When George McCluskey married and started a family, he decided to invest one hour a day in prayer, because he wanted his kids to follow Christ.  After a time, he expanded his prayers to include his grand children and great grand children Every day between 11:00 a.m and noon, he prayed for the three generations.

As the years went by, his two daughters committed their lives to Christ and married men who went into full time ministry.  The two couples produced four girls and one boy.  Each of the girls married a minister, and the boy became a pastor.

The first two children born to this generation were boys, upon graduation from high school; the two cousins chose the same college and became roommates.  During their sophomore year, one boy decided to go into the ministry.  The other didn’t.  He undoubtedly felt some pressure to continue the family’s legacy, but he chose instead to pursue his interest in psychology.  

He earned his doctorate and eventually wrote books for parents that became bestsellers.  He started a radio program heard on more than a thousand stations each day.  The man’s name – Dr. James Dobson.

At a 1994 promise keeper’s conference in Denton, Texas, Pastor James Ryle told his story:  When he was two years old his father was sent to prison.  When he was seven, authorities placed him in an orphanage.  At nineteen, he had a car wreck that killed a friend.  He sold drugs to raise money for his legal fee, and the law caught up to him.  He was arrested, charged with felony and sent to prison.

While in prison James accepted Christ, after he served his time, he eventually went into ministry.  Years later he sought his father to reconcile with him.  When they got together, the conversation turned to prison life.  James’ father asked, “Which prison were you in?”  James told him, and his father was taken aback, “I helped build that prison, ‘he said.  He had been a welder who went from place to place building penitentiaries.  Pastor Ryle concluded, “I was in the prison my father built.”

Two families, two stories … we can either build prisons for our children or through prayer build fruitful lives that bless others.  The bottom lines are the same:  Success or failure, life or death, fruitfulness or barrenness, bondage or freedom – results that are largely determined by the influence of righteous or unrighteous parents.  Never underestimate the power of a righteous praying parent!

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