My glazed expression and tousled appearance were telltale proof I was suffering from "family disconnect." With my husband deployed and the rest of my family living thousands of miles away, I lacked assistance and support as I cared for my newborn and busy toddler.
Nighttime feedings, a flooded family room and a broken bedroom window were all my responsibility. I wondered, How can I keep running this marathon alone? In answer to my question, God provided support and strength through the power of another's prayers.
My grandmother, who had raised four children of her own, began calling and writing me weekly. "Been there, done that," she'd say with a laugh when I shared my latest solo-parenting challenge. Every conversation and letter ended with her encouraging words, "I'm praying for you."
Knowing my grandmother was supporting me in prayer made all the difference. Despite the miles between us, her constant prayers drew us closer and gave me assurance that I wasn't alone.
Through her example, I discovered the power of prayer to strengthen family connections. Some extended families are separated by geography; others drift apart in the busyness of everyday life. But family members can bridge the distance by simply praying for one another. Regular lunch dates and lengthy conversations might be uncommon, but care and concern are easily conveyed through prayer.
A number of years ago, a friend gave me a handmade prayer journal. It consisted of a small three-ring binder filled with notebook paper and had cardstock inserts labeled with names of my family members. An invaluable resource, this simple journal continues to provide a way to bless those I love — both near and far. I easily make note of any needs within the family, pray for people specifically and take pleasure in checking off answered prayers.
After seeing the journal's significance in my life, many of my extended family members have started their own prayer journals. Through time spent on our knees, relationships have been enriched, and like Grandma, we can now end our conversations with the words, "I'm praying for you."