There is, within that short statement, a glimpse of spiritual dynamic that I find fascinating.
Does one Christian life and the earnest prayers of even one faithful mother (or father) affect and effect the lives of children and generations to follow?
Those of us who are Christians and truly believe God’s word know this to be true. The prayers of God’s people are powerfully effective. And even more so that we probably know.
With that thought in mind, I’d like to share with you something that has recently happened in my life, something the Lord has brought to my attention and which I am truly blessed by. It is something that I think will surprise and bless you too.
Back on December 5 of last year (about a month ago) I posted a blog essay titled A Reflective Ramble About Salvation & Prayer. In that essay I asked the question, “Who prayed for me?” I felt strongly that the prayers of others have blessed me greatly. I speculated that my mother and my grandmothers had prayed for me. I wondered about previous generations of my family.
A week or so after I posted that essay my stepfather dropped off a box of my mother’s family papers. In the box was my great, great grandmother, Josephine Jordan’s personal diaries from 1892 to 1889. In the diaries I discovered that grandmother Josephine was a woman of faith who wrote of her great desire and continual prayer for the salvation of her children. I have written about Josephine and the diaries, and posted the year of 1892, at a blog titled, Diary of an 1892 Farmer’s Wife.
The discovery of the diaries and the Christian faithfulness of this formerly unknown ancestor was blessing enough but then something else happened.
A woman named Sheila whose hobby is genealogy responded. She told me that Josephine’s husband’s name was Cyrus (I did not know his name) and that a pastor she knew was also a great, great grandson of Josephine Jordan. That was kind of amazing. But there is more.
My newfound distant cousin sent me an e-mail. Since I have not asked his permission to post it here, I will not mention his name. But I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me sharing the following excerpt, which is a testimony to the faithfulness of God. It is also evidence of His incredible timing and amazing providence:
“My name is Ken ______ and my friend Sheila from Easton, Maine sent me this link to your blog about Josephine Jordan. Interestingly, she is also my great, great Grandma through my grandparents on my mother’s side. [My grandfather] was the grandson of Josephine and Cyrus, and their faith in Christ has been passed on down to me, my children, and my grandchildren.
The opening remarks of Josephine’s diary were brought to my attention by an e-mail from Sheila the day before the dedication of my seventh grandchild. As a pastor and grandfather, I overflow with gratitude and joy for the prayers of this precious woman and the timing of their being brought to my attention.
You can imagine my excitement as I read the prayer recorded in 1892 this past December 31, 2006 at the beginning of [my grandson’s] dedication service. Then, to everyone’s surprise, revealed that this was the prayer of [my grandson’s] great, great, great, great grandmother. I believe God is still answering that prayer and have incorporated it into my own prayer life at the beginning of this year.”
When I read that e-mail, I took my hat off, dropped it on the floor, raised my hands in the air, and praised God for His faithfulness through the generations.
Then, just today, the following message was posted at "Diary of an 1892 Farmer's Wife"...
Hi, my grandfather was Earl Jordan of Presque Ise, son of Frank Jordan. You have spoken with my cousin Ken who is the pastor spoken of in previous message. Earl's daughter was my Mom, she passed away 12/17/2006. What a delight to read this. Many of Earl's kids are ministers and missionaries as are their children. What an awesome legacy of faith started by a mother's prayer for her 4 children. Whow!
My dear readers, those of you who know Jesus Christ as Lord, this is a story that we can learn from and be encouraged by. The life we live in the hear and now, no matter how mundane it may seem, the prayers we pray in earnest now, no matter how inconsequential they may seem, most surely can and do make a difference for God’s kingdom in ways we can only see now “as through a glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
I hope the above testimony has inspired you to pray not only for your children but for the generations to follow. If so, I encourage you to go to a website called, Praying For Descendents.
The web site was put together by a woman named Lois Bravo. You can read her story and be sure to read the section in her free and downloadable little book about “Prayers for the Generations.” Mrs. Bravo has put together a wonderful little resource that all of us who feel a spiritual burden for our children and grandchildren can utilize.
To God be the glory.
Oh, one more thing. Since reading "Diary of an 1892 Farmer's Wife," Sheila has decided to post her grandfather, Milton Flewelling's Farm Journals to the internet. You can see them at Diary of an Aroostook Farmer.
In her grandfather's journal is mention of a Pentecostal revival that occurred in Aroostook county around 1920. The effects of this revival on Josephine's granddaughter, Helen, are mentioned in some of the old family papers that I inherited from my mother. Specifically, there is a poem in which she reminices fondly about going to tent meetings where she accepted Jesus as her Savior.
And it so happens that Sheila and I share a relation. My grandmother's brother, Everett Towle, married a woman named Mavis Ladner. Mavis's mother was a sister to Sheila's grandfather Milton Flewelling. My great aunt Mavis is still alive and lives up in Aroostook county. It's a small world. ;-)