Prayer is essential to all mission. William Cameron Townsend, the founder of Wycliffe, was discussing the history of Wycliffe when he said,
“We have advanced on our knees…There’s been a lot of action as a result of our prayers, but it’s been prayer that has solved the problems…It’s been through prayer that God has raised up recruits and supplies and equipment when it seemed hopeless. And all we could do, as it were, was to march around Jericho on our knees—just around Jericho. And then finally, the walls fell and we marched in.”
We stand on the top of an enormous spiritual legacy. Organizationally, Wycliffe’s history is built on spiritual giants who led from their knees. Every Bible translation effort was and is bathed in prayer. During our training in Florida, prayer was the first step of every process we encountered. Those who have gone before us and those who we will work alongside have been and still are committed to advancing only through prayer. This is such a tremendous blessing and encouragement to us.
Last week, I traveled to St. Louis to celebrate the life of my grandfather, Raymond Erkkila, with my family. He was a man dedicated to the Lord and His service. As I sat in the memorial service and listened to five different individuals (family and friends) share about Grandpa’s spiritual impact in their lives, the Lord prompted me to reflect on the spiritual legacy I have received. I was blessed to know all four of my loving, godly grandparents who trained up their children, my parents, in the ways of the Lord. In turn my parents trained up their children to walk with Jesus and to follow Him with surrendered hearts and lives. For generations into the past, we can trace a lineage of faith through our family tree.
I know that each of these people has been praying for me since before I was born. As I matured and reached crucial decision points in my life, they have been on their knees for me. These spiritual forefathers have established a foundation for my life upon which we now stand. I have great respect and an eternal appreciation for their dedication to seek God’s face on our behalf.
As a parents, we now strive to continue this legacy in our children’s lives. Advancing on one’s knees implies a steadfast commitment to spending time in prayer first and foremost. Now, it is our chance to join this challenge.
I am tremendously blessed to have a legacy of faith to follow. Now we as parents and as servants of Jesus Christ echo William Cameron Townsend and generations who have gone before us when we determine to “advance on our knees.”