A Heritage of Prayer

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1 ESV

Some of you have noticed that I love to write devotionals. The truth is I also love to read devotional collections. Oswald Chambers, Joni Eareckson Tada, Charles Swindoll and Rick Warren have become friends whose example and teachings have encouraged me through some of the darkest times of my life. About a month ago, my wife, knowing my love of devotional writing brought me home a Beverly Lewis book titled, “Amish Prayers.” In it the author has compiled a selection of prayers translated from a German prayer book dating back to 1708. What a special blessing this little book has become to me!

The book, “Amish Prayers” in many ways reminded me of the book of Psalms. Then as I looked closely, I discovered that the Psalms are as much a book of prayers as an ancient Hebrew collection of hymns. That inspired me to begin looking through the Bible for other prayers and I discovered them everywhere! In fact, the Bible could just as well be called, God’s Prayer Book, because at the heart of the stories of the men and women of scripture is the heritage of their prayers. Some of those prayers are questions, some complaints, some cries for mercy and others simply times of praise. If you will join me, over the next week we are going to listen in to a few of those prayers and then bow our heads and pray along with them!

Heaven’s Family Album

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20 KJV

This year we decided that the time had come to organize our vast collection of family photos. We put this off for years because in our cabinets lie thousands of snapshots of our own, as well as hundreds from our parents, and even grandparents. Slowly and methodically, we went through our collection, tossing out faded landscapes, faces of folks we do not recognize or wished we didn’t.

At first, this was simply tedious but as time went on and the images passed before me, the memories came rushing back. We laughed seeing images of our children (now in their forties) jumping on the couch, we wept to see faces of friends and family separated by death or broken relationships. Some of our memories are treasures, while others we simply wanted to throw away. As flipped through the pile of photographs, I saw my life in the faces and was reminded that God also has a family album of His own in Heaven.

From His vast collection, He has lovingly shared with us a few eternal snapshots, to teach us the most important lessons of life. From our children, we learned to be patient and to love them even when they failed. From parents and grandparents, He showed us how to face difficulties with faith and respect for those weaker than we are. But from those who hurt us He has given us the opportunity to learn the greatest lesson of all. With these Jesus brings us to the cross where He teaches us to treat thieves as companions, failed friends as family members and those who cause our deepest pain, as people in need of mercy. At the cross God shows us that in forgiving others, He has forgiven us in spite of our sins. Then by His grace He has added us one by one into His family album in Heaven where we will one day see His face forever!