I don’t remember my great-uncle Dennis very well. I remember watching a home video of him and me talking when I was maybe two years old. He passed away when I was ten. Although I don’t remember him much when he was alive, he made a huge impact on me when he died.
You see, they found this journal among his things, and I am not sure how many people even knew that it existed. Inside it were hundreds of pages of his writing. Each line was filled with tiny words and numbers, holding the name of someone on his heart and a list of dates on which he prayed for them. Sometimes he didn’t know the name of the person, but saw them walk to the altar on a Sunday morning and God laid him or her on his heart. He would simply write, “Lady in red dress” or “man being called” and it would be followed with many dates on which he prayed for them. Many countries and world areas were listed with the dates, and often he wrote, “My faith” as he prayed for his already mighty faith to grow. At the funeral, every family member found his or her name in the book with their list of dates. What an impact this prayer warrior had on so many people!
A few days ago, I was sitting and talking with my great-aunt, and I suddenly remembered this prayer journal. I asked her about it, and she jumped up to bring it to me. The rest of the evening conversation was shot, because I couldn’t take my eyes off the pages of this journal for at least an hour. The pages were so full that they were mesmerizing, and I felt frozen by the reality of the volume of prayer that came out of this journal. There was one thought in my heart as I flipped every page, one by one: I want to love people THAT much, that I might be so disciplined to pray for them and care for them every day.
Then I found my name. I don’t know what I was going through around the time that I turned four years old, but he prayed for me every day for months. Whatever trial I was facing, or might have faced had he not prayed for me, he and God got me through it. I am so thankful for the legacy of my great-uncle, the gentle prayer warrior in every sense of the sentiment.
I am moved to pray now more than ever. I am moved to love others now more than ever, and I want to leave a legacy of faith for my friends and family. How will you do that in your life? That’s a worthy question to ask.