Peter Henry Sayers[On Sunday August 6 old friends from Croydon were in the Aberystwyth congregation. “I’ve just read a lovely obituary of Peter Sayers from Croydon,” I said to them. “That’s my father,” the wife said smiling shyly. Let others have the opportunity to read of a man of God. Geoff Thomas]
Peter Henry Sayers, member of the church at Tamworth Road, Croydon, for twenty-nine years, passed away on September 1st, 2005, aged 76. [Extracts now follow which were taken from his testimony which was given before the church prior to the baptism of himself and his wife, and from his own writings.]
I was born of godly parents, but my mother died when I was five years old. I was cared for by my grandparents and an aunt. When I was seven years old a very worldly boy of the same age told me that if I continued to swear I would never go to heaven. My godly grandfather told me that whatever happened I was not to steal, but I did and some years later I lost a great treasure, giving me prayerfully to realise that as you sow so shall you reap. I was leading a wicked life. When I was eleven my father married again and I went to live with them. I was very unhappy and determined to drown myself in the large, deep pond at the back of the house. The Lord saved me from doing that. Like Job I wished I had never been born.
Part of my walk home from school was passing fields, woods and a zoo. One day when about six or seven years old, I noticed a rough-looking man pushing a bicycle on the opposite side of the road. This man kept the same pace as me for about three quarters of a mile. Then he smiled at me and called me to come across the road to him; he then insisted on me following him into the woods. As we got further into the wood I became petrified and begged him to let me return to the path by the road. At the time there were several of my school friends about a quarter of a mile behind me, but I was not aware of their presence. Eventually I told the man that I could not tell my mother as she was dead. Upon that he allowed me to run back to the road. Police were notified. Again God’s hand had preserved me from this evil man. I went to work when fourteen years old and fell down a lift shaft, where again my life was spared.
When I was released from the Forces I met my wife to be. I attended night school and followed the world in everything. I sought to change, but suffered a time of sore temptation. I experienced what Legion among the tombs went into. I knew that only the power of God could save me. But the time came when I myself was clothed and in my right mind; the Lord had taken away His rod.
The turning point was that now I had a longing for the house of God. I was made redundant, but a door was remarkably opened in Croydon and I desired to be with the Lord’s people. I obtained comfort from blind Bartimaeus that Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called.
“Though the vile tempter’s hellish rage
Will, with his darts, thy soul engage,
God through the fight shall thee sustain
Nor shalt thou seek His face in vain.”
My desire was that God would create in me a clean heart, and I longed for a heart to praise the Lord.
“O for a heart to praise the Lord,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that’s sprinkled with the blood
So freely shed for me.”
I heard Mr. Samuel Curtis preach and he said that he knew a woman who had for many years been tried providentially, but now she was so tried spiritually that those heavenly things meant more to her than the things of time. I believe this made a deep impression on my mind at that time and I hoped that one day the Lord would do this for me.
Unless anyone understands the power of sin and the devil, then they will not understand the man in the tombs named Legion, for no one can deliver himself I can truly say, “The more I strove against sin’s power, I sinned and stumbled yet the more.”
There was also a time when Mr. Wood asked the Lord that if there was a sinner here that needed it, that the Lord would bring him down. Recently, I did not feel the word was for me, but at the time I did and the Lord brought me down (and I needed it) so that I almost dreaded every day. Then to break my pride He brought me lower into very hard things in business, a pulling down, taking away.
I believe the Lord had chastised me (one of His children, as I hope) both in business and providential matters in order to break my stubborn will.
Then there seemed to be a drawing closer to the things of God, and a casual interest developed into a real desire to be numbered among the people of God.
Mr. Wood once spoke about the Shepherd and I felt the Lord was leading me. Many times the service was blessed to me – especially the hymn, “Seek ye My face, the Saviour cries”.
Shortly after this, for several days I felt such a peace of mind from the Lord that the words,
“Peace, perfect peace in this dark world of sin;
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within,”
were foremost in my mind, and I found myself saying the first line out loud in the office.
I was helped when Mr. Wood preached from, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I felt if I was accepted by the church that this hymn expressed my testimony:
“Let worldly minds the world pursue,
It has no charms for me;
Once I admired its trifles too
But grace has set me free.”
His pastor writes: He and his wife were baptized together on Thursday, July 28th, 1976, and he was appointed deacon in January 1993. He was deeply exercised in his choice of hymns for the services, often giving expression of his spiritual desires for true repentance, and to be prepared for eternity. He prayed much for the spirit of Jesus.
He suffered much physical affliction in his latter years and was admitted to hospital many times. More than once he testified: “I was brought low, and He helped me.” These afflictions were sanctified and he proved the Lord to be with him, his hope firmly fixed upon Christ. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son” (Rev. 21. 7).
The words of this hymn were made very precious as our friend drew nearer to the end of his life:
“With mercy and with judgment
My web of time He wove,
And aye the dews of sorrow
Were lustred with His love:
I’ll bless the hand that guided,
I’ll bless the heart that planned,
When throned where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.”
Mr. Sayers’ funeral took place on September 9th, 2005. His pastor took the service at Tamworth Road, Croydon. The interment was in Bandon Hill Cemetery, Wallington.
[Taken with permission from the August Gospel Standard.]
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