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A Long Shelf Life

Priscilla Du Preez

Fun fact: our prayers have a long shelf life. No Biblical story demonstrates this more than the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth. When an angel appeared to Zacharias and told him “your prayer is heard and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son” and Z replies to the angel, “How? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” (See Luke 1:13-18) We realize by his response, Zacharias and Elizabeth hadn’t prayed for a son in many years. They had given up on that dream, but God did not forget!

In Acts 10 a roman military officer, Cornelius, is described as a prayerful, generous, God-fearing man who encountered an angel in a vision. The angel released this amazing revelation: “Your prayers and your generosity have created a memorial before God.” The prayers of this one man were answered miraculously while the disciples witnessed the Holy Spirit move among gentiles in ways they did not conceive as possible. (See Acts 10 for this wonderful story) 

So, dear friend, if our prayers create a memorial before God, meaning they are remembered by God and for a long, long time, what’s on our prayer list? If we could sit out on the back porch with God, what would we talk about? Our loved ones? Our future, direction, and purpose? Would we pray for our family, our school or work, our nation to walk with God in fresh ways? Long after we forget these prayers, God continues to remember them and honor the cry of our heart.

One month before my 40th birthday I gave birth to our son, Samuel Cooper. Every day of my pregnancy I blessed him and prayed for him. And every night (until he stayed up way later than us) we would bless Cooper before he went to bed. We prayed about little concerns of the day like tests coming up or friendships happening, but we also prayed for God’s vision for his life. We blessed him to be a man of integrity and wisdom. We blessed him to love God’s word and to walk in His ways. We prayed all kinds of prayers I can’t even remember but God still has them. You see, prayers I’ve long forgotten are just now coming up on God’s to do list!

Cooper returned home this week from his freshman year at Baylor. Like Samuel in the Bible, it appears that a razor has not touched his head and also like the Biblical Samuel he does not let God’s word fall away from him. Cooper likes to read his Bible with me in the mornings. We sip our coffee and share insights from what we are reading. When he was a chubby little toddler and I prayed he would love God’s word and walk in wisdom, I had no idea how beautifully God would honor that prayer! I could not have imagined the young man he would become or the impact he would have in his world.

Our prayers matter– they are not forgotten! In fact, the throne of God is described in Revelation as being surrounded by twenty-four elders worshipping before the Lamb, “each having golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” (Revelation 5:8) If our prayers are this precious to God, please dear saint, don’t let up, don’t get weary or distracted! Pray the prayers of heaven and watch God do amazing things!

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2 thoughts on “A Long Shelf Life”

  1. Joanne Beasley says:

    So encouraging!

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