Beauty for Ashes

Thursday, February 21, 2019

"...and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

I want to tell you the story of a prayer request. The prayer request started with my late grandmother, Lady Rocha. She got married when she was young to my grandfather. My grandmother, a Christian, started praying for the salvation of her husband, my late grandfather Sebastiao Rocha. My grandparents, had four kids, one who passed away at an early age. Through the ups and many downs of life, my grandmother kept praying for my grandfather's salvation. 

The prayer request was passed on from my grandmother to her three children, one being my mother Sueli. This prayer request was such a pervasive part of our spiritual walk that I do not remember a day when we didn't pray for my grandfather's salvation. I bet my mother was praying that prayer when I was in her womb. I can't remember when I first heard that prayer request because it was always there.

When I was in high school, my grandfather got sick. He had to stop working. We kept praying for his salvation still. I will be honest and say that we didn't stop to wonder if God was hearing this prayer request that started with my grandmother years ago. We knew too much about God's power to doubt Him. The same God healed my grandmother of cancer when I was a young child. We were not about to abandon the foundation of our entire life. We pressed on believing God for my grandfather's salvation. 

The day my grandfather was glorious. I was far away from my family, going to college here in the U.S. My grandfather surrendered his life to Jesus one Sunday night, a year or so before he died. 

I like the image Isaiah paints in verse 3 of chapter 63. God gives us beauty for ashes. He doesn't tell us how long we'll live with the ashes. One thing is for sure: there is beauty coming. 

If you knew that God would be faithful (and He is!) would you pray the same prayer request for 50 years? Would ask the same thing so much that your children and grandchildren pick up on the thing you are asking for? Would you commit to praying in public so your children and grandchildren can learn how to pray? Would you commit to praying without ceasing because the Bible tells us to do so? 

My late grandmother's testimony always encourages me and I hope it encourages you too. Pray without ceasing. Don't be a secret prayer agent for Jesus: pray in public so your family will learn from you. More importantly, remember that God is amazing in giving us beauty for ashes. 
LifenotesEncouragement said...

This was beautiful and timely. Wondered in pray today about an outcome. But I also like how this request was public from generation to generation and frequent.