The Legacy of Prayer: A Short Story

One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
~ Psalm 145:4, NKJV ~

A long time ago, a little boy and his daddy went to the family pier to fish. It was their time together, away from mama and the noisy, but loving sisters. Just the two of them, the dad telling his son stories about when he was growing up, going fishing with his daddy, and the war that changed their lives forever.

Those two were inseparable—dad and son—fishing every morning for their breakfast, the elder passing on to the younger the truth and wisdom gained from his daddy and the book of life. The dad would look at his son and always ask God to help his son grow up like His Son, “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

But then, all too soon, a new war started; it was bigger and the worst the world had ever experienced. The boy’s daddy knew that the time would come when he would announce that he would join in the fight for freedom, so he prayed fervently for God’s hand to be upon his only son.

They went fishing one last time on a fine summer’s morning. The dad was sober in thought at what his son was going to see, praying for his mind and heart to endure and bear the things he would experience. The son was jubilant at the surprise he had in store for his daddy, and at the thought that he was following in his daddy’s footsteps in serving his country.

When they arrived at the pier, there it was, a brand new chair, bolted to the pier. “I had it ‘specially made for you, Daddy! Ain’t she grand! I bolted it to the pier so that come rain or wind, it wouldn’t fall over and you wouldn’t have to worry ‘bout it, or you, falling into the lake! And behind here, is the cover; all you gotta do is bring it over and tuck it under here!”

The dad gazed at his son with eyes that were misting over with love, “Mighty thoughtful of you, Son; mighty thoughtful!” God heard impassioned, mighty prayers from the pair that day, as He watched the daddy sitting in his new chair and the son by his feet, his head on his daddy’s knees. And in His love, He blessed them both.

The dad went fishing every day, sitting in his chair praying for his son’s safety and return. He longed to hear his son’s footsteps on the pier and his voice say, “I’m back, Daddy.” God met him there every day. He also comforted and reminded him that He loved his son; that He was his “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

One morning, while sitting in his chair deep in thought and prayer over his son, his pastor walked up to him. He handed him a telegram. “The Navy Department deeply regrets to inform you that your son, James Cameron Williams…was killed in action…” He felt the familiar tightness in his chest and pain in his left hand. He looked up at his friend, then turned his face heavenward and cried out to his God.

The son eventually came home, after he and his crew mates were rescued from an island in the South Pacific. With great effort and trembling, he walked up to the pier and saw the chair. He removed the cover and sat in it. His eyes scanned the horizon and he prayed. A warm breeze touched his face, the water twinkled with the sunlight, and as it lapped against the pier, it seemed to say, “I’m here for you, Son; I’m here for you.” Tears fell from his eyes; he covered his face with his hands and cried to the God of his father to help him live his life in honor of the best man he’d ever known—his daddy.

The son got married and had not one, but three sons. Each morning, they’d walk out to the pier to go fishing for their breakfast. Each son had a turn in uncovering the chair and sitting in it, while the others sat on the edge of the pier. Their daddy told them stories of his daddy and granddaddy. In between he’d pray for his sons, just like his daddy did for him, “Lord, help my sons to grow ‘in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.'”

Afterwards, the son that sat in the chair would cover it up; his daddy would touch it and say, “Until tomorrow, daddy.” There wasn’t a day that went by without one of the sons saying, “I wish granddaddy was here.” And their daddy would say, “He is, son; he is.”

The chair stands to this day, a testament to the love between a father and son, and the enduring legacy of how one generation affects the next through their prayers.

Salton Sea Pier and Chair, by David Gregg © 2019.

*”The characters in this story are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.”

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