Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
“Who ya’ talkin’ to Grampa?”
Asked the child upon entering the shed.
The old man turned and gently smiled,
“Just my Friend,” he said.
The child looked ‘round but couldn’t find
Her Grampa’s Friend that day.
It didn’t matter much to her,
So, she went on her way.
Once when the child was older,
She played with kittens in the loft,
She heard her Grampa speaking
In a voice low and soft.
So, she listened to what he was saying,
And she understood that day.
With joy she finally realized
She’d been listening to him pray.
For Grampa’s life was filled with prayer,
Sweet communion with his Friend.
A gentle faithful servant
For whom God would one day send.
“Where ya’ goin’ Grampa?”
I whispered soft and low.
“To greet my Friend,” he answered,
And so, with joy, I let him go.
This is one of my favorite poems, all but the last verse written while I was in college. Almost a decade later, as I drove my mom back from the nursing home after he died, God gave me the last verse. My grampa was a meek, quiet, godly man. Growing up, I thought he was talking to himself as he went through the day. But then, on this one day, I understood he was having conversations with God.
I liked to sleep over at Gramma and Grampa’s home when I was young. In the mornings, I’d hear them talking softly as they prepared breakfast. Then after breakfast, without fail, we would push back our chairs, kneel, and pray together. I heard them pray for each of their children and their spouses, each of their grandchildren, praying they would honor God with their lives. I heard them pray for me. What an impact that made on me. Knowing that they were still praying for me each morning when I was at college encouraged me to be committed in my walk with the Lord.
When I was sick as a child, many times Grampa would come over, lay his hand on my forehead and he would pray. I thought of the Bible stories I’d heard of Jesus healing the sick and of Peter, John, and Paul. I grouped my grampa with them. I always felt better after he said, “Amen.”
I thank God for this wonderful example of prayer that He brought into my life. I wonder, now, what example am I leaving for my own children and grandchildren. Years ago, on my drive to work, it was my habit to make a mental list of the people and situations for which I needed to pray that night before bed. In a rush of clarity, I thought, “Why wait?” Pray for them now.
From that moment on, God has been teaching me to be constant in prayer. I no longer have to be sitting in my chair with the list of prayer requests, but I can pray when things happen, when needs arise. And there have been times I’ve found that it no longer is prayer, but a conversation with my Friend.
Heavenly Father, teach us to pray and become encouraging examples to others about the power, the comfort, and the joy of prayer.
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