Tears streamed down his cheeks as he told about the letter. His mom had just died at the age of 97. As he was cleaning out her house, he found an old box of letters, one of which was written to him as a baby by his grandparents. His mom had filed the letter away, and he had never known that it existed. In the letter his grandparents told him that they were very proud to have him in the family, and that they would pray for him daily to become a Christian, and then to become a pastor.
The man I heard tell about the letter is Gary Demarest, a retired pastor, and a leader among evangelicals in the Presbyterian Church. One reason that the letter touched him so deeply is that he never really knew those grandparents. Moreover, his parents were not practicing Christians, and so Gary grew up ignorant of the faith. By God’s grace others introduced him to Christ as a teenager. Soon after, he determined that God had called him into the ministry. He served as a pastor for over 50 years. Gary was so overwhelmingly grateful for those grandparents who prayed for him that he could hardly tell the story.
All of which leads me to ask: for whom are you praying? In particular, for what children are you praying? Gary’s grandparents never knew how God answered their prayers – at least not in this life. But answer he did, and in a way that has multiplied blessings across many families and years. They prayed it forward.
So can you. So again I ask: for what children are you praying? Your own children and grandchildren? I hope so! That’s a high calling. But many other children also need your prayers, which means that those who are not parents themselves can be central to the praying. Which children does God particularly place upon your heart? Be diligent in prayer. God uses such prayers to multiply blessings across generations.
And one more idea: how about writing a letter to the children for whom you pray, and letting them know? Gary was doubly blessed: by how his grandparents prayed God’s blessing forward for him, and by the testimony of the letter. It’s a wonderful way to serve some people who are very special to God, and in ways beyond our view – and likely beyond our lifetime. They need it.
And so do we,