I recently read a couple of lines that were written as a side note, but impacted me as if they were the primary message. Tucked away treasures, hidden, yet full of potential to change hearts that take the time to ponder. They were two small sentences from an author named Mark Batterson in his book, All In. "[The life I live] is an answer to the prayers my father-in-law prayed for me. His prayers did not die when he did."
And there it is. Such a profoundly startling truth. And such a deeply moving one.
When I close my eyes and think of the people in my life who I know have prayed for me over my lifetime, and not just said a sentence or two, but repeatedly approached the throne of Heaven on my behalf, I immediately see my grandparents. As a child from a blended family, I have had the honor of having three sets of grandparents to speak into my raising. And all of them prayed.
Two grandmothers are still with me, all the rest of that generation are gone. But, their prayers remain.
Still effective. Still reaping.
I once stood innocently in the produce aisle at the grocery store, putting my entire concentration into the choosing of carrots when a man walked behind me. I never saw him, but I smelled him. And his cologne was the one my grandfather wore. I don't even know the name of it, but I know the smell, and I instantly found my face wet with tears. I have them in my eyes right now just writing that sentence, just remembering the smell of a tall man who loved to laugh, used big words, fed my infant son his first taste of ice cream without thinking to ask the mother, and walked several miles every morning. And prayed.
A man who prayed for his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren. Every single day.
And I'm so grateful that his prayers for me and for my family are still bringing the fragrance of remembrance into the presence of God himself.
I often wonder if my husband and I serve in the same area that my grandfather pastored in because God thinks generationally. But, now, I also wonder if we are not here as God's way of answering my grandfather's prayers that are still rising, the ones that must have so often been prayed for this land and for its people.
Scripture says no word from God lacks power (Luke 1:37), and I'm coming to realize that when His word is in our mouths, our words are never without power either.
Nothing can stop the power of God. Certainly not death. This means that the prayers I pray today, the words and truths of God that I declare with faith, will continue on after I am gone. They will become their own fragrances, ones that rise again and again. They will find their way into the halls and rooms of Heaven and into the presence of the One who loves to say Amen to His words spoken by His children. It also means that I can give a gift to my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren. I can leave a treasure for my church, my city, my nation. I can build a storehouse of blessing.
My prayers. They will not die when I die. They will live, and bring life.