Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
~Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
As a child, learning about God and witnessing my family live out their faith was an ordinary part of life. Sixty years ago, it was a different world. But one thing that never changes is God’s Word.
My godly heritage is rooted in the influence of my maternal great-grandparents. Their Kentucky farm was a long three-hours’ drive from Cincinnati. As a child plagued by motion sickness, I always dreaded the last leg of that trip. We might as well have been driving on the back of a curvy snake. When the smooth highway had changed into winding, narrow dirt roads covered in gravel, I peered out the back window to watch our car’s wake boil behind us. I prayed for the interminable swaying to end as the car’s wheels slowly crunched around sharp turns. After what seemed like forever, we rounded a final bend, and the white farmhouse jumped out with its white pillars and airy porch extending welcoming arms.
Pure relief flooded through me as I exited the back seat and inhaled fresh country air, which helped settle my stomach. Halfway to the front entrance, we were greeted by my great-aunt Rosie—a schoolteacher who had never married—followed by my great-grandparents. I felt swallowed up in bear hugs and kisses as they escorted us to the porch to get settled on swings and rocking chairs. Conversation and laughter buzzed all around me. Unconditional love and warm hospitality swirled, anchoring me securely in my family’s love.
…love one another fervently with a pure heart…
~1 Peter 1:22b NKJV
The highlight of welcoming company meant sitting down at Grandma’s dinner table, and I anticipated the usual feast, fresh from their garden and animal stock. Freshly churned butter with homemade jams and honey stood ready for topping hot biscuits and cornbread. Aunt Rosie poured out glasses of cold milk produced from their dairy cows. Platters of fried chicken and bowls of vegetables hot off the stove wafted under our noses. We took our seats and spread napkins on our laps, then bowed our heads as Grandpa offered a long prayer of thanks. After we had passed the food and everyone had piled their plates high, I digested the adult conversation that was as wholesome as the organic food. About midway through the meal, talk would usually turn to questions about God’s Word, and Grandpa would patiently answer from his well of godly wisdom. Those precious seeds of godliness were planted in my soul at an early age.
‘But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.’
~Mark 4:8 NKJV
After dinner, the adults rocked on the front porch to visit and enjoy the sunset. I played with their dog, Pal, or tried to catch one of the wild kittens who lived under the house. As the dusk of evening rose, I chased fireflies that dotted the air with their diamond-brilliance. Sometimes I even caught one and watched its flashing light between my fingers. When I tired of my games, I, too, would rock and listen to Aunt Rosie discuss who-married-whom—eleven children and their descendants spanning three generations were challenging to track. That was how they passed down our family tree’s lineage in those days, albeit orally and memorized.
By the time the trees blended into darkness and the volume of chirping crickets and hooting owls turned high, everyone retreated into the house—but not to retire to bed. My mother always brought a gift of fruits, cheeses, crackers, and candy for sharing late at night. We congregated in the living room in our robes and slippers to share a late night’s snack along with more conversation.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
~Psalm 34:8 NKJV
However, no one said goodnight until after evening prayers. First, Grandpa would read verses from his huge, thick Bible, and the adults would discuss their meaning. Often, they would tell stories of testimonies they had heard, such as missionaries in foreign lands who had experienced miracles. Sometimes Grandpa would tell about his vision where he had witnessed Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus—a vision so real, he insisted it had really happened (Grandma would shake her head to the others and smile).
One fascinating story involved my Aunt Bessie as a child who had seen a vision of Jesus one night when she was walking to the outhouse. Another one—my favorite—was about my mother when she was a little girl and had spent the night with two missionaries staying in a cabin across the road. In the middle of the night, one of my great-aunts happened to look out a front window and saw the roof of the cabin burning with orange-red flames. She screamed and woke up the entire household. The men pulled on their pants and ran to rescue them, only to discover that there had not been a fire at all. People always said that the Shekinah glory of God had manifested on the roof after a long prayer meeting that night.
‘Surely the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire.’
~Deuteronomy 5:24a NKJV
After our discussion we would all kneel, facing our chairs, and each person would take a turn to pray aloud. I especially remember Grandpa praying for all his family—”all of his seed”—and asking God for His salvation and blessings to rest on each one. I would often fall asleep to the lull of those sweet prayers ascending to heaven, sensing the presence of listening angels who gently wafted peace through the house with their feathered wings.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV
The most precious realization of my godly heritage has been experiencing those prayers as my life’s bedrock. Grandpa’s words still ring in my memory, and I know I am walking across long corridors of prayer laid by him and generations of godly family before him. The knowledge of how God has worked in my life through this foundation of prayer underscores the importance of its continuance. I, too, am laying another layer of prayer on top of my forefathers’ as a path for my future generations to trod.Are you praying a godly heritage for your future generations? #VineWords @KarenJurgens200 #AGodlyHeritage Click To Tweet
How important is it to establish godly ancestral roots? Supremely. Regardless of possessing a long line of godly ancestry or being the first generation to establish those roots—pray. Pray for your future generations—for salvation, blessings, and godly lives—so they may add another layer of prayer for their future generations to cross.
Are you praying a godly heritage for your future generations?
Dear Lord, thank you for Your salvation and for generations of godly families. May we also pray a corridor of prayer to bless our future generations. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Copyright 2020: A Godly Heritage: Author Karen Jurgens: All Rights Reserved
Meet our Contributor
Karen Jurgens, a Cincinnati native, is a Texan transplant for thirty-five years and counting. Retired from a teaching career, she writes for the Lord, edits fiction, and speaks on Christian topics.
Karen is a Senior Editor, Bible Study Writer, and devotion writer for VineWords: Devotions and More. She is the Co-Editor and a contributing author for Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
Karen holds a B.S. and M.Ed. in Secondary Education with majors in English and French. She is currently a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
Karen’s first novella, published in an anthology, became the springboard for Desire’s Promise and A Perfect Fit. Blogging led her to Inspired Prompts Blog, then Heart “wings” Ministry where she served as Leader for the Front Porch Bible Study Series. Some of her blog posts are also published in Heart“wings” Devotional, as well as in other ministries and blogs.
Currently, she is revising her Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study for publication. Her work-in-progress is a memoir about her “Judas Experience,” a celebration of God’s supernatural deliverance from the enemy’s kiss of deception.
Passionate about how to find God’s peace through life’s storms, she blogs at Touched by Him, her ministry blog.
Karen loves to cook, entertain, and enjoy life with her two adult daughters and her amazing 98-year-old mother.
CONNECT WITH KAREN JURGENS AT: