Like Saints of Old

God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, please give my children and grandchildren the kind of faith exhibited by men and women of God like Abel, who by faith offered an acceptable sacrifice and was commended as righteous.

Give them faith like that of Enoch, who walked with you and pleased you. Let them fully believe in you, and know you as a rewarder of them who diligently seek you.

Grant them faith like that of Noah, who obeyed your word and built the ark, even before there was any sign of rain in the sky.

Let them trust you like Abraham did, who obeyed you and stepped out in faith without even knowing where you were leading him; let them, like him, look for a city with firm foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Let them be as sold out to you as Abraham was when he offered up Isaac. Give them the ability to believe in your promises even—especially!—when it would take a miracle.

Give them the faith of Jacob, who blessed the sons of Joseph and worshipped you with his last ounce of strength, and of Joseph who believed you would deliver your people even when he knew his eyes would not see it.

Grant them Moses’ kind of faith, who chose suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin; let my children esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt.

Give my children and grandchildren the kind of faith that sent the walls of Jericho crashing down, that delivered Rahab from destruction, that empowered and sustained Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephtha, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, achieved righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched flames of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, in spite of fear were brave in battle, and though outnumbered put whole armies to flight.

Let faith in you make them like godly women who received their loved ones back from the dead. Make them like those who stood strong even when they were tortured, refusing release because they believed in resurrection to a better life. Make them like those who endured jeers and flogging, chains and imprisonment. Give them the unshakeable faith of those who were stoned, sawn in two, beheaded, exiled—who became destitute, afflicted, persecuted—of whom the world was not worthy. Give them a faith so strong that even though they may wander in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth, they will nonetheless believe your Word and persevere until the day when you make them perfect, together with all the saints and heroes of the faith, in Jesus’ name, amen.

(based on Hebrews 11:1-40; the art piece, "Moses and the Burning Bush," is one of eleven panels by sculptor Alice Proctor, on display at Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, GA)

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