The Legacy of Prayer

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The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  - James 5:16

Once I went on a trip. Our host, a witty insightful lady, shared that she had asked her grandchildren: “What are the things you will remember about Momma when I die?” They answered: “Waste not, want not.”

I think if Hannah (my eldest) had been asked the same question by my mom, it would have been: “Guama (maternal grandma) prayed for us.”

My mother’s prayer life is something precious to emulate. As I grew up, she prayed for me and my future life partner. I can’t recall ever praying about a husband or what kind of man I wanted him to be, though one of my mababaw (superficial/shallow) criteria was that he should be tall—even though I am not.

My mom once told me my godmother wanted to refer me a boyfriend. I told her, “Oh no, I don’t want.” Despite my refusal, she referred Andrew to a job in my other godfather’s company, where I was working. God works in mysterious ways. He allows us to partner with him in prayers and actions to make things work. As there was no other more presentable and taller guy in the workplace who could make me laugh, the rest is history!

Mama prayed everyday for all her children, grandchildren and in-laws, mentioning each one by name. When she was sick, she prayed. When she was anxious, she prayed.

Faith is what you cling to when there’s nothing else to hang on to. My mom often demonstrated this to me at the doctor’s clinic. After consulting the doctor, she would ask if anything was serious. After the doctor’s assurance that everything was okay, she would reply: “I kept praying and praying.” Mama always showed me how to be brave and resilient.

Mom tried to endure her condition because she didn’t want to bother us. Her resilience to adapt as best as she could to what was bothering her made me realize that she was brave in her suffering.

Courage is not absence of fear but the conquest of it. Mom was brave to endure, but this didn’t mean that she did not worry about her physical deterioration, which came with age. But she coped with her physical limitations through prayer.

Prayer was her means to live courageously. She often shared with the doctors how God had answered her prayers. She grabbed at every opportunity to share God’s goodness to her.

My mom prayed for me every day. Prayer is her lasting legacy for her family and friends. I have heard her praying with friends on the phone. I asked her to pray with my mother-in-law on the phone. Prayer is one ministry she did even when she was sick and could not go out. Prayer was her one and only resort when she was sick and afraid and did not want to bother us or burden us with anxiety. Prayer got her through many deep valleys and dark shadows of life.

Now that I no longer have her with me, I often think about her legacy and I pray more often, telling God what I would have told her.

I still often push prayer to the side, or I only pray when anxiety begins to trouble me. Perhaps things have been too easy for me, or maybe I just take it for granted that God is taking care of things. Persistence and perseverance at prayer is one thing I need to learn from Mama, who formed the habit of praying for each one of us everyday. Today, by God’s grace and mercy, I am who I am, where I am, how I am, what I am, why I am because my mother prayed for me.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of prayer. Thank you that we are not to worry about anything but in everything, we can pray to you in supplication and thanksgiving. And your peace, which is beyond human understanding will keep our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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