Last year I had an occasion to go to the church where my Great-Grandparents worshipped. Sitting quietly in the sanctuary I thought about the tremendous sacrifices they made so that there would be a place for our family to gather. No doubt the surrender of their time, talent and tithes laid the foundation for many generations of our family to return to that very place to celebrate, mourn and make new memories.
As I walked to the altar and knelt there, I could feel the power of their prayers…..prayers for opportunities to be granted us, prayers for our safety, well-being and for the generations yet unborn to receive the gift of salvation.
Bowing down at that altar allowed me to fully understand the depth of their prayers and how those petitions held our family together. Their prayers for our future made way for us to receive an abundance of gifts and graces that we might otherwise have missed. The love it took to pray for those they would never see humbled me and clarified the simple truth that we are living on the strength of their prayers.
John 17:20-26 records the prayer of Jesus for future generations of believers. He asks that we find unity, protection and holiness as we make our journey of faith. His petition left a legacy of love and truth that has transferred to us through his word. It stands as evidence to a dying world that the witness of Christ will never die as long as we faithfully continue to believe.
When I arose from the altar I could hear the voices of the Saints of old singing, “Somebody prayed for me, had me on their mind. Took the time and prayed for me. I’m so glad they prayed, I’m so glad they prayed, I’m so glad they prayed for me!” With tears rolling down my face, I realized more profoundly than ever before that surely they prayed we would continue the work that they began not just so they would be remembered but so that the world would know that we came from many generations of believers. Now, we have the responsibility to do the same.
Rev. Carmen Walker MDiv
Pastor, Mt. Zion AME Church