Praying into Generations

Do you ever have those seasons where everywhere you go, the Lord is saying the same thing to you. You try a new church, attend a random bible study, or have a conversation with someone in small group and in each of those spaces the same topic is inadvertently brought up. Not only has the Lord confirmed something for you, but he has reaffirmed it several times. I'm in that season currently and for me, the Lord has been reiterating the power of 'praying into generations.'

Something I heard Chris Vallotton say about generations recently, resonated in my Spirit; "Live for a generation that you will never see, that they may receive the inheritance you worked for.'  Later, during my quiet time, I came across a verse in Exodus 20, where I was reminded of God's redemptive love, 'you shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.' The verse before this speaks to the fact that, it's not that others are punished for sins they did not commit but rather sin has consequences not just for you but others. God's forgiveness does not erase the consequences of sin. 

In verse six, which I emboldened, God speaks about his 'loyal love' in relation to those who love him. The way love is presented here, in Hebrew, translates to 'chesed' which doesn't have just one meaning in English but can mean any of the following; steadfast love, lovingkindness, grace and even loyalty. So not only did God love us first, but when you make the choice to love him back, his love is so loyal that it extends into thousands of generations after you. 

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.
— Psalm 100:5

As the Lord continued to teach this concept of His generational faithfulness to me, I began to meditate on its truth. I have seen others impacted by my disobedience, I remember the chaos that was my life when I wasn't aligned with God's will, but what is so dope about God is that I have also seen the impact of my obedience in the lives of others. I have seen my prayers manifest in the lives of those for whom I have interceded. True to His faithfulness, the blessings from my obedience, the impact of the carrying of His presence, alway trumps that of my disobedience time and time again. As I thought about these things, I couldn't help but take this walk that much more seriously, not for my sake but for my future children. 

Then I came across a Christmas card from my Great Grandmother, Juanita Ortiz Wilson. An immigrant and strong-willed survivor of 'Killer Cane' who I remember interacting with only a handful of times before her passing nearly twenty years ago, had given me this beautiful card. On the front, it read in Spanish 'God Bless You.'

Dear Jasmine: This is specially for you, my precious Great-granddaughter, my only one. Love. With the first lights of Christmas, God Bless You. With every carol and every song, God bless you. With a Spirit of love, God bless you. With faith, peace and hope, God bless you.
— Great-grandma's Christmas card

I was immediately taken aback by this card I'd probably overlooked a thousand times. She could have gotten me any Christmas card, a silly one, one that sang, but instead she chose to get me one declaring blessings over me, speaking the Lord's will into my life. And now, twenty years later, I'm still being impacted by her legacy. My mother often speaks of how without Juanita Ortiz, she may not be alive. And if my mother wasn't alive, I would not be either. 'For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born...' My great-grandmother was a living testimony, she taught my mother to put her confidence in God, which my mother then taught me. What is most impactful, for me, about this card is that my younger sister and two brothers hadn't even been born when she gave it to me. 

I can't help but find joy in knowing that this woman was praying for me before I even gave my life to Christ. At the bottom of the card is Psalm 91:11, "For He will give His Angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.' I'm confident that Juanita's intercessory prayers are one of the reasons I am writing this today. She is the epitome and the continuation of God's purpose and love for women, whom He has used to save nations. Through a woman, our Savior was born. 

Today, and always, I honor Juanita Ortiz and the other women in my family who have prayed for me. On this final day of Black History month, I take a moment to remember all of the praying women who came before us, who took the time to sacrifice for and speak life over generations they never saw. May we remember them in every breath we take and every freedom we have been awarded.