Large family life is in a strange transitional stage for me. We had nine children in a space of twenty years. From the moment I became aware that they were growing in my womb, I have spent their lives praying that they will grow up with a heart for God, follow Him all the days of their life, and dwell in HIS house forever.
There is something about praying for others that determines our orientation, sometimes changing it altogether. Praying for our enemies creates a genuine concern for their welfare. Praying for the lost creates a genuine desire to see them saved. Praying for our spouses nurtures our love for them. Praying for our children brings us, as parents, into alignment with God’s will for our children. As we partner with God, we teach, train, and encourage for their good. God opens our eyes to the opportunities He creates for bringing them, and us, along.
I’ve added new prayers for my children as they’ve grown and I’ve noticed the need. When I begin praying these promises for my older children, I pray them for the babies too. Prayers for their purity, for future spouses, for them to have patience with God’s plans for them, and more.
With my oldest daughter Angel getting married, I am aware that she could become a mother herself in the not so distant future. I will be here to cheer and encourage, to love on grandchildren and teach them when the opportunity is given; but the responsibility to train her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord will belong to Angel and her husband.
A new prayer has sprung up in my heart. Years of reading how the Israelite generations wandered to and from the Lord, and I am thinking beyond my own children to the generations that will come after. They are my generations: my grands, great-grands, and beyond. And my heart aches with a longing to know that they will all be saved.
I sat at a ladies’ retreat last year and the speaker asked to pray for me. I thought she would pray for our family, the ministry at camp, and the usual. But somewhere in the middle, I heard her ask God to use me to teach mamas to pull their children out of the grasp of the Devil. I was so taken aback, and yet, something in my heart rolled over.
I pray for them now… our generations. I observe the godlessness in our culture, and listen to missionaries in communist countries tell how the church is persecuted while our own America is coveted by socialists in blue, and I ask God to keep us all diligent to teach every generation the faithfulness of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Keep US faithful, I pray. Let us not lose our hearts to another. Let us not lose a single child to the fires of hell.
My children never knew my grandparents. The oldest five girls knew my husband’s grandparents well, but by the time the younger four came up, they had already gone home to God. Grandpa prayed for us constantly. He called me every month, and when I answered the phone he would say, “How’s my favorite granddaughter?” I was his granddaughter in law, but he treated me like a daughter. We visited with him and Great Grandma once a month. I relished sitting and listening to their news and memorizing their stories. He used to give my children scripture assignments to memorize–whole chapters in the Psalms! They still know that scripture. Grandpa influenced how I parent and pray. He was a godly man of influence and he purposefully impacted his generations for the Kingdom.
I have been thinking about my age, the age of my children, and the probability of knowing my great grandchildren. I may know some of them, but with a 20 year span between my oldest and youngest, I will likely not be around to meet them all.
Someday, they won’t remember me.
I don’t get to teach them all. I don’t get to love on them all. I don’t get to tell them myself that the most important things are to love God and love people. I won’t have the opportunity to tell them that if there’s only one choice, the only thing that matters is Jesus.
But I get to tell my own children, again and again.
When my girls become mamas and my boys are daddies, I will remind them to be diligent. Be diligent! Keep showing your children, no matter what their ages, what it means to walk with God. Be devoted.
I want to leave a legacy.
They won’t remember me, but I pray that they will all remember God.
Things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children…”Psalm 78:3-6