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Intercessory Prayer For Four Generations

"For this cause I bow my knees...
that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God." Eph. 3:14, 19

Four generations before this present time (this was written in 1880), a Christian husband and wife agreed to spend one hour of the first Sunday of every month in special prayer for the conversion of their children, one after another, as they should arrive at a sufficient age; and also to plead for spiritual blessing upon their descendants to the remotest generation.

These parents began to do this as soon as their first-born emerged from childhood, entering into a written covenant with each other, with the understanding that each child, when converted, and his or her companion, if married, should also sign and observe the same covenant. It is a good thing if you make a covenant, to have it in writing.

Eleven children came into this Christian home, under the sheltering wings of prayer, two of whom died in early childhood, and nine-seven sons and two daughters-lived to a mature age. Eight of these nine children, with their husbands and wives (for they were all married), ultimately united in ‘the same covenant with their parents. The ninth died in early manhood, but not until he had given evidence that he, too, had become a child of God.

I would like to make a pilgrimage to see this covenant, where God and parents, husbands and wives, had united in covenant together. It would be like the spot where Moses saw the Lord in the burning bush-holy ground.

Six of the sons, having been hopefully converted, became honored officers in the church of Christ, and married eminently Christian wives. The daughters were also converted in early womanhood, married Christian husbands, and trained their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The whole family, sons and daughters, with their husbands and wives, were gathered, by the blessing of a covenant-keeping God, into one common fold. Thus God’s mercies covered two generations.

But these covenant blessings did not cease with the second generation. Forty-two grandchildren lived to years of discretion in the line of these blessed generations. Of these, all but one, or possibly two, have been converted, and most of them have reared Christian families. Five of these grandchildren of the original covenant-makers, and one great-grandchild, became ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Three of the grandchildren and one great-grandchild have been sent out to foreign lands as missionaries to the heathen.

The great-grandchildren of this covenanted family are very numerous, and a large number of them are still young in years. They are so widely scattered that they cannot now be readily traced. The older portion of them hold very respectable, and some of them quite conspicuous and useful, positions in society. How many of this fourth generation are now Christians, cannot be ascertained at this time. But it is not known that a single adult descendant of the original covenanted parents has died without giving comforting evidence of true piety. The aged patriarch who gave me these facts with modest reluctance and deep emotion, is the last survivor of the eleven children of the original pair. What a river of blessing flowing out from a little spring in this Christian family.

I should like to read the record of the blessings that have come from this first covenant of Christian parents with God, when time is ended. There will be family reunions on the other side by and by. What a family reunion that will be! When the original covenanters shall gather together, generation following generation, grandchildren and great grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, till the end of time; when these ministers of the Word, a half-dozen now in the field, shall bring their countless sheaves-great God, what a gathering that will be! That company, the voice of praise rising up from that family altar, the result of the earnestness and faith and persistence of those Christian parents, oh, what a fruitage that will be!

Need I stop to make the application? Enter into covenant with your God. If there is an unsaved parent whose eye perchance may fall upon this page, I had almost said you were in covenant with the devil to transmit curses from generation to generation. Burn the covenant with the devil, and enter into covenant with God; write it down aud live it out. “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”

From Hastings' Ebenezers, Or Records of Prevailing Prayer