Black History Month: Rosa Parks’ Strength — Pray A Lot

Rosa Parks

I have problems just like everyone else. Whenever I do, I think about my grandmother and my mother. They were such strong women, who always taught me to place my faith in God and to read the Bible.

I remember when I got married, I stopped reading the Bible.

When my mother found out that I had stopped, she told me that one should not stop reading the Bible; there was always something new to learn by reading it. On that day,

I started back reading the Bible and have not stopped since.

The Bible is such a source of strength for me that it is hard to say which Scripture I look at for any one thing. But when I feel discouraged, I read Psalm 23 to restore my soul:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

During the civil rights movement, we were troubled by hatred. We would pray a lot.

One thing we used to keep us going was the moving words of certain hymns, many of which had been passed down from the slave days. They gave us a sense of togetherness with our people. Singing gave us the feeling that — with God’s help — we could overcome whatever we were facing.

One of my favorite hymns is “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Jesus.” We would sing, “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind on Freedom.” Another is “I Am Bound for the Promised Land.” Often we would substitute the word “freedom” for a key word of the hymn. For instance, we’d sing:

CHORUS:

I am bound for the freedom land,
I am bound for the freedom land
O who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the freedom land.
On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye;
To Canaan’s fair and freedom land,
Where my possessions lie.

(CHORUS)

All o’er those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.

(CHORUS)

No chilling winds, nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.

(CHORUS)

When shall I reach that happy place,
And be forever blest?
When shall I see my Father’s face,
And in His bosom rest?

(CHORUS)

Filled with delight, my raptured soul
Would here no longer stay;
Tho’ Jordan’s waves around me roll,
Fearless I’d launch away.

These moving songs gave us the strength to keep our dreams of true freedom alive. Whenever we sang them, we knew there would be no turning back.

Excerpted with permission from Reflections by Rosa Parks by Rosa Parks, copyright Rosa L. Parks.

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Your Turn

February is Black History month, a great time to read up on the history that divided us and then inspired change that continues to progress today. Rosa Parks and many other heroes of the faith fought against injustice with prayer and worship. What an example! ~ Devotionals Daily

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was the cofounder of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development and is recognized as the “mother of the modern-day civil rights movement.” She received many accolades during her lifetime, including the NAACP's highest award.

Gregory J. Reed

Gregory J. Reed is a prominent attorney, the author of sixteen books including various bestsellers, a NAACP Image multi-winner, and recipient of the American Book Award.

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