In addition to demonstrating his miracles, his power, his wisdom, and his compassion, Jesus set one other important example for his followers and friends: he was a man of prayer. Prayer, too often considered a “last resort” by those who live under the weighty delusion of self-sufficiency, is actually the foundation supporting all that Jesus said and did in the world. He prayed constantly, for prayer was live-giving communion with and connection to his “Abba.” Even as the end of his life neared, having done all to love “his own” in practical deeds, Jesus turned to prayer in order to cement his legacy of love for them.
It is fitting on a Mother’s Day weekend to raise up the role of prayer in establishing love’s legacy, for there has never been a loving parent who wouldn’t do all they can for their children. But life in this world has limits, and those who once provided for and protected their children must all too soon watch their charges grow and make their own choices, suffering their own consequences. Even more suddenly, entire generations pass from this world altogether, leaving all the “control” to those who come after. When parents feel powerless to do anything more for their children, it is prayer that breaks through to God.
Prayer connects us to the eternal, to the “otherness” of God. Prayer steadies our unbelief and shores up our faith. The power and the presence of God in our prayers helps purify the love we feel toward others. And intercessory prayer influences the world in which we live, by bringing the full measure of God’s love into the world through the one who prays.
People leave all manner of legacies to their offspring—opportunities, material wealth, and even the genetic material that is passed on—and in our prayers for those we hold dear, we leave love’s legacy and release them into the gracious arms of God.