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Mama Jones passes on the power of prayer to others

Mama Jones
Mama Hanna Ross Jones

Hannah’s Intercessory Prayer Ministry is named for Mama Hanna Ross-Jones, who at the age of 90 continues to live a life devoted to prayer, not only for her own family but also for many others and the nation. 

Evangelist Joyce Jones, one of Mama Jones’ daughters, had a vision in 2012 to begin the prayer ministry to empower and teach others about the power of prayer.

She organized the first Prayer Conference in 2013, drawing people from around the country. Hannah’s Intercessory Prayer Ministry also was incorporated last year.

Mama Jones’ granddaughter, Shawn Watkins, will be installed as president of the prayer ministry at the Prayer Conference 2014, which will be held May 22 to 23, at Full Gospel Mission, 1912 E. 1st Ave. 

Joyce said her mother is “an unsung angel” who earned her title as “Mama Jones” because of the many lives she has touched.

“Although her body is frail and weak, her spirit is mighty and strong,” she said.  “She loves to pray, sing and talk about the goodness of the Lord with those who visit with her.  She is a living testimony of how God is a ‘keeper’ and can use a life surrendered to Him.  Her legacy of charity and prayer is an inspiration.” 

One of her favorite sayings when troubles arise is, “Let’s take it to the Lord in prayer.”  Joyce said her mother is convinced prayer can change everything.

Mama Jones was born in 1924 in the cotton fields of St. Joseph, La., during a time of recession and racial discrimination.

When she was 12, her mother passed away, leaving behind Hanna, her siblings and father. His work was hard, and caring for girls was difficult, so he sent Hanna to live with his sister, Verlina Bass, in Los Angeles. 

Overwhelmed by her mother’s death and missing her father and siblings, she did not understand that God had a plan for her life, but she found that prayer could heal her emotions.

Mama Jones began drawing closer to God as a refuge, source of comfort and strength.  She joined the Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church in Los Angeles.   

Attending church while vacationing in Spokane, she met the Rev. Jesse Jerry Jones.  They later married.  They founded and pastored New Hope Baptist Church, one of the oldest multicultural churches in Spokane. 

The church was named New Hope, Joyce said, because of the “new hope” she found, after much grief, loss and despair.  Grief and tragedy struck in 1961, when her husband died, leaving her to raise their seven young children alone. 

A favorite song, said Joyce, is “I Will Trust in the Lord.”  It was always a part of her testimony. 

Although she chose not to remarry, she knew she was never alone, and God would never leave her, Joyce said.

In addition to holding several jobs to support her children, Mama Jones was faithful to her church, worked in the Missionary Circle and supported many community outreach efforts. 

Joyce said her example of raising her children in church “led many others to the Lord.  Souls were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost right in her kitchen or living room. 

“Her Christian life and home were no secret.  She bloomed where God had planted her,” Joyce said.

People who came to her house hungry were fed. 

Jesse Mae, Mama Jones’ oldest daughter, said many single airmen stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, men of many racial and cultural backgrounds, knew Mama Jones.  Being away from their homes and families, they looked forward to a “home cooked meal” at Mama Jones’ house. 

There was always a full house for Sunday dinner, said Joyce. 

“She welcomed airmen with open arms, even those she didn’t know.  They pulled up a chair with the rest of the children.  She was an awesome baker and cook,” she said.  “The ‘meal barrel’ didn’t run over every day, but God supplied her needs, and there was always enough to go around.”

Jose, another daughter, who provides daily care for Mama Jones, told about the daycare she had in her home.

“Parents struggled to get their children to leave when it was time for them to go home,” she said. 

Parents across racial lines trusted her with their children.

Jose added that Mama Jones was also a foster parent for disabled children through Developmental Disabilities.

“She cared for them as though they were her own,” Jose said.

“Her home was a mission in every sense of the word,” said Jose.  “Children and young people knew they were loved by her and clung to her for wisdom and guidance.

Many of them, now adults, come back to visit and express their love and gratitude,” Jose said.

For information, call 868-4871.   



Prayer Ministry is named for Mama Hanna Ross-Jones, who at the age of 90 continues to live a life devoted to prayer.

Copyright © May 2014 - The Fig Tree