AMAZING GRACE: How My Father Taught Me to Rejoice in the Word of Our Father

 Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 2

William L. Brent was a man of integrity, wisdom, patience, and grace. He didn’t just tell me how to live my life. He showed me. Yes, he was unquestionably a doer and a man of action as reflected in his own life. As you know, one of the most important prayers in Christianity is the Lord’s Prayer, which was spoken by Jesus of Nazareth as part of the sermon on the Mount, delivered to an estimated 5,000 people and recorded in Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4. My dad and I talked about the Lord’s Prayer in-depth and what it meant. He saw it as the guiding light of God and would often tell me, “Carolyn, when you follow the teachings of the Lord’s Prayer, you will understand your profound journey and how to live in the world.” 

Our Father,
who art in heaven, 
hallowed be thy name; 
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
forever and ever.

This prayer is the example Jesus used when asked how we should pray. But, keep in mind that there are many ways to pray. Remember that God knows our thoughts, our desires, and what’s in our hearts. And most importantly, he knows our actions. How my dad was called to the pulpit is such an example of this, particularly the words: “Thy will be done.” Let me tell you a bit more about my father. Born in 1926 in the rural town of Stonewall, Oklahoma, with a population of 488 people, he was the second-born of six children. He had one older sister, two younger brothers, and two younger sisters. His father was a full-time sharecropper and part-time minister; his mother was a homemaker.

At age 16, Dad moved to Oklahoma City to earn a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Langston University. During his college years and afterward, he worked in various positions in agriculture. In 1948, he was summoned to serve in the U.S. Army and was a decorated veteran who earned a Purple Heart during the Korean War.

When my father was 56 years old, he was called by God to the ministry, attended Victory Bible College in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was certified in divinity. I had the honor of attending his graduation, which inspired me to go back to school to further my own education. I was one proud daughter. But he did not stop there, continuing to earn a master’s degree and a doctorate in theology from International Seminary in Plymouth, Florida. He then founded the New Life Christian Center in Lamar, Colorado. Throughout his life, he would continuously tell me, “Carolyn, you must study to show thyself faithful, work hard, smart, and never give up. DON’T QUIT!”

I witnessed how my dad lived his life through many ups and downs, twists and turns, and mistakes and triumphs. And I will forever say, I am so blessed that my dad prepared me for the many unexpected circumstances of life. I was 57 years old when I discovered my dad’s file of writings. That’s just a few years older than his age when he was called to the ministry. When I examined the contents of the file, I found that it was filled with unimaginable life treasures: original handwritten and typed letters, sermons, his degrees, and countless narratives that he had saved since the early ’80s. After finding this treasure, I felt as though dad’s spirit had visited me in my home. He was leaving behind the aura of his presence, instantly radiating in my soul. I felt the presence of a million angels swirling around me, overflowing an abundance of love that still penetrates deep within my heart and soul to this day. I felt resilient, safe, confident, and secure.

How amazing is it that we had both reached the same stage in our lives when we got called in very different, but profound ways! When I found his file, I knew it was not by accident or chance. I recognized that, like my father, I was being called to the work of ministry. Instantly, I realized my dad had passed the gauntlet on to me to continue his life’s work. I felt God’s presence and knew God had given me a glorious mission, vision, and purpose to help others. And I knew I had to make a positive change in this world for the sake of humanity, just like my dad did.

The experience of how I got the file was nothing short of a miracle. If I were offered a million dollars to explain how I unknowingly held on to this precious file for 30 years, I honestly could not tell them. What I do know is I am honored to have been the chosen one. Yes, I am ready to carry on the vision and mission, driven only by purpose to share the written Word of God through my dad’s biblical teachings. Today, I am the voice to the voiceless as my dad was for so many. Nowadays, when I walk on the shorelines of the ocean, I look up at the beautiful, crisp blue skies and feel the presence of God and my dad’s spirit walking with me. I continue to this day to live my life expecting more miracles to come. I realize God has given me my father’s teachings to share with the world, and remind me every day of what my dad taught me. I only “Walk by faith, not by sight.” —2 Corinthians 5:7

Here is my father describing his own experience of being called to the ministry.

When you are called

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” —Luke 4:18

On February 5, 1982, I picked up a Bible in my home and began to read. I tried to memorize the New Testament, but I never accomplished the feat. I was so happy for the Word that God led me into a 31-day fast devouring His Word without a morsel of food parting my lips. Forty-one (41) pounds lighter, God changed me into a new creation. Old things had passed away, and all things had become new. In August 1984, the Lord led me to be trained in the things of God. I left my home in Colorado and went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I was trained in every area of ministry. “I started at Rhema and finished in Victory!”

• Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. —II Timothy 2:15

• If there is a rightly dividing the Word of truth, there is also a wrongly dividing the Word of truth, so search the scriptures to be approved of God. Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. —Mark 16:15

• They shall take up servants; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. —Mark 16:18

• Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. —Proverbs 22:6

• I have fought a good fight, and I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. —II Timothy 4:7

I still remember the words my dad said when he got the calling: “God has called me to teach the Gospel, and I am led by the spirit to fast for 31 days, not eating a morsel of food.” At that time, I was in my mid-20s and did not have a clear understanding of the magnitude of what a calling from God meant. I did not understand what the Scripture meant by “Many are called, but few are chosen.” —Matthew 22:14 

True to his role as a teacher, my dad provided me a few scriptures to help me better understand what had happened to him:

  • He who has ears to hear. —Matthew 11:15
  •  Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” —Mark 4:9
  • Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”—Matthew 11:15
  • And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold. As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” —Luke 8:8
  • It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.—Luke 14:35
  • No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.—John 6:44
  • Jesus summoned them, saying, “Allow the little children to come to me, and don’t hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. —Luke 18:16

Read Chapter 2 in its entirety in the new Amazon best-seller AMAZING GRACE: How My Father Taught Me to Rejoice in the Word of Our Father

About Carolyn Brent

Dr. Carolyn A. Brent, is an award-winning bestselling author and a National Physique Committee (NPC) Masters Women's Figure Champion at age 60. She is an expert on both self-care and caregiving; she is the founder of Across All Ages and two nonprofit organizations, CareGiverStory Inc. and Grandpa's Dream. Carolyn's research and extensive collection of published works have made her a notable figure in her field. For seventeen years, she worked for some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies and has worked as a volunteer at various assisted-living facilities. Her award-winning books include The Caregiver's Companion: Caring for Your Loved One Medically, Financially and Emotionally While Caring for Yourself and The Caregiver's Legal Survival Guide: Navigating through the Legal System.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *