Leaving a legacy of prayer

Published 7:30 am Sunday, August 14, 2022

I recently read a story about a grandmother in Minnesota. She was loved by her family, especially her grandchildren. She would play games with them and they looked forward to visiting her.

Some time ago, the grandmother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. As her illness progressed, she could no longer communicate except by writing. Then, even writing became difficult.

Days before the grandmother passed away, she wanted to leave her children and grandchildren one final message, as her last words to them. She asked for an index card and began writing letters.

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Following her death, the family members tried to figure out the meaning of the letters for several years. They tried every way they could think of, even studying decryption, hoping to decode the meaning. Finally, all the cousins gave up, though they longed to know their grandmother’s final message to them.

They eventually turned to social media when Facebook became popular. The letters and their request for an answer were posted online. Within 10 minutes, the mystery was solved. Someone figured out each of the 66 letters the grandmother had written represented a word. She was too weak to write each word.

“Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9 – 13 KJV).

The grandmother’s last message to her family emphasized an important prayer that Jesus taught His disciples when they asked Him how to pray. Some people call it “The Model Prayer” and consider it a pattern to follow.

Best-selling author and minister David Jeremiah writes, “Rather than serving as a spiritual formula to be followed word for word, this prayer provides an outline to help us organize our thoughts. It begins by praising God for who He is. Then, it acknowledges His priorities. After establishing this framework, the prayer asks God for what is needed and seeks forgiveness. Finally, the Lord’s Prayer circles back to praising God. Proclaiming the truth that ‘Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever’…It reminds us that God is sovereign, powerful, majestic, and eternal.”

“I used to think the Lord’s Prayer was a short prayer; but as I live longer, and see more of life, I begin to believe there is no such thing as getting through it. If a man, in praying that prayer, were to be stopped by every word until he had thoroughly prayed it, it would take him a lifetime” Henry Ward Beecher, an American clergyman from the 1800’s, once said.

The grandmother left behind a legacy of prayer – a prayer she likely said often and wanted to remind her family to pray.

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”