meeting in the summer of ’56. He prayed, committing to do whatever God wanted. Two years later, Herb and his family were in Florida, and he was ministering in the men’s prayer breakfast at First Baptist.

That revival prayer of commitment eventually led Herb to a coffeehouse ministry in the late 60s with long-time FBC member Al Waters. The abandoned Carlton Hotel housed the ministry for those who’d tuned in, turned on, and dropped out of society, hitting rock bottom as a result of drug addiction.

“We served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on day-old bread, along with coffee and Kool-aid. That’s all many of those kids had to eat,” said Herb, who “didn’t think much of hippies and drug people” at first. He thought he’d go to the coffeehouse for only one evening and look for an excuse not to return. “But something happened to me,” he recalled. “I just couldn’t stay away from that place. I was staying there till 12 or 1 o’clock every night, and I still had to get up and be on time at my regular job the next morning.”

God used the coffeehouse ministry and “taught me to love people like Jesus did. When that happens, God will make you a soul-winner.” The Bread of Life was regular fare at the coffeehouse. Herb and Al saw many come to Christ. One fellow Herb won to the Lord still calls him every Christmas.

To this day, Herb remains involved in the men’s prayer breakfast. But he keeps on praying after it’s over. “I pray for the prostitutes on South Atlantic Avenue while I’m on my way home,” he said. “I guess you’d call that prayer driving instead of prayer walking.”

Never was prayer a more integral part of their lives than when Herb and Mickey’s children died, both young and tragically. “We’re still dependant upon God and prayer. He’s taken us through some tough times, and He’s never let us down. Without the Lord,” Herb said, “I wouldn’t be worth a plug nickel.”

He’s worth a whole lot more to a young woman who sat near him in church at First Baptist one Sunday. Herb noticed she was alone and looked lonely. Herb struck up a friendship and soon discovered she was praying that God would send her a husband. The familiarity of the prayer, and the young woman’s trust in prayer caused him to pray with her about the matter. Six months later, she was engaged.

And of another young girl who prayed for a husband and got Herb for a prayer partner, he says that, apart from his conversion to Christ, “Mickey is the best thing to ever happen to me.”


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