Prayer and My Earliest Memory

One morning in 1959, I awakened, rolled out of my bed, and toddled over to a crib nearby. I peered in at a baby, my little brother Mark. That’s my earliest memory. Mark and I have shared many memories since. We posed for a picture with our parents in 1963 (That’s Mark with the Band-Aid.). We played on baseball teams and acted in junior high plays together. We made beautiful harmony as we sang together while cleaning a church building together somewhere around 1970 and sang hymns together with our mother for hundreds of miles on long family trips. He was in the car with me when I had my first accident as a driver. One year, he was best boy camper, and I was best boy Bible student at a Christian camp. When we were a few years older, he saved me from drowning when a crowd of enthusiastic young campers jumped on this counselor and poor swimmer after throwing me in the camp’s pool. I, with his mother-in-law, was one of the two extended family members present when his first child was born. He counseled my middle child when my son was a having difficult moment as a young adult. We were in each other’s weddings. We cheered for and commiserated with our youngest brother. We stood together by each of our parents when they were in their final days. Mark grew to be several inches taller than me, but all my memories begin with looking down at that baby in the crib.

Memories surge through and inform our prayers. The prayers of our parents and grandparents, prayers we heard at church, sermons and Bible classes about prayers, prayers in the Bible, memories of answered prayers and frustrated prayers serve as the foundation to each of our prayers now. Many of the phrases and words that we choose for our prayers, and our concept of the God to whom we pray, draw from those memories. We may even ask God to remember when we pray, a concept I wrote about back in 2015 in this post about Psalm 74.

As Paul wrote to the younger Timothy about his prayers, he remembered sadness but anticipated joy in reunion. He remembered also the mother and grandmother who had mentored Timothy in faith. Paul wrote,

“I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

2 Timothy 1:3-5

As we pray, we too remember but also anticipate. Our memories revive pain, suffering, and desperation, but also renew joy, faith, love, and hope. I encourage you to remember what and who have taught you how to pray. Meditate on biblical prayers or teachings about prayer. Remember heroes whom you heard pray and whose words still echo in your own prayers. My earliest memory was the first in a series that began a life-long adventure with a brother, experiences that often occurred in the context of faith in God. But it was grounded in the context of the love and faith of our parents and grandparents, whose prayers still resonate in our hearts today.

  • Quotes from the Bible are from the New International Version.

God who remembers, thank you for making covenant with people of faith. Your promises engender hope as we anticipate and renew love as we remember. The prayers that we have read in the Bible and that we have heard as we worshiped with others resound in our minds when we pray to you today. May you guard, guide, and direct us as you led our predecessors who prayed to you. Thank you for memories, both those that sober or sadden and those that renew hope or make us laugh. Thank you for siblings, both physical and spiritual, who have walked through life with us. I pray in the name of Jesus, amen.


About Michael Summers

Michael Waymon Summers has preached in twenty-seven of the United States as well as seven other countries. Michael earned a Master of Theology degree. He also has done graduate work in international studies. Michael likes to run, loves to sing, and reads voraciously.
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1 Response to Prayer and My Earliest Memory

  1. Pingback: Memorable Gifts and Prayers of Thanks | Call for Fire Seminar

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