Prayer: A Lasting Legacy
*This message was transcribed from Fern Nichols' True Woman '10--Chattanooga message.
Fern Nichols: Before we begin, let’s talk to our Heavenly Father.
Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for the women You have brought here. You have poured out a spirit of prayer upon them. Lord, they want to go deeper into prayer, what prayer is, what it means, the power of God through prayer, that prayer really matters, that prayer is an eternal investment we can make in the lives of our children, grandchildren, and descendents.
So, Lord, I pray that I would be hid behind the cross, that the things I share are things that You’ve only taught and continue to teach me in my own life. So I pray that God the Holy Spirit will translate to each precious woman here that’s Your daughter, and that You would help her know that You hear and You answer prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Legacy is what we pass down from one generation to another. So it’s anything handed down from an ancestor. We each leave a legacy of something. There’s the temporal legacy and the spiritual legacy. So what are some things in the temporal legacy that can be passed down? Just tell me.
Money, jewelry, property, furniture. That’s quite a little legacy there—furniture, houses, property, money, but we all know that in temporal things they’re fragile, and they’re unstable. Aren’t they? They can be lost or stolen. They can be destroyed by fire, hurricanes, tsunamis. I mean, it’s not a sure deal.
But we can also pass down a spiritual legacy that truly never gets lost or stolen, the fire can’t touch it, and the hurricanes can’t blow it away. That’s the spiritual legacy of faith and prayer that I’m going to talk about today.
Faith in Christ is truly being a true woman, biblical woman. Prayer is truly not only for ourselves and our petitions but as an intercessor to pass down. Long after we are gone, our prayers will still be living, and I’m going to talk a little bit about that with you.
I’m going to talk about a legacy of faith right now. My mom had four children. She accepted Christ after listening to a Christian radio program every morning. She was just drawn to Christian radio. God drew her, right? One glorious moment she heard the gospel clearly, and she accepted Jesus Christ into her heart. Very simply and very sincerely, she just asked Jesus to come into her heart.
Her whole identity changed, and she became the daughter of the King. Now, at that moment she really didn’t know she had a crown on her head, but she did, and all of you do, too. Yes, you’ve got your helmet, too. Just put your crown on top of the helmet, or put the helmet on top of the crown, or something. We’re just so fitted in the Lord that it’s awesome.
At this new birth, she was born again into a new family, the family of God. This wonderful family that she was born into, God spoke to her heart in light of she needed to grow in her faith. So she lived out a legacy that I’m going to share with you in just a minute that got me started on my spiritual journey, but truly that’s where it starts, is being with a daughter of the King, asking Christ to come into her life.
I’m not going to assume that everybody here knows Jesus Christ personally. We might know of Jesus Christ, but to have Him as a personal Lord and Savior and Friend, maybe not. So I’m going to share a few verses with you, and for those of you who know for sure that you are the daughter of the King, you might want to jot these verses down because—we’re talking about legacy here—there might be a moment in time with your son or daughter or with your grandchildren that you can personally take them to the Word of God and show them how to become a Christian.
So that’s all I’m going to do right now—to share with you how to accept Christ and give you the Scripture to take whoever I believe God is going to have you talk to in your family or otherwise. We start with—and I think this is what my mom really realized that she was a sinner, and she didn’t know what to do with her sin.
Romans 3:23: “All have sinned, and [we] fall short of the glory of God” (KJV). Really, all that means is we fall short of His character, His holiness, His goodness, His love. We cannot measure up to who God is. So we fall short, and the penalty of our sin is death.
Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (KJV). It is a gift. God paid the penalty for our sin through His great love.
Romans 5:8—I’m just kind of going through these quickly. You can maybe study them a little bit later and get to know them yourself. “God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (NASB). Demonstrates means He’s proven. It’s a proven love. How much more can the God of the universe proves how much He loves mankind than by giving us His only Son Jesus Christ. So He demonstrated this great, marvelous love to us through His Son’s death on the cross, taking our sin, and Him giving us His righteousness. Salvation is a free gift.
I make a mean blackberry pie. Actually, I had blackberries in the back of our first home we had when I had our first child. I made so many blackberries ala modes that I gained 50 pounds. I think it was all pie. What’s really interesting is that oldest of our four children has kind of a little tan look about him. I tell him it’s because of all of those blackberries that I ate. But it’s a free gift. No matter how many blackberries I make, I could not gain my salvation—no matter how yummy it is.
Ephesians 2:8-9: “For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith, and this is not [from you]; it is a gift of God [this is a gift of God], not of works, so that no one can boast” (ESV).
It’s beautiful—salvation. Isn’t it? What a great legacy to pass on, talking about our Jesus this way and our God who loved us so much.
It is not enough to just know these wonderful truths in the Word of God—because everything in the Word of God is true—but we must personally invite Christ into our life.
John 1:12-13: “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become the children of God—children born not of a natural descent, nor of human decision or of [your will], but born of God” (NIV).
You may say, “I believe in God,” but the Bible says that even the demons believe. We’re talking about becoming a child of God and living in the kingdom of God. This is huge. Those who do not know Jesus are living in the kingdom of Satan. But when we invite Christ to come into our heart, we are saying, “I love You. I want to serve You. I want to give You glory. I want to fulfill the destiny that You have for my life. I want to walk with You. I want to talk with You. I want my relationship to grow with You. I want to see what Your Word says to me because Your words are Your now-speaking voice.”
There’s the gospel. You just wrote it down. I wonder who God is going to have you share that with in your family. I give little bits and pieces of it to my grandchildren. But if there’s any doubt in anybody’s heart today, that if you just keeled over right now (we don’t know when we’re going to go, do we?) that you would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you would go to heaven. If you don’t have that assurance, let’s put a stake in the ground today.
I’m just going to say a simple prayer but a very sincere prayer to help you invite Christ into your life if you feel God is drawing you to be His child. So let’s pray. I will pray out loud, and you can pray silently in your heart.
Oh, Father, I admit that I am a sinner, and I need Your gift of salvation. I believe that You died for all my sin at the cross, and that You rose from the dead three days later. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and save me. And because Your Word says so, I am now Your child. I am a daughter of the King. Now I ask that You would help me live for You all the days of my life. Thank You, in Jesus’ name, amen.
If you invited Christ into your life just now, you are a child of God, and you are living now in His kingdom. You traded your sin for His righteousness. What a deal: your emptiness for His peace; your despair for His joy; your hell for His heaven. I encourage you to tell somebody in the next little bit so they can help you grow in your faith. If you just accepted Christ, or if you have known Christ for many, many years, this workshop is going to help you grow deeper into the soil of God’s love.
My mom left me a wonderful legacy. She left me a legacy of faith. I’m going to give you a little definition of legacy. Legacies are created out of daily life and are formed by the choices we each make from day to day.
And this is what my mom did. After she accepted Christ, the first thing she wanted to do was go to church. In His providence, there was a little white church about a mile from our house. It happened to be a Baptist church that taught the Word of God. So all four of us kids and my mom were at church every single week. She was saying this faith of hers was important, important enough to get four little kids ready and get in to church.
Also, before every meal, we would pray and thank God for our food. She was saying that there was a God that has provided. Even though I had a Daddy who worked very hard so that he could provide for us, my mom was acknowledging the fact that God was the one who provided my Dad’s health and the ability to work to provide for us.
Now I didn’t put all that together as a little girl, but the dailies—you don’t know what builds day after day. Day after day we prayed. I don’t remember a meal we didn’t pray, and I don’t remember a time going to bed that we didn’t get on our knees before bed and talk to God. Now there were times I was secretly praying, “Oh, Lord, please, let’s just pray the Lord’s Prayer. I’m so tired.” I didn’t know how long my mom was going to pray that night. But what she was saying was that we are acknowledging a God that we need to talk to and tell Him our problems and thank Him for things.
So she left a legacy of prayer. Every Wednesday night she took us little kids to the prayer meeting. I couldn’t even touch the floor. My feet were dangling in the pew, but I knew I was in a very special, holy place. I don’t remember any prayer that was prayed, but I knew this was a special spot where God’s Body was praying to their Heavenly Father.
“True faith, women, is not a single event,” says John MacArthur, “but a way of life.”
It’s what we do in the dailies. It’s really in the mundane things of life where Jesus Christ is seen. So truly the greatest legacy that we can leave, women, is our life. How we live as a daughter of the King. So life is about building and leaving a godly legacy, and with these four principles of prayer that I’m going to give you, this is a daily practical thing that you can do. Your life will change, and people will be affected by your life seeing the reflection of Christ.
Now, it’s not an overnight deal. We were changed from glory to glory, but it is so true when you sit around . . . I’ve heard it many times, when somebody has died in the family and they sit around and talk, they don’t talk about, “Oh, I think she had mahogany furniture.” But they sit around, and they talk about the person. “Wasn’t she kind? Do you remember when she brought . . .” It’s the daily touches of a life. A legacy is a life. A godly legacy is reflecting the image of Christ. Why I love prayer is because we become like the one we spend the most time with. If we spend time in prayer, in the secret place, in the quiet time, as well as unceasingly throughout the day, we become more like Him, His beauty starts to reflect in and through us. That really, really happens. So it’s our life that speaks.
I heard this said, or I read it somewhere: “For a mother is not merely rearing one, two, or more children. [Get this.] She is affecting future generations for good or bad.”
It’s not just living in the now. It’s not just my little kids and me and mine. I’m going to share two different legacies: A mother who loved God. Sarah Edwards, wife of the famous 18th century clergyman Jonathan Edwards. She displayed a vital interest in the development of her 11 children to love Jesus. That was her goal. That was her purpose. That was her intent. That was her mission. As a result of this woman, not only praying, living the life, and training her children—I’ll just give you an idea of her legacy:
Thirteen college presidents; 65 professors; 100 lawyers, and a dean of a law school; 30 judges, 66 physicians, and a dean of a medical school, and on and on it goes.
Then we have another mother. Her name is Ada Take. In 1740, according to records, a woman was born named Ada Take. True to her name, she took everything there was to be had in the way of liberties and licenses. She died a confirmed drunkard, and all together she had 700 descendents. Among them were 100 children born out of wedlock, 181 women of the street, 142 beggars, 46 workhouse inmates, and 76 criminals. It has been estimated that this woman cost the country $1,200,000.
Christ makes a difference, and if we will but live out the legacy of the disciplines of prayer and the Word of God and death to self so that others might live, you will leave a lasting legacy that will be eternal, and then the enjoyment of today, the joy of living out Christ in us. So your life, my life, will impact future generations by how we live.
I was very fortunate that God drew me to His heart, and I know it was through my mother’s example, to ask Christ into my life at a young age. I wanted to pass on to my children faith in Jesus. I wanted them to know the power of God through prayer, and I knew I needed to be intentional about it. It’s the Deuteronomy thing—when you get up and when you sit down, you talk about the Lord. When you see a little bug on the sidewalk, it’s like, “Boy, did God make some kind of bug there!” And now I’m starting all over with my grandchildren. Oh my goodness. They open your eyes all over again. “Oh, there’s a bird tweeting. Oh, hallelujah, that song that bird sings. Nobody sings a song like that bird. God, He is so amazing!”
You just start getting in the habit of bringing God, because He’s your Father, into everything you do and everything you say.
They’ll come to the front door and ring the doorbell, and we play this little thing. I’ll come to the door, and I’ll say, “Who’s at Nana’s house?” Makayla will say, “Makayla, Nana.” I swing open the door, and I scoop her up in my arms, and I say, “Oh, Makayla, Nana loves you so much. Jesus loves you more.” Just constantly thinking about how to bring the spiritual realm into the physical realm of where our families live.
You’re saying, “Oh, Fern, you’re a little bit off the charts here.” I know. I can’t help it. (laughter) And not only that, I have been a Christian for many, many years, and it’s so exciting to see a little bit of growth. It’s very intentional for me to do this now. It’s like second nature. I don’t have to think about it so much anymore. I’ve been through four children, and now I’m starting eight grandchildren, and other little children in the Sunday school class.
I pray against this for us, precious women, here in this room because we can start right now. Maybe we haven’t been intentional about it. Maybe we haven’t prayed daily for our children and our grandchildren, but we can start today.
You know that locust story—in Habakkuk, is it?—whatever the locust have eaten, God can restore. I believe that with all my heart. I stand here as a woman saved by grace and forgiven much, but I pray against this that this will not happen with us as it did the Children of Israel. In Judges 2:10 it says, “Another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel” (paraphrased).
So I’m trying to remember answered prayer so that I can tell my grandchildren. I told them when I was in Norway this little lady wanted to come to the conference, but she got all mixed up. She had the taxi cab driver drop her off somewhere, and she was totally lost, but she kept walking. She felt like she was in the middle of the forest, and she cried out to God. She said, “God, I’m lost, and I need to get to the conference. I don’t know what to do.”
Right then a car drove up to her, a lady was in it, and said, “Are you (she was crying) in trouble?”
“Yes, I have to get to this Mom’s In Touch Conference,” she said, “and I don’t know how to get there.”
She said, “Oh, I know right where it is.” She plops her in and takes her right to the conference. And she comes swinging through the door. I mean, she’s so happy she was there.
Do you know what? That was a providential moment. Now I want to tell my grandkids, “God cared about that little Norwegian woman lost in the woods.”
But you know what? Sometimes things happen, and we forget that, “Oh, my goodness. God intervened here. This really is an answer to prayer.” Tell it; tell it; tell it; tell it. Tell of the wonders the Lord has done. Tell the miracles He has done. Are you sitting there in your sound mind? Tell your grandchildren, “That’s by God’s grace”—especially if they would have known how his father acted when he was a teenager! (laughter) No! Don’t go there! (laughter) I’m totally teasing.
You know what’s so neat about this workshop, too, is that in the Manifesto, number 15, and also number 4, we’re doing it. Number 4 talks about “nurture our fellowship and communion with God through prayer and praise, thanksgiving, confession, intercession, and supplication.” These are the four life-changing principles that God gave me called “The four steps of prayer” 25 years ago. Moms In Touch and they have changed my life, and they continue to change my life. So why wouldn’t I want to pass on something that’s awesome?
God says, “Come to Me.” When He says, “Come to Me,” that means, “I want to talk to you. I want to instruct you. I want to tell you things. I just want to tell you sometimes that I love you.”
Sometimes, don’t you just feel little sweet kisses on your cheek when things happen? Tell somebody about that. “Oh, I just got a little sweet kiss from Jesus.” Watch for them. They’ll come.
But oh my precious women, busyness will take us, won’t it? It will just take us down, and everything will seem so much more important than spending time with the God, your Daddy, of the universe. What’s that all about?
So it’s constantly, everyday saying, “Oh, God, may I seek You and know You today. Help me to come to You. Help me to take that time. I want to, but my flesh is so (what?) weak. My flesh is so weak.”
To just give a little illustration about busyness, you know the circus and the man with the ten poles, and he throws the plate up on the pole, and he twirls it around. Then he does to the next pole and the next pole, and they’re all twirling wonderful. But by the time he gets to that tenth pole, what’s happened to the first one? Wobble, wobble, wobble. And he goes, “Oh, mercy!”—as if he didn’t know—and he runs to the first plate and starts it.
Women, this is us. We’ve got so many plates in there, and we’re going, “wo-wo-wobble. Hurry, hurry. Twirl, twirl, twirl.” (laughter)
Then you walk into church after you’ve “twirled, twirled,” and it’s, “Oh, hi, Suzie. How are you?” (laughter) God says, “Just settle down. I’ve got it all. I’ve got it all.”
So I’m going to share with you praise, confession, thanksgiving and intercession in your dailies. If you live out these four prayer principles, these four steps of prayer in your dailies, you will not be going, “wang, wang, wang, wang.” You will splash out the fragrance of Jesus on your husband, on your children, on your grandchildren, and He will give you the strength to do it.
So—why praise? We need to know who our God is. So on that little sheet I gave you, I just gave you some of those attributes. There’s many more in my book: Every Child Needs a Praying Mom, but I just wanted to give you just a little glimpse. You see, I’m a very practical teacher because I was a teacher-kind of person. I don’t want to tell you to do something and then not give you something, or a tool, to do it with.
So here’s just a suggestion: God is faithful. You might take “God is faithful.” Think about who your God is as a faithful God, and just praise Him all week long that He’s faithful. Maybe take the first two verses on Monday and just really glean from them and pray them back to the Lord and just bask in His faithfulness. And then the next day take two verses. Or you might want to take all the verses on one day, some of you are like this, and then you want to do “holy” the next day.
But what we need to do daily is to see God in one of His attributes because in the experience of life, in circumstances of life, if we don’t know who our God is, we will be shaken because there are circumstances in life that are hard. But if we know that our God is good, if we know that our God is faithful, and we’ve experienced it over and over again, we come to Him and say, “God, You say it, and I believe it, and I have lived it. You are a faithful God.”
If you turn to your little prayer journal, I’m going to take you through that in the next half hour. These four steps of prayer center around our God. If you are intentional about studying the Word and reading what God says about Himself and reading it and praising Him for it, not only will you trust Him more, but a woman who praises her God does not fall apart when life dishes out bad things.
“The righteous run to the high tower where the name of the Lord is.” “Name of the Lord” means all of His names, characteristics, attributes.
So what we’re going to do right now is we are going to praise God that He’s a God who hears. I’ve chosen for us that God hears. Maybe some of you have never prayed out loud before, so I’m just going to do a little exercise with you. Will you just say to me, “God hears.” (Audience responds: “God hears.”)
Now, was that hard to use your voice? No. Now I want you to close your eyes, and I want you to say this to God. “God, You are my God who hears me.” You just spoke truth. You just praised truth. Satan hates truth. When you praise God, Satan flees. His power dispels when you praise God because he’s the one that wants to be praised.
So when we speak truth, addressing God for who He is, our prayers destroy Satan’s lies because Satan’s going to say, “Your God doesn’t hear you. You’re really not a very good Christian. My land, what kind of legacy have you left?” Uh-uh. You see what I’m saying? Who God is—we need to know who God is to dispel Satan’s lies.
So what we’re going to do is we’re just going to break up into, like a couple, just the two of you, and we’re going to praise God together in one accord—it’s so fun to do it with a friend. If you don’t know the person next to you, you really become a friend if you start praying with her.
The definition of God hears is, “To give audience to, to listen to attentively.” So I want you to read out loud with me these three Scripture verses that proclaim and declare that God hears. So let’s do Isaiah 30:19 together. Here we go. “How gracious He will be when you cry for help. As soon as He hears, He will answer you” (NIV).
So when Satan says, “He’s not hearing; He’s not answering.” You say, “I rebuke you, Satan, in the name of Jesus. You know nothing, you little old liar. Get lost.” (laughter) And you go right to the Word of God.
All right. Let’s do Jeremiah 33:3. “Call to Me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (NIV).
What? Be in expectation. God says that. He says, “You call to Me, I will answer you.” Well you can’t answer somebody if you haven’t heard him.
Okay. Psalm 116:2: “Because He bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath” (NLT).
I’m going to have you just take a minute or two, and you’re just going to praise God; just use these verses. For example, “God, I praise You that You’re gracious to me when I cry to You for help.” The other lady next to you might say, “And, God, as soon as You hear, You promise You will answer. I praise You for that.” You just take the Word of God and praise it right back to Him.
God hears prayer. I was teaching that to my little Jack when he came over. I always pray, “Oh Lord, on Nana’s watch, that nothing would happen.” (laughter) So he gets a little sliver in his little finger, and you know, it bugs you. Have you ever had a sliver? They’re the meanest little critters. So I said, “Oh, Jack, Nana can help you, but I’m going to have to use a needle.”
I set him up on the counter, and I got the needle and a little alcohol and the cotton, and I said, “Jack, let’s pray. Let’s pray that God will make you strong and courageous, and that Nana will make the needle go right in the right spot.” There was a little trust thing there for me, too. So God heard that prayer, and God was so good to me. I got it just at the right little spot, and then I got the little tweezers and I pulled it out. Little Jack’s eyes were like this the whole time. He didn’t squirm or anything. I got it out, and I said, “Oh, Jack. We’ve got to thank God now. He heard our prayer, and He answered our prayer. You were strong and courageous, and Nana got the needle right in the right spot. Is that just cool?”
That’s a legacy. Just a little bit. You say, “Oh, what’s that?” It’s big. It’s big.
So don’t be afraid. You’ve already used your voice out loud. You heard that it sounded okay. (laughter) Just take these Scripture verses, and just say, “God, I praise You that You’re gracious to hear me when I cry.” Okay? Give it a try. If you’ve never tried it before, try it; you’ll like it. You only have a couple of minutes.
Father, we praise You that You are a Heavenly Father that hears, in Jesus’ name, amen.
I’m just giving you a little taste now, but you can imagine how, if you get in a group like we do in our Moms In Touch groups, we just go on and on praising God. It’s just the best thing. Some people will say, “Oh, my goodness. How do you pray a whole hour?” I say, “Just come and try prayer out.” Then at the end of the hour, they say, “Oh, my goodness. We could have prayed another hour.” And it’s true.
If you know your God, you’re leaving a legacy of faith in a God who hears and answers prayer. You are leaving a legacy to your children and grandchildren of who God is. That’s pretty powerful. But you can’t leave that legacy if you don’t know who He is.
Here’s this next step: Confession. We did that this morning. It was a powerful time this morning, so I’m just going to say a few things about this, and I’m going to give you a little quiet time to confess. That means you just agree with God that this is sin. Let’s not be prideful. If you’ve got a little critical spirit, confess it. But you say, “I kind of have a critical spirit throughout the day.” Well, every time you have a critical spirit, confess it.
When I first started confessing my sin this way, God revealing it to me, I was confessing 40, even 50 times a day. I didn’t know my thought life was so terrible. (laughter) But you know what? God wants to clean that up, but if we’re so proudful that we don’t think . . . We think, “Oh, that’s not much. That’s just a little white lie.” I don’t know where . . . if you find that in the Bible, would you let me know? I’d love to see it.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Right? God wants you to be free from the sin that has strongholds, a strong hold on your life. Keep working at it. “Lord, I’m sorry. I did it again. Please help me. I’m so glad Your blood covered that at the cross.”
He wants to set you free more than you want to be set free. Our position when we accepted Christ is forever. We are righteous in God’s eyes. But our condition on a daily basis, the daily basis of leaving the legacy . . . Women, if you are a woman who will not be prideful and be humble when the Holy Spirit says, “This is sin. This is an unforgiving spirit. This is self-pity. This is a critical spirit. This is anger. This is resentment.” Come before the Lord humbly and say, “Lord, I see it. I don’t want it. You forgave it at the cross, and I just ask that You would help me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to walk as Jesus walks.”
You might have to do that many times throughout the day, and that’s okay. You need to say, “Yes, Lord,” when the Holy Spirit convicts you, right? “Yes, Lord.”
Now, I’m just going to give you a little hint here, and I don’t have time to go into it, but it’s Matthew 18. It talks about the unmerciful servant. So just to kind of whet your appetite on that, if we don’t forgive, that passage of Scripture says that you will put yourself in the torture chamber of destructive emotions. Read it. You don’t want to do that to yourself. Humble yourself.
So you are passing down a legacy when you are a woman who confesses her sin. Acknowledge that you are passing down a selfless life. You are passing down, not pride, but humility.
I’ll tell you this story, and then I’m going to give you a little time to confess.
When Travis was in high school, we were talking, and he asked to do something. And really before hearing him out, I said, “No, Travis, because I don’t think that’s good. I don’t want you to do it.” We kind of had a little angst. The relationship was broken.
As I went off to pray about it, it was like the Lord was saying to me, “You know, Fern, you really didn’t hear him out. I know you’re fearful of things that he might do out there when he leaves the house. But really, this was your deal.”
Okay, what am I going to do with that? I went to Travis, and I asked him to forgive me. I said, “Travis, I did not hear you out. I’m sorry. I jumped the gun on this.” We sat down; we talked about it, and it was a blessing. The relationship was restored.
Then there was another time we had a little altercation, and I said, “Lord, is this me again?” And He said, “No. This is Travis.” The Holy Spirit impresses you on what you should do. So I was just quiet. That night when I went to bed, on my pillow was a little note from Travis saying, “Mom, we might not always see eye to eye, but we see heart to heart. I love you.” That was his way of saying, “Will you forgive me?” I took it as that. It didn’t say exactly those words, but you know what? We can’t go beat it out of them. “Say you’re sorry.” What a beautiful way to say you’re sorry. Right?
Is there anything right now that is still a stronghold in your life, something that you’re really struggling against giving it to the Lord, that you need to humble yourself with? I’m just going to give you a minute to think about. If there’s nothing, great. Just thank God for His blood that forgive you of all your sins at the cross, but if you need to confess something right now, do it. Be free from it—not that you might have a little temptation later on to do it, and you might succumb to it. You might need to confess again, but we’re going to right now confess. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, it is such a powerful thing to leave a legacy of a humble, contrite spirit, one that is not prideful but is quick to forgive others just as You have forgiven us. So, Lord, I pray for each one of us that we would pass on to the next generations humility, not pride. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I also want to say this: Purity is power in your praying because in James 5 it says, “The fervent prayer of a righteous woman is dynamic in its power,” but it says a righteous woman. Purity is power in praying.
Our third step—thanksgiving—you’ll see it on your prayer journal. Thanksgiving provides a wonderful rest in God’s plan for our lives. To be a thankful person on a consistent, habitual basis, being intentional about it, you will become a very gracious, contented, spirit-filled, grateful woman. Don’t you love to be around somebody who’s grateful, sees the glass half full? We all should if we have Jesus.
It was so important to give thanks that the Lord put a story in the Bible about it. There were ten lepers. How many came back and said, “Thank you”? One. If God is answering our prayers, we must say, “Thank You.” You know why? It displays His glory. It gives Him glory when we give thanks to Him. We are supposed to give thanks in all things; not for all things because some things are awful, but in all things.
Are you in financial distress? Give thanks. Are you healthy? Give thanks. Are you sick? Give thanks. Are you single? Give thanks. Are you married? Give thanks. Do you have children? Give thanks. If you don’t have children, give thanks. We are to give thanks in all things. Sometimes we don’t understand the why of things, but God says, “I want you to thank Me because this honors Me because it says that you trust Me.”
So on your sheet of paper, you have a little line there. Can you think of just one thing that you can be thankful for? Would you write it down?
Women, what a legacy to pass down. If we become a thankful woman of God through our prayer, we are passing on to the next generation that God is good all the time. Again, it’s a woman who trusts her God. She knows her God. She’s a humble woman, and she gives thanks in all things.
Now, in an actual group, what we would do is take time to express our thanks with one another. So I’m just going to give you a minute, that’s all I want you to do. I just want you to pray with your neighbor in prayer and just pray what you have on your sheet. “Thank You, God, for. . .”
Oh, Father, my prayer for us is that we would be thankful women of God, that we would pray thanksgiving throughout the day. Thank You that I could get out of bed. Thank You that I could brush my teeth. Thank You that I can see. Thank You . . . there’s so much to be thankful for, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Okay, our first step is (someone in the audience responds, “Praise.”) Oh, she’s hot on the whatever. The second step? (Audience responds, “Confession.”) Third step? (Audience responds, “Thanksgiving”) And the fourth step is prayers of intercession.
Now, I want to give you a little definition of intercession. Intercession always, always, always, always means praying for somebody else. Supplication means praying for yourself, too, and God wants us to have our own petitions and pray for ourself. But this is going to be an intercession time where we are going to be praying for somebody else.
Marlae is going to put up on the screen the four little people I prayed for, my children, and, oh my goodness. If I could tell you . . . I am so thankful God put Moms In Touch in my life because thousands of moms have prayed for my children for 25 years. We’re starting our 25th year, well, I’m now in Grandmas In Touch. You see that one kneeling to the right?
I tell you, he loved girls, and girls loved him. We’re praying, “Oh, Lord—especially in high school—Lord, that they will date godly little girls, because You say, ‘Don’t be unequally yoked.’” We prayed for their mate. I prayed for their mate from birth, maybe even in the womb for a couple of them when I got on to how wonderful a prayer that is.
Bless his little heart, he would bring this sweetie home—cutest little thing you ever saw, but she didn’t love Jesus. So I figured, “Okay, I’ve prayed this prayer. She’s supposed to be coming to my door, so I would love her. I’d give her a hug. I’d feed her dinner, and I’d pray her out.” (laughter) She had the salvation prayers on her. Hopefully, I’ll see her in heaven.
So he brings another little gal home. Well, there we are again. She doesn’t love Jesus, so I love her; I feed her dinner, pray her out . . . seven girls in one year. I had my moms praying with me, too, until finally God brought to him a wonderful little gal who loves Jesus, Patti. It’s like I birthed her myself. You know what the song was they chose for the recessional? “The Hallelujah Chorus.” (laughter)
Prayer works. These precious, precious children all have spouses that love Jesus. They all go to church. They all pray at dinners. They pray with their children at bedtime. A legacy is very important. Start now if you haven’t started. It will work. It doesn’t matter the time. If you didn’t know, you didn’t know.
So now the legacy continues on to the next slide. There we are. I tell you, we are just a growing little group. We have eight grandchildren, eight years old and under. So, to pray for each one of them by name every day, to think about when Mommy and Daddy have date night of how I’m going to bring . . . I have a box in my living room, and that’s the boat. That’s the boat that was rocking in the wind and the waves, and here comes Jesus. The little grandson in the boat says, “A ghost!” And Jesus said, “It is I. Come walk to me, Peter, on the water.” So he gets out of the boat.
I mean, you guys, you all have creative thoughts, too. That’s all you need, a boat—I mean a box. And, women, the best thing is when we take the Word of God, God’s very words, His will, when we pray His Word, we pray His will, so we know we can pray with confidence. I have prayed thousands of Scriptures for my children and now my grandchildren.
The powerful Word of God will not return void. It’s like a hammer. Remember in Jeremiah where it talks about the hammer that smashes all the things that we don’t want in their lives? It breaks big boulders to pieces, the impossibilities, the obstacles. The Word smashes the enemy’s attack. I cry, and I have cried over every one of my grandchildren, “Satan, you cannot have my grandchildren. You cannot have Makayla and Nathan,” and I go down the list. “They belong to Jesus. Oh, God, draw them to Your heart. Help their mommy and daddy to know how to live out the legacy that they need to pass on to them so that Jesus is real to them, and they’ll want to choose Jesus over anything else, that they’ll want to please Jesus.” Oh my goodness, I could go on and on and on.
We have got to fight for their very souls, and just because they’re little teensy people, oh, things are formulating. Little Nathan, on one side he’s a little angel. Oh, he’s just a little precious . . . you just want to give him kisses. Then, one little thing happens . . . grrrrrrr. (laughter) And my daughter, she’s pulling her hair out. “Mom, he’s had to go to time-out so many times today I don’t know what to do.” I said, “Honey, let’s pray. I don’t know what to do either.” Prayer—God knows what to do. God can give wisdom, and God did give her wisdom.
So, women, you know what we’re going to do right now? This is so exciting. Look at your prayer journal and see where it says intercession. First I thought it would be so sweet to just pray for each other. Here’s the verse: “Come unto Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Okay. What’s your obstacle? What’s your deal? What’s the thing that just keeps you down? What’s the thing over you that’s like a cloud? What is something that you would just love to have your sister pray for you about?
We talked about the mat. So what you’re going to do is you’re going to place the concern on the mat, and your friend is going to pray for you. This is all we have time for. Oh, we could have a good prayer time if we just had a few hours. We’d go through every single one of those Scriptures that’s on the back of that little sheet.
So that’s all you have to do, and you don’t have to give any details either. You just say, “My marriage.” And then let the Holy Spirit pray through the other person that you are with to pray for you that God would lift that burden, that God would heal, that God would . . . however the Spirit leads. Or you could say, “My health.” Or maybe, “My finances,” or “My husband’s salvation.” Do you see what I’m saying?
This is a good time, women, in agreement prayer to get somebody to pray for that burden to be lifted from you. It says in James that when we share one another’s burden in prayer, you can be healed.
Heavenly Father, You are a God who hears and that precious woman who didn’t get her concern on the mat, Lord, I just bring it before You. You know what it is, and I ask that You would lift her burden. May she know that when she comes to You, Lord, that You will give her rest. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Now I’m going to ask you to take a grandchild—we already prayed for salvation this morning, so what we’re going to pray now is, if you’ll get out your little Scripture sheet, I want you to go to the fourth Scripture down. Choose a grandchild or a child, no matter how old they are. They can be little or adult. And this is the prayer that I want you to pray for them: “Oh, Lord, may Ty walk before You faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and do what is good in Your eyes.”
That’s all I’m going to have you do. We don’t have time to agree in prayer and do a lot of conversational praying right now. So all I’m asking you to do is to pray that prayer out loud with your partner, and then if she would just say, “In Jesus’ name, amen.” Then she will put the name that she wants to put in that Scripture. This is God’s will.
Father, thank You for Your Word. It is powerful. We can pray according to Your Word and with great confidence knowing that You’ve heard these prayers and will answer. This is one of my most favorite verses to pray for my children and grandchildren. Thank You for this legacy to immediately cry out on behalf of our children and grandchildren in a spontaneous way, lifting them up before You, in Jesus’ name, amen.
So, like when Tricia told me about little Nathan on the phone, I said, “Honey, let’s pray.” Whenever there’s a situation that one of my children tell me about, I immediately pray. Or, like little Jack with the sliver. Pray, pray, pray. I’m praying for Jack. I’m praying for Tricia. Yes, I pray for myself, too, but what I love about God’s Word is the fact that I know I’m praying according to His heart and His will, and that gives me great confidence. And women, I do pray that you will know that your prayers matter.
We only have about ten more minutes, so I have asked my dear friend Marlae, who’s been in the Moms In Touch ministry for 19 years, I asked her, “Marlae, would you just choose one of those attributes and how meaningful it was to you and just what a legacy the means to you.” So I want you to meet Marlae, my dear friend, and prayer partner over the miles. She lives in Michigan, and I live near San Diego.
Marlae: Hi, ladies. Thank you, Fern, for such great reminders of legacy. I just want to share real briefly, thinking of legacy, and one of the steps of prayer especially. It was 19 years ago that I first attended a Moms In Touch retreat, not being involved in the ministry. My sister invited me. That weekend I was so struck. Over and over I saw women there who believed and had confidence that God heard their prayers more than I felt I did. I left that weekend saying, “God, I want to become a praying mom. Help me to become more confident. I want to be known, I want my kids and my grandkids someday to say, ‘Mom,’ and then think of prayer.”
So God put the vision on my heart. I went back, and I helped start a Moms In Touch group for our elementary school. At that time, my girls were eight and six, and my baby was two. I began going every week to pray with that group of women. What struck me, as I think back to that time, 19 years ago, is how God began changing my heart, especially through praise, because every week when I went to the Moms In Touch group, we always start the hour with praise, like Fern led us to.
So every single week I was going, and I was hearing an attribute of God, and we were praising Him, “You are faithful, and You are true, and You are my sustainer.” I was hearing all of the names, and God was growing in my heart a confidence. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I began to see that instead of being anxious as quickly, I’d start running to Him instead because He’s the sure deal.
What I didn’t know was that He was also shirring up in my heart that confidence because that little eight-year-old, my oldest daughter that I started that group for, when she got in her high school years, God knew I was going to need that desperately. We went through a very tough time with her, and she went down a prodigal road. I went to that Moms In Touch group every week, and that was my lifeline. It was my lifeline because I knew, first of all, I was going to be reminded of who my God was, and I so desperately needed that.
The other thing that happens when you gather with other women is they strengthen you. They prayed for my daughter. They loved my daughter through prayer when I couldn’t always. I’d go back home, and I’d say, “I’m ready to fight the battle again.” No, I didn’t see the answers right around always—well, actually, it was quite a while, but I kept saying, “God, I’m going to believe that You who started a good work in my daughter will complete it.”
Fast forward to two days ago—this is the legacy. I got a phone call from my little granddaughter Makayla, that is the gift that was born out of a bad choice when my daughter was 18 and not married. My little Makayla is now eight years old. Oh my goodness, she looks exactly like my daughter, and my little Makayla called me on the phone just two days ago and said, “Grandma, I need to tell you something.” I said, “What, honey?” She goes, “Grandma, I cheated today in school.” I said, “Honey, what happened?”
This had happened before, and I had taken the opportunity to pray with her and talk about how Jesus could help her. I said, “Honey, what happened?” She’s telling me, and I said, “Makayla, let’s pray.” I could pray with my little eight-year-old Makayla, and I could tell her about praying to Jesus in her heart when she had that thought of looking at somebody else’s paper.
Then I had the awesome opportunity to say, “Makayla, I want you to pray with Grandma, and I want you to tell Jesus that you’re sorry.” And in this tiny voice, “Dear Jesus, I’m sorry.” Oh my goodness. I was crying. “Jesus, please help me not to do it again.” I had the awesome opportunity to say, “Honey, you just told Jesus you were sorry. He’s already forgiven it.” So I prayed with her, and Makayla knows that Grandma prays for her every single day.
That’s the legacy, ladies, that we have the opportunity to pass down. So I just encourage you today, if you’re sitting here today, and you are feeling all alone, please don’t stay in that place. We can’t do it by ourselves. I don’t know what I would have done. I go to a college Moms In Touch group on Mondays during the first hour, and the second hour we stay—we’re in a Grandmas In Touch. I’m telling you, we storm heaven. I don’t know what I would have done all those years. We’ll pray until eternity together.
So, women, find a group of women to pray with. Moms In Touch has groups all over the country. Actually, we’re in 142 countries. So I just beg of you to find one other mom and begin to get together and pray for your children in the school they attend. They desperately, desperately need it. And if you’re not praying for your child, who is? Who is?
Fern is going to finish for us.
Fern: Just a couple more thoughts for you as you leave. Marlae is going to show us another slide. Read that and ponder. Prayer is powerful. What’s the Lord’s Prayer say? Pray that my will will be done on earth just as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). God wants us to pray. He wants His Bride to pray. He wants us to know that our prayers truly matter.
So in closing, I want to just give a little quote, and then I want to bless you. Thank you again for coming to this workshop. I just pray all the time that God pours out a spirit of prayer upon His body. We need each other to stir each other, to remind one another how important prayer is and that we must pray.
A familiar quote from E. M. Bounds bears repeating: “Our prayers are deathless, and prayers outlive the lives of those who utter them, outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.”
Women, what a legacy to leave our descendants, prayers that will bring the power and provision of God into the circumstances of earth. The key to saving this next generation are our prayers. Our prayers can touch the next generation and impact future generations.
So I just encourage you to live out these prayers daily as a legacy to pass down to your family. Your life is a legacy, and your prayer life is an investment that will last forever.
Heavenly Father, I pray for these precious, precious women who love You, who desire to follow hard after You. Oh, Holy Spirit, would You continue to stir and ignite their hearts to talk to You, to cry out to You, to intercede on behalf of the generations that so desperately need our prayers?
Father, I pray that You would bless them and keep them close to Your heart, and may Your love so saturate their hearts that they will know that they can never ever swim out of it, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Bless you. Thank you for coming.
Leslie: The message you just heard was presented at Revive Our Hearts’ True Woman ’10 conference in Chattanooga. You can hear any of the messages delivered there and more by visiting www.truewoman.com. There you’ll find even more ways to connect from books and resources for yourself, your friends, or your life group to on-demand multi-media to ongoing conversations you can be a part of.
True Woman ‘10 is a ministry of Revive Our Hearts, helping you become God’s true woman.