Susannah Wesley was born in 1668, in England, when the state church and government crushed any form of Christian worship or education not controlled by them. This determined Christian woman began programs of Christian education for adults in her kitchen and daily with her children.
In 1662, six years before Susannah was born, the English government passed a law forcing the state church’s Book of Common Prayer in all worship services. Two thousand clergy were forced to resign.
In 1664, a law was passed forbidding more than five people who were not family members worship together without a state official. In 1665, the Five Mile Act was passed aimed at Nonconformist ministers who were forbidden to come within five miles where they had founded a congregation. This law was upheld for almost 150 years. Soldiers destroyed meeting houses, took away furniture and Christian books. Five thousand Nonconformist Christians died in prison.
Although Susannah was associated at times with the official church, she refused to be a “Sunday-only” Christian. Her angry neighbors burned her fields and stabbed the three cows that gave milk to her family. They called her children “the little devils.” One of her children, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodists, led a great spiritual awakening in England. He had learned perseverance from his mother.
Many believe the reason England did not experience a bloody revolution, in the same way that France was terrorized, is due to the Christian revival that began among the poor in Great Britain. This spiritual revival was led in part by John Wesley, who also championed practical help, education, jobs and food. Did the influence of his mother, Susannah Wesley, help to save England? Your influence for Christ does change history. Even if we don’t have biological parents or grandparents like the Wesleys, who pass down the Christian faith to us, God gives us a spiritual family to nurture and love us. Who is your spiritual mother or father—someone who taught you about Christ? To whom can you be a spiritual brother or sister?