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Answered prayer

By Jim Killebrew

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[March 13, 2014]  As I was getting ready to attend church the other morning, I was struck by so many "little" things around me that made my life easier and provided me with such convenience that provided me much more time than my ancestors had. Just in the matter of grooming, I found myself being thankful for an electric toothbrush, running water, clean towels that were washed in an automatic washer, a comb and brush, and a razor that applied absolutely no pain as it slid smoothly over my face while discarding the stubble growth.

Just thinking back to my own grandfather's childhood in the 1890s, what he needed to do just to get ready to travel to church on Sunday morning, I realized he had nothing of what I have today. If he wanted water, he had to go out to the well and pull it up with a bucket. If he wanted it hot, he had to gather wood or coal, and start a fire to heat the water. The towel he used would have been washed by hand, likely with homemade soap. The temperature in his room would not have been regulated, and he likely would not have had indoor plumbing to even have a bathroom inside.

When my grandfather left the house, he would have gone to the barn, hitched up the horse or mule to the wagon, and driven over rough, dirt roads to get to the church building where people gathered to worship. For me, that Sunday I got into my car, which automatically adjusted to the temperature on which I set the thermostat, and cruised over a perfectly smooth road, with music from the radio coming from the car speakers. I stopped by the local fast-food store to pick up a cup of coffee to drink while I was in Sunday school, and I arrived at the church building in a short time without having been exposed to the outside elements.

When I thought about my grandfather and his family living just a little over 100 years ago, grappling with the daily grind of just feeding themselves, clothing themselves and keeping themselves warm in the winter and cool in the summer, I know that there were many prayers offered up by them and their neighbors in their community just to make things better, perhaps a little easier.

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As I looked around at the modern shower, indoor plumbing, clear glass mirror, razor, hair dryer, clean towels, commercially produced bath gel, soaps, shampoos and conditioners, I was reminded again that my life has been made easier because of the hard work of those who lived before me. It was not only their work, but their prayers that have provided me with a better life. How many times did they pray: "Father, we thank you for the blessings of provision you give us, and help us to make things better for those who follow in our steps."

Many things have gotten better: technology, industry, health, safety, security, housing, transportation, inside environments, working conditions, food production, refrigeration, electricity, communication, clothing production   when you think of it, basically everything! Could it be that we are reaping the results of the answered prayers of our ancestors?

Finally, as I sat in our sanctuary in worship, listening to the preacher open up the Scriptures to us, surrounded by a beautiful building with comfortable furniture and room temperature, I had to think of the generations before me and their steadfastness in praying for me in their future. I wondered how many times have I prayed for things to get better, not for me particularly, but for those who will follow me, those in my future  and not just materialistically, but more important, spiritually.

Two short verses from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Thessalonians' came to mind: "Always rejoice, constantly pray."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-17. And don't forget to pray for your children, and your children's children.


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