The letter was dated March 26, 1914. I carefully unfolded the fragile, yellowed paper and struggled to read the faded ink. I found this letter and several others in an old metal box at my parents’ house. Addressed to Howell Adam Shouse, my great grandfather on my mother’s side, they were written by his mother, Mary Dozier Shouse, more than a century ago.
Much of the news was what you’d expect – who had been sick, who had gotten married, and how she longed to see her “dear son.” But one particular paragraph brought tears to my eyes:
“Oh how much I do pray for you every single morning and night. I pray mightily to the Lord that you Howell and your children may be convicted and converted and sanctified. Never a day do I miss. May God hear and answer my prayers and save us all in heaven.”
I was blown away. The letter preserved a family legacy prayer. Mary Dozier, my great, great grandmother prayed daily for the spiritual well being of her son and his children. She faithfully petitioned God to make her son and his children aware of their need for a Savior (convict); to draw them into a saving relationship with Jesus (convert); and to grow them up into the likeness of Christ (sanctify).
As I read those words, I knew her prayers also covered me. Long before I was born, my great, great grandmother prayed for me and my eternal, spiritual good.
I do not know the spiritual condition of Howell Adam Shouse, but I do know his daughter – my maternal grandmother – loved Jesus. She consistently pointed me toward the Lord. And my mother has done the same.
This discovery this week both blessed and challenged me. I am blessed to know that my grandmother’s grandmother prayed for the spiritual condition of her descendants. I am also challenged to be just as faithful to lift prayers for my children and their children that matter for eternity.
Yes, I will continue to pray for their physical health and temporal struggles. But I will also recommit to pray for their spiritual health and eternal struggles. If you’d like to do the same, God’s Word is the best place to start. Check out this resource of 21 Scriptures as a guide to pray for your loved ones spiritual well being.
I would love to hear some of the ways you pray for the spiritual well being of your friends and family!
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Thank you for sharing this wonderful message. We all need the reminder that God loves us long before and after our time on earth. Often it’s easy to focus on the mundane of today and forget about those things that have eternal value. You are blessed to have a family that lifts one another up to heaven and continues to pass that characteristic down through the generations. My family also has that same rich heritage. God Bless!
Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I absolutely felt as though God was reminding me He saw and loved me even then!
I pray daily for ourselves and our children. I use a different topic each day and hope I’m covering the basics. I’ve found that it draws me closer to them as I sincerely ask Father to bless and watch over them and to bless them with the day’s request. I also find that I am watching for those things to appear in their lives. I think I need to include my parents in these prayers as well.
Carmen, I love that you are actively watching for God’s answers to your prayers! I have been praying for my parents a lot recently because of their circumstances. But I’m not simply praying for their physical health. I am also praying that they will feel God’s presence and be filled with His peace and the joy of His salvation.
What a treat to find this letter! I’ve always hoped to find something like that from my family. I’ve always wondered if there was someone in my family that had prayed for their future family members. What a blessing!