Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. - James 5:16
One night when I was about seven or eight years old, I was sleeping in my bed when I was awakened by my dad, who was praying over me, weeping as he prayed with passion over his son. I was facing the other way, so he didn't know I was awake, and I never told him that I was aware of his praying over me that night.
But I also never forgot what happened that evening, and the assurance I felt knowing my father was probably doing this on a regular basis. It had such a big impact on me, that when I was graduating from college many years later, I bought him a framed copy of the picture you see here, of a father praying over his son. You can also see on the other side of the window, an angel is fighting against a dark figure trying to get into the room.
When I presented the framed picture to him, I told him about the night many years ago when I had been awakened by his praying over me. He didn't know I was awake, and didn't remember that particular night since he did the same thing so often. I shared with him that this picture represents perfectly my memory of that night, and that I was thankful to have a father who was faithful in praying for his children. We both wept in front of the large group of relatives who had traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to see me graduate, and it was a wonderful bookend to that season of our lives.
As I reflect on that event today, I wonder what my dad's prayers did for me as I grew up. Did they prevent me from making bad choices when confronted with temptations in high school or college? Was God honoring his faithful prayers when I changed my mind and went out with friends one Thursday night, only to meet my future wife at the place we visited? What present and future parts of my life's journey will be impacted by the prayers of my father, mother, grandparents, and others who have prayed for me over the years, maybe even before I was born?
And now that I have children of my own, I make it a point to regularly visit their bedside while they are asleep, asking God for favor over their lives, for the love of God to fill their hearts with passion for Him, and for them to be the "head and not the tail, above and not beneath." Maybe they'll wake up one night and know their father is praying over them, or maybe they will never know. But the "prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective", so I know I am making an impact on their lives and continuing the legacy of my father's faithfulness in prayer.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. - 1 John 5:14-15