There is a movement called “pay it forward” that can be found in social media and everyday life. The idea is that you give something – a free meal, a ride, or something of greater value – to someone you may not know. It is similar to random acts of kindness with the beneficiary passing the good deed on to another person.
Although Mom was not the first to “pay it forward,” she certainly did it regularly. I remember many times watching her go out of her way to assist another person. I’m not writing about that today, however altruistic she may have been. Instead I want to list how she “prayed it forward.”
I have recently begun leading a Bible Study on the book of 1 John. It has been a long time since I led a study without following a study book, so I gathered concordances, different Bible translations, and commentaries. As I was gathering books to assist in my study, I came across a Bible study Mom did in 1995. Called “Step By Step Through the New Testament,” it was a study she did from beginning to end. (There was also an Old Testament study she completed.)
In the back of the book is information about the study in her beautiful handwriting. Her dear friend, Anita Roper, led the study. She also listed all those who took the study with her. It made me smile to think of all those folks, most of whom I know and some of whom have already gone to heaven, sitting in fellowship together to study God’s word.
Mom’s mode of study is similar to my college notetaking. Every line must be important or it wouldn’t have been included in the text. She has each word of text underlined with important thoughts rewritten in the margins. Certain text words are underlined in bold, especially as they pertain to the order of things: first, second, third, etc.
At the end of each chapter, there is a prompt for “responding to God’s Word” encouraging personal worship and praise to God. This prayer is focused on “the twin truths of the Lord’s keeping power and our responsibility to glorify Him” from the doxology in Jude 24-25. Here’s her prayer:
Lord, I praise you for who You are. For Your power and majesty, for Your glory, and the fact that You are in control of all things. Take my life and use me, Lord. In Jesus Name.
In other prayers written in her study book, I found words of prayer for her church and its leaders. I found words of blessing and gratefulness for those in the study with her. I found prayers for her children and grandchildren. Those prayers are the ones that caught my attention.
This isn’t the first evidence I have of Mom’s prayers for her family. I have found prayer journals where she mentioned each member of her family by name. She prayed for our current situations and for our futures. Mom “prayed it forward” and blessed our lives more than we’ll ever know.
In my life now, I am aware of the prayers she prayed. She prayed prayers that are still blessing my life and protecting me. Now, it’s time for me to pray it forward.