The print has melted through the pages; its hinges are rusty; and the leather spleen is cracked; yet its story stands strong through four generations, about 160 years.

My husband, Jay, is the product of six broken, alcoholic, abusive homes and his own drug abuse.  But rising tall above all of it is the day He met Christ as Savior and was born anew.   With a fire burning in his soul, Jay began to preach anywhere and everywhere, traveling the nation to tell his story of finding hope in Christ.    Almost 15 years later, he and his estranged father Jim met again, each having overcome their own demons.  One sought forgiveness, the other understanding.   I watched from afar as Jay asked, “Why didn’t you come for me?  I begged you to save me!”  The pitiful answer came in a hoarse whisper, “I was probably just too drunk.  I’m sorry.”  It wasn’t much of a start, but then Jim leaned in and said, “I have been saving this to give you.”   He handed over a small antique book, so broken and worn that it made no sense until his dad said, “It was your Great-Grandaddy’s Bible.  He was a circuit-riding Methodist preacher.”    Jay’s hands began to quiver as he heard that message and the wonder of it has not yet been released from us.

Mark Batterson has written that “our prayers never die,” and this is one more story that backs the statement up.   Both Jay’s grandfather and father were alcoholics; Jay was a drinker and a drug addict; but the prayers of his great-grandfather kept breathing against the odds.   When we first moved back to Orlando 18 years ago, a man walked up to us in the sanctuary of First Baptist and said, “My wife and I prayed with your grandparents and they received Christ.”  We had never known.   Jay had the privilege of taking his dad through the sinner’s prayer and praying with him the night before his death.  And, of course, I already told you about Jay’s salvation.   Three men, three generations who seemed hopeless; who tried to outrun a great-grandaddy’s prayers but could not.

Get Donna Gaines’ new book Leaving Ordinary: Encounter with God 

Tonight as I got ready for bed, I fell to my knees to search for a phone cord.  A gentle, peaceful feeling came over me, reminding me that this is exactly where I should be, and I lay prostrate across the floor, asking the Lord to give life to my prayers, just as he did for Great-Grandaddy. Will you choose to believe with me that He is working to answer your prayers; that your earnest plea is captured in His heart; that He will bring that thing to pass.   “Whatever may be our experience of failure and barren-ness, Jesus is never defeated.”       Roy Hession