The room was still dark when she peered through blurred eyes at the bedside clock. Disoriented, she stared first at the window, then at the ceiling tiles, watching the details slowly come into focus. It was several moments before she thought to wonder why she had been awakened. Shifting herself onto her other side, she saw that the sheets beside her were empty. The form of her husband was silhouetted against the faint light of the window. His kneeling form clutched the side of the bed and he emitted a soft murmur now and again as he wrestled in prayer.
Smiling, she closed her eyes and slipped back into a peaceful sleep. An hour and a half later she awakened again as he slipped back into bed. "Which one were you praying for tonight?" she queried.
"Margie. She's on my heart."
It was a nightly routine for him. Each of his ten children were specifically prayed for in turn. Night after night he pled with the Almighty for his kids. Every challenge, every concern, every joy or sorrow, was talked through with the Lord. He prayed for every endeavor that they undertook, and asked the Lord to keep them faithful.
And the effects of those prayers live on today.
All 10 of his children stayed strong in the Lord, raised godly children, and lived out sacrificial lives of service. His daughter Ruthie only recently retired from serving as the prayer coordinator for the General Conference.
Pastors, missionaries, camp directors, conference workers, literature evangelists, teachers, faithful parents-- the list goes on. The number of lives and souls touched by his descendants would be impossible to count.
And as I stand here, young and green, and humbled to carry on the ministry of service to the next generation, I can't help but think of my great-grandfather's prayers for my Grandma Margie that night and be thankful that, in a small way, I was included in them. This legacy of prayer is a greater treasure to me than any legacy of fame or money could ever have been (had he had those to give.)
I look around me, as I write this here at a ministerial retreat at Camp Au Sable in Michigan, I see a second-cousin Pastor newly ordained on one side and another second-cousin and her husband serving as co-directors of the camp on the other. They are both raising children who love Jesus and are already serving others in their own sweet little ways.
I wish Grandpa Budd could be here to see the results of those prayers he prayed all those dark morning hours so long ago. I wish I could go back in time and tell him that Jesus was hearing him and that the petitions he desired were granted him. I wish I could tell him that his effectual, fervent prayer was availing much, much more than he ever dreamed.
But somehow I feel like he already knew. I think he took God's word and stood on those promises, knowing that what he could not see was fact. All great prayer warriors do.
And my heart burns to carry on his legacy-- not just the legacy of ministry and service, and remaining a part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church-- but the legacy of intercessory prayer. The legacy of believing in promises and praying as though I have received the things for which I am asking because He said so.
And let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.