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A Legacy of Prayer

May 6, 2021 by Marti Williams-Martin

David Belt made an impression—in part, due to his exceptional, white handlebar mustache but mainly because he believed in the power of prayer.

In 2012, just months after joining the staff of The Upper Room, I was asked to write an article about a man who asked people to give to The Upper Room Prayer Ministry in lieu of flowers for his wife’s funeral. This man was David Belt.

Since 2003, David has served as a Conference Prayer Advocate, representing United Methodist Men’s groups from Minnesota at national prayer gatherings. Each year, David joined other UMMen from around the country at an annual meeting held at The Upper Room in Nashville. For many years, his wife, Amy Jo, traveled with him on those trips, supporting his service as a prayer advocate. Amy Jo believed in prayer too.

Although I never met her, David’s story about Amy Jo left an indelible mark on my life, challenging me to make prayer a bigger priority each and every day, both as a way of grounding myself in God’s love and as a way of interceding on behalf of others.

David with his beloved Amy Jo

After meeting David, I made a point to spend a few minutes with him each time the United Methodist Men Prayer Advocates met in Nashville. I was sad when I realized the pandemic was going to prevent them from gathering together this year. I was sadder to learn that in March, ten years after Amy Jo’s death, David died too.

Though his death was unexpected, I was not surprised to learn that the family requested memorial gifts be steered to The Upper Room Prayer Ministry in lieu of flowers. David, like Amy Jo before him, left a legacy, impacting our prayer ministry and transforming my own personal prayer life. And today I pray, “God, thank you for the life, legacy, and prayers of the man with the handlebar mustache.”


Marti Williams-Martin is the director of marketing and ministry engagement for The Upper Room. Upon David’s passing, she made a gift to the prayer ministry in his honor. The development team asked her to write about her connection to David, sensing a story there.

As donors to The Upper Room Prayer Ministry, you are leaving a legacy of prayer, as hundreds of people each day turn to The Upper Room Prayer Wall for encouragement and hope.

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I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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