“I Prayed For You”
It is a terrible stain on the reputation of the white man, that for so many years, the practice of slavery of the black race was encouraged. Thankfully this bondage has now ceased but many true stories of heroism and bravery of the slaves are left on record.
In the state of Kentucky, a man once went to the local slave market to buy a slave. His eye settled on a handsome young man, whose name was Cuff. Before he paid the price demanded for Cuff, this man went to his former master and asked him to tell him what Cuff’s faults were.
The reply he received was that Cuff was an excellent worker in every way, but that he would persist in praying. “Well,” said his new master, “we can soon break him of that!”
How sad and how solemn, that it was thought to be a deficiency to be a praying man!
Cuff’s new master took him home and made him a servant in his house. At the close of every day, when his work was done, Cuff would slip away into the nearby woods. One day his master followed him and hiding behind a tree, he overheard Cuff praying for him and his wife. He did not say anything to him but on the Lord’s Day he saw that Cuff went to a meeting where believers met for the worship of Almighty God. Cuff’s master met him on his return and asked him how he liked the service.
“Very well,” said Cuff, “they are good people and I am glad that I came to live here.”
His master then said: “Now Cuff, listen to me. I do not allow praying on my ground. So you must give up praying. Do you understand?”
Like good Daniel of old, Cuff replied: “I cannot stop praying.”
“But you must,” said his master, who thought he had control over Cuff’s soul as well as his body!
“Well,” said the master, “I must tie you to this tree and give you twenty five lashes on your back, every night and morning until you agree to stop praying”.
“Do as you like, Master,” Cuff said, “but I will not stop praying.”
At this, his cruel master tied him to a tree and lashed his bare back twenty five times.
As soon as he was set free, Cuff, with his back terribly sore and bleeding, went away singing:
“Soon my days will all be o’er,
When I shall sin and sigh no more.”
When he went indoors, the master’s wife, who was altogether more gentle than her hard husband, said:
“Why will you not let Cuff pray: he is not harming you or anybody else?”
“I will not have any praying on my ground,” was the only answer she received.
He went to bed, hoping for a good night’s rest, but instead his sleep went from him, and his cruelty stung his conscience, as well as the memory of a lifetime of sins.
About midnight he awoke his wife and told her of his distress. Would she pray for him, he asked?
“No,” she said: “I have never prayed in my life.”
She might have added that he had told her he would have no praying on his land anyway!
“Is there anyone in the house who can pray,” he then asked?
“Well,” his wife said, “you know who can pray, and that is Cuff. But you have lashed him for praying!”
“If there is no one else, then we must call Cuff,” said the master.
So soon Cuff was called, and he stood by his master, who said: “Cuff, can you pray for your master?”.
“I have been praying for you ever since you let me go, after being lashed.”
So this dear child of God knelt down, and prayed for his cruel master. As he did so, the softening power of the Holy Spirit, broke the hard man’s heart, and also that of his wife, and they sought mercy in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In God’s time, they both found the mercy they had been taught to seek, and from this time onward Cuff was their closest friend.
What an example to us each, to continue praying, even when we may be in danger for so doing. And what an example to us to pray for them that despitefully use us, as the Lord Jesus commanded.