To anybody else, this photo probably wouldn’t mean anything. It would just be a random image. Of two hands. One brown hand is wrinkled and worn. The other, visibly more youthful. Together, they’re a quick portrait in chronological contrast. Beneath them, an old spiral notebook. Grocery-store quality. A dollar forty-nine, plus tax, on sale. No expensive leather binding or intricately designed, acid-free paper. Just a fourth-grade composition book with wide-ruled, lined sheets and a plastic-coated cover. And yet within these pages are the vast treasures of a living legacy. These two hands—older and younger—belong to a grandmother and her granddaughter. And the journal contains a grandmother’s prayer requests—written out and prayed over during her daily appointment with Jesus. One day, when the subject of prayer came up between them, the younger asked the older why she wrote down her prayers in a notebook like that. There was silence while the answer took shape. Then came this simple response: “So I won’t forget.” Plain. Simple. Poignant. Sister, I am challenging you to record your prayers so that you won’t forget
who the real enemy is
the One in whom your hope lies
what your real needs and dependencies are
and later, the record of how God responds
Your words don’t have to be written in paragraphs or poetic prose. Bullet pointed requests and then brief, follow-up notes of God’s answers to them will work just fine. The intentionality and strategy of your prayer life will heighten if it is recorded on paper. Your prayers are a powerful and key element of your offensive weaponry against a cunning foe who prowls around and watches for your weaknesses, your vulnerable places, for any opportunity to destroy you. Paul the apostle famously said it like this: Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11, NLT) So, we strap on armor that works—armor that is divinely authorized for our success in spiritual warfare: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace. Then we take up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit—the very Word of God. But we don’t stop there because neither does Paul in his description of our spiritual armor in Ephesians 6:18. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (NLT, emphasis added) There it is. The fuel that drives our victory. Prayer. We pray until our hands are worn and wrinkled. We pray until our granddaughters are old enough to understand and learn and copy our example. We pray until they can one day place their hands across ours, gently rubbing our aging skin, and learn about the spiritual legacy that we had the good sense to record in writing for their generation. They will look back on our legacies—imperfect but persistent—and know we stood strong, fought the good fight, and finished a race in which we would not even think about letting the enemy have his way in the lives of those we love. That’s what we do. And I hope it’s what you will begin to do. Like my grandmother did. Yes, those hands belong to my maternal grandmother and me. My name is written in that spiral notebook of hers. She prayed for me since before I was born, asking God to gird and strengthen us, to guide and sustain us. And her persistence and consistency in prayer has changed the trajectory of our family’s life and legacy. I wonder what the record of your prayers and mine will accomplish. Time will tell. So, let’s write it down to ensure that we’ll never forget.