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Influencing Others Beyond Your Lifetime

 

As you open your hearts to the Lord today, ponder the question—“What do you want me to trust you for today, Lord?” Always be open to the prayer concerns that He may choose to put on your heart. You may even this day set things in motion through your prayers that will last far beyond your lifetime.

Let me encourage you to read or reread the story about George McCluskey on pages 121-122 of my book A Journey to Victorious Praying. It is a wonderful story about how an “unknown” man influenced four generations through his prayers. Permit me the privilege of also sharing another story with you that I heard from Gil Beers. He writes the following:

Some would call her a nobody, an ordinary woman, “justa housewife” in small-town Iowa. Her husband Georg was pastor of a struggling little church. While Catherine was pregnant with her fourth child, Georg became desperately ill. Hoping to find a cure, he retreated to a small town in California and there he died, far from his wife and children.

Katherine, Grandma Rudy, was penniless and those were days even less kind to widows with four small children than today. She was forced to move in with her brother and his family and raise her four children under his roof. She could curse God for her fate, scream at the world for dealing her such a wretched blow, or fall back on the Christian heritage that was hers.

In her nothingness, Grandma Rudy made it the mission of her life to pray for her four children and for her unborn grandchildren. It was my privilege to know her four children as adults, one my lovely mother-in-law. To walk in to their presence was to sense the borrowed fragrance of the Rose of Sharon, the borrowed glow of the Bright and Morning Star.

Grandma Rudy left seventeen grandchildren, all Christians with Christian mates, all of whom raised their children for the Lord. There is a strong stream of ministry and missions in this generation—Francis and Clifford Leonard (43 years in Japan); Pearl and Bill Allen (10 years as medical missionaries in Congo); Jim and Ginny Masterson (business, along with many years working with Gideons); Joyce and David Detert (business—Dave is currently International Chairman of World Evangelical Fellowship); Rudy Felten (business, along with operating a Christian book store); Ray Felten (for many years with Radio Bible Class and a Christian singer); and Arlie and I have spent 40+ years in Christian writing and publishing. There are 50+ great-grandchildren, to my knowledge all Christians. Again, a strong lineage of Christian ministry and missions, such as Larry and Jan Allen (20 years with Wycliffe in the Philippines); Carolyn and Mark Kinzer (10 years with AIM in Kenya), David and Marie Masterson (David was a pastor, now a seminary dean); Bob and Priscilla Masterson (Bob was most recently with Boston Rescue Mission); Tim and Jane Allen (music pastor); Kevin and Jan Engel (missions & outreach pastor—Kevin was formerly Associate Director of Christian Service Council at Wheaton College); Ron and Becki Beers (Christian publishing at Tyndale); Brad and Kathy Cathey (Kathy teaches Kindermusik at Wheaton College); Sam and Linda Felten (Missions in Many Lands, Ecuador). Christie Allen, the oldest of Grandma Rudy’s fourth generation, is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and plans to be a missionary. Many are on school or church boards. Now 25 of Grandma Rudy’s descendants and their mates are Wheatonites.

Several years ago, twelve of Grandma Rudy’s grandchildren and their mates met together and entered into a covenant to pray for one another and their children and grandchildren (exactly 100 of us now) regularly. We developed a certificate with our covenant, suitable for framing, signed by the twelve. Each of the children and their families was presented with a copy. The prayer prints continue. Grandma Rudy would be pleased.

In her nothingness, this “little old nobody,” a penniless widow with nothing to offer, has left powerful prayer prints on four generations and counting. In her time of crisis, she made her choice, “For me and my family. . .we will serve the Lord.”