Priceless Legacy of Prayer

I’ve been asked to speak a lot lately on practical ways to awaken and revive our prayer lives, including how to leave a legacy of prayer for our families. I also teach on this in my book, The Loudest Roar. Here is the story of how the discovery of some old family slides inspired me to try to leave a legacy of prayer for my own grandchildren . . .

Though in our sixties, my two older sisters and I felt like we were little girls again as we huddled together looking at old slides, projected on the wall of our parents’ room. The Kodachrome slides from the ‘50s and ‘60s still held their vibrant colors, making it seem like our parents were back in their twenties and still living among us. We oohed and aahed as the wonder of old memories—long forgotten—seemed to fill up the whole room with the click of each new slide.

First, we looked through the slides from the ‘40s, when our parents met and fell in love. In one of my favorite decades for fashion and hairstyles, our mama’s taste for the fashion of the day was impeccable. Many of the photos were of them when they met in college, married, and then honeymooned in Niagara Falls, like many couples from that era.

Then came the photos of us three little girls, all born in Denver in the fifties, and blondies like our daddy. We’d all forgotten the time we wore new pastel dresses and our auntie curled our hair when we were reunited with our parents after their long ministry trip overseas. Mama had brought us new dolls, and we each held them up proudly as we smiled our crooked teeth grins of little girls.

But the photo that made us gasp was the one filled with the images of our mother in her thirties and both of our grandmothers, just in their sixties back in 1964. Two trusted mentors are also there. Nestled among our mama, grandmas, and mentors are us three little girls.

The photo looks like it should be in a magazine, filled with splashes of different hues of blue—the mountain range behind us, the light blue ’63 Buick Roadmaster, Grandma’s flowered dark blue dress, Rhonda’s sweater, and Donna’s teal blue dress. Our other grandma rocked matching white shoes with her white purse.

Donna, the middle sister, is huddled by our Mom on the far left while Rhonda, the oldest, is to the far right by our Grandma Nessa Bubeck, an Iowa farmer’s wife, and Grandma Eliza Christine, from Chicago whose parents were immigrants from Denmark. I love that four-year-old me is lost in my own little world, oblivious to the love, protection, joy, and beauty that hovers over me. Even my big sisters were my protectors at this stage in my little-girl life.

This photo is even more treasured because just ten years after it was taken both of our grandmothers would be in heaven, one dying of cancer, the other in a car accident. Alzheimer’s took my mama ten years ago. Oh, how I love all of the women in this photo! They all loved us—and Jesus—fiercely and prayed like mighty warriors over us for years.

What I love the most about this Kodachrome from 1964 is that it illustrates the impact of the women who came before me. Their prayers continue to echo through my life and that of my daughters and grandchildren. And one day, perhaps there will be a four-year-old great-granddaughter of mine just playing in her room, unaware of the generations of prayers that cover her.

What about you? I’d love to hear about the legacy of prayer in your own life, or perhaps you have the privilege to be the first one in your family to pick up the baton of prayer and cover your family with that priceless gift.

While you’re here, you can grab a copy of my free resource, “The Power of Praying Scripture” by subscribing to my website at JudyDunagan.com.

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9 Responses

  1. This is very much how I feel about my mom. She passed away almost 16 years ago when I was seventeen from breast cancer and I still see her prayers being answered for each of us kids and her grandkids. She was the first generation of praying moms in her family. I am carrying on that legacy for my own family and praying my children carry it on as well.

  2. The power of prayer is such a gift to pass on to the next generation- legacy continues, even when we can’t see the outcomes this side of glory. Beautiful post, Judy. Thank you for sharing

  3. Judy,
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful legacy story. Thank you too for keeping the legacy of prayer going. Your alphabet prayer is a beautiful way of praying the wonderful attributes of God. Our God is so, so good. My family of origin was not a bit like yours. However through God’s grace and redemptive powers, He has allowed my husband to start a generation of pray for our family.

  4. Judy, we share some of the legacy you so beautifully expressed in your writing. Grandma Bubeck was a prayer warrior super hero. I would run down the gravel road to her house often, to be near her. Her prayer journal would always be at the end of the dining room table. Sometimes she would be sitting in front of it, praying. At other times it was apparent that she had already been there for the day. She prayed for everyone…family, friends, neighbors, missionaries, her pastor…the list went on and on. Sometimes there were specifics; sometimes just a name. Don’t forget Grandpa Bubeck! He could be found seated in his green recliner, Bible open on his lap, napping from his hard morning of working on the farm. Our Dads and uncles shared in this rich inheritance, but knew they must make their own decision and commitment to Christ. They all married Godly women! God has blessed us richly with generations of prayer warriors who are now in Heaven. It’s our turn to take up the baton and cover our children, grandchildren and future generations! What a privilege!

  5. Your story reminds me of my own mother and her love for her Lord and how she loved to spend time with Him as she called it talking to Him. Though my grandmother died when I was five I know she had set the example for my mother and my aunt. One of my fondest memories is my Mom sitting in her rocking chair in the Nursing Home praying for the staff. She had Lewy Bodies dementia, unable to care for herself and legally blind yet still continuing to do battle in the heavenlys.
    I am continuing to carry the baton and my youngest daughter too has made being a prayer warrior a priority. Her 2 sons ( 18 &20) are attending a Christian university with a desire to live as God directs them. Thank Nana Crosby for your legacy.

  6. Thank you Judy for the inspiration to be diligent to leave a praying legacy. I am a first generation praying mother and soon to be grandmother. Though my husband’s grandmother was definitely a praying woman, it kind of stopped with her. It’s my honor to pick up where she left off.

  7. Hi Judy, I am the first generation to begin to pray. It is something I take pretty seriously.
    This was a beautiful, legacy blog. Glad you had these slides.
    We look forward to read your book this upcoming fall.

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