Pray It Forward

This past Sunday, I had the rare and wonderful opportunity to just attend church with my pastor husband. Whereas, on normal Sundays, we are on the front row in every way, on this Sunday we got to sit on the back row and soak it all in.

From that back row perspective, my eyes fell on a young couple sitting a few rows in front of us. Joy welled up in my heart as I pondered my affinity for this sweet couple. Watching them worship, my mind’s eye flashed back to about fifteen years ago.

During that era, our family lived with another family for about five months. Our hosts, newly bereaved of their husband and father, became like family to us. Gregarious and hospitable, they welcomed many people, and, especially, teenagers, into their home.

For whatever reason, our oldest daughter, who was three at the time, became quite fond of one of those teenagers. His name was Chuck. Every night, for months, Anastasha prayed, “God bless Chuck.” She might have forgotten to pray for mommy or daddy, little sister or our host family, but she never forgot Chuck. We chuckled about how cute that was, and, when we told him, 16-year old Chuck blushed at being our 3-year old’s focus. None of us imagined how God would answer those prayers.

Fast-forward 15 years. Anastasha remembers not her diligent prayers for Chuck. However, I believe that God absolutely remembers those prayers because, from my back row perspective, I watched the answers. Now all grown-up, Chuck sat with his arm around his wife, who was holding their infant son. This beautiful young couple loves the Lord and, in that worship service, they bowed their heads in prayer.

It was not mine to know what prayers they were praying. They themselves might not even remember those specific prayers fifteen years from now.

But God doesn’t forget our prayers. He promises over and over again that He will hear and answer our prayers.

From my back row perspective at church, I was reminded again about His amazing invitation to talk to Him. Prayer is powerful, not because of who we are, but because of who God is. No matter what age we are when we cry out to Him, He carries us and our prayers with Him into a future we do not know but where He already is. We cannot know when we pray today how God will answer those prayers tomorrow, but we can know that He will answer.

Chuck and his family have a sweet spot in my heart because, as anyone who knows them will attest, they are precious. However, in my Sunday morning reverie, I realized that they also have a sweet spot because they are tangible reminders to pray it forward, just as Anastasha prayed so long ago.

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