PELL CITY, Ala. (BP)–Eunice and David George Milligan welcome a visitor into their home with the warmth of lives spent well in the Lord. In a decidedly Irish brogue, Milligan tells his wife they should offer “this lady a cup of tea.”
The two speak often of the divine hand at work in their lives and how it could only have been God who brought them together.
Married for not quite eight years now, their playful banter is reminiscent of newlyweds. He is 98; she is 84. Both were missionaries; both were prayer partners before they became life partners.
Now, their ministry is intercessory prayer. They spend an hour or more daily interceding for people and concerns from across the world. “We keep them on our prayer list,” Eunice Milligan said. Her husband held up a notebook, listing those they have prayed for.
So it was only fitting that Milligan should write a book of prayers, titled “Prayers of the Heart.”
The endeavor took about a year to complete. “It was hard work,” Milligan said. “Prayer is a battle…. It’s much harder to write them than say them.” Yet, he said, it was a special time, one of spiritual growth through intimacy with God.
His wife, herself an author (“Simply His: A Missionary Story of Love, Commitment, and a Willing Heart” coauthored with Pam Waddell), was determined that her husband’s book would be published before his 98th birthday last December.
The impetus for the project came when Evan Zeiger, the associate Sunday School teacher in the class the couple attends at First Baptist Church in Pell City, Ala., suggested that Milligan — the designated “pray-er” in the group -– write a book of prayers.
“I think it’s by popular demand that he say [the] benediction in our class,” added Harold King, the Sunday School teacher. “If there’s anyone who can talk with the Lord, it’s him. You can tell in his prayers.”
Yet, they are not just words. They are exemplary of Milligan’s walk, King said. “He lives the life.”
In the book’s introduction, Milligan’s daughter — well-known author and conference leader Esther Burroughs — remembers her father’s prayers:
“Early one morning … I heard my father’s voice. Being inquisitive, I crossed the hall to peep inside [the study] and see who was my father’s guest. I saw this ‘Kodak moment.’ I’ll never forget it. My father was on his knees … with the Word of God open … praying the Psalms to God. I can still hear his voice broken in love for God and intimately conversing with God. My father was … and is to this day, a man of prayer.”
The book covers an array of topics, such as giving thanks for chastening, offering gratitude, standing in awe, seeking refuge, blessing the nation, confessing and receiving compassion and mercy.
Milligan, a father of five whose ministry has spanned 67 years, said the prayer life of his first wife, Neva, influenced his book. She kept notebooks of prayers and answers. He said she taught him how to pray.
And, a long time ago Milligan learned to approach God with Scripture. So “about 90 percent of [the book] is Scripture,” he said.
Leigh Pritchett is a correspondent for the The Alabama Baptist, online at www.thealabamabaptist.org.