To be a father of nations

We talk a lot about legacy at my house. Not so much the financial concept of legacy, but the handing down of a strong Christian belief to the next generation.

For years, my mental concept of legacy was limited to my children and their children. Perhaps I will live to see a third generation, but it’s often hard to fathom past one’s grandchildren and the effect they might have on the world.

To be a father of nations

But a story about Christian author Os Guinness made me rethink the fallacy of so shallow a view of that word “legacy.” In his book The Call, he tells of his great-great grandmother, who, in a time of great despair, considered ending her life. In the distance, she sees a young man plowing straight ahead regardless of how much work was before him. She reconsiders her death, and eventually begins praying for her descendants through a dozen generations.

This story struck me hard. It seemed daring to believe that somehow God’s use of me could extend to a generation where to them I will only be a name in a family tree, if I’m even that.

Still, I began to pray differently, extending my reach so that, perhaps, God would hear my prayers for a family member I would never meet. “Let them fulfill their purpose, Lord, as you’ve designed.”

This prayer change has allowed me to see my family in a much different way, and my legacy prayer continues to grow. In many ways, I suddenly feel like Abraham standing before the Lord and being told that somehow I am like that father of nations.

Abraham must’ve prayed daily for the great family he was promised but never saw. Through Abraham, God birthed not only His people but the continued plan of His salvation for all.

Now, I see myself standing in Heaven one day gathered with my descendants, and I realize that I do not want to miss being with a single family member there. My legacy prayer has become, “Oh, Lord, make me a father of nations, and redeem my people so that none are lost. Let each of them stand with me in Your presence.”

It’s a bold prayer, I know, but we serve a bold God. You can never ask for too much—especially when you’re leaving behind a legacy.