Last September my mother passed away. She was our queen and we literally placed a crown on her head as she lay in her casket. She meant the world to us, and we sent her “home” in grand style with a celebration fit for royalty. Mama was the glue that kept the family together. Not only did she model grace and beauty, she also taught us the power of prayer. We rarely prayed together as a family, but I often heard her pray for so many people when I happened to pass her room any time of the day. I remember my pastor say that God had called her to build something through prayer. I never quite knew what that meant, but I imagined He had given her a great assignment which affected many lives.
As I think about her today, an old hymn is playing in my head: “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” sung by numerous individuals like Randy Travis, Aaron Neville and Johnny Cash, as well as groups like the Staple Singers and Dolly Parton and Friends. I’m not sure what all of these fine singers had in mind, but an earlier version by the Carter family describes an intimate picture of a hearse coming to take the singers’ mother away to a gravesite. One of the singers is deeply affected by the loss of his mother. Knowing she is with the Lord gives him great comfort and challenges the family members to pursue a relationship with the Lord in hopes of seeing her again.
When I think of this song, I think of the power of a legacy of prayer. Is there anyone willing to pick up the mantle of prayer and fight for their family members? When the prophet Nehemiah, cup bearer to the king of Persia, was allowed to return to Jerusalem and oversee the rebuilding of the wall around the city, he understood the importance of strategically placing armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. He said, “I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows. Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes ( Neh. 4:13 – 14, NLT}.”
My mother understood her call. She was anointed and appointed to pick up the mantle given to my grandmother, another praying woman. And as my four children and their spouses, and I, led by my son-n-law, call our family’s prayer line on Thursday evenings, I rejoice that the legacy of prayer continues. We have experienced God’s faithfulness manifested through restored relationships, sustained health of my husband and other physical healings, job transfers, and a host of other answered prayers.
Will the circle be unbroken? Yes, Lord, by your grace through faith in the only True and Living God! The circle will not be broken!