“Pray then like this: ”Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13)
One of the highlights of my day occurs at 8:15pm. Each night my wife and I assemble on our knees around our son’s bed to pray as a family. Connor usually begins each prayer the same, “Thank you for our faith, family, friends, and food.” Then he will state the name of every relative on both sides of his family. Lately he has begun venturing out a bit more and has started including his church clothes, water, and baby sister.
Prayer is a primary part of our family structure. Before Susan and I were pregnant with our first child we would petition daily for God’s blessing. After our son was born, we would pray over him almost nightly for the wisdom and discernment needed to become great parents. Even now we are praying for the arrival of our daughter; for her health, disposition, and faith development.
Recently, I was looking through some of my sermon/devotional files on my computer and came across some Scriptures which have impacted me on several different levels. These sections of text has challenged me to begin praying for these spiritual attributes for my children, myself, and to anyone who will listen. They are becoming a part of my daily prayer and I hope they will be part of yours as well.
Notice the psalmists words in Psalm 95:1-5, “Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”
I long for our children to look at the physical creation all around them and come to realize there is a master designer who formed everything they can see, smell, hear, and touch. I pray it will be a factor in awakening a deep desire to personally come to know Him and His will. Isn’t it a great feeling to be able to approach the throne of God and pour out our hearts in praise and adoration unto our great God? It is my desire for all people to come to know God and to give Him the praise He is due.
Notice Paul’s words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:15-17, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.”
We each have a very real problem (Romans 3:23). It is a problem that we could do nothing about. The problem is destructive, devastating, and has eternal consequences (Romans 6:23). What is the problem you ask? The problem is sin. But there is good news. The good news is that God has provided a way of escape. The solution is Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Romans 6:3-6). Once we have been cleansed of our sin through the obedience to the gospel we are free from the condemnation that was before us (Romans 5:6-10).
I can think of no greater reason to rejoice than to celebrate in Christ Jesus for the atonement He paid for all mankind. Once we come to the point of understanding that we are now free from an eternity in Hell, our lives will be a celebration each time we remember what was done on our behalf.
John writes in 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
It is my prayer for my children to be transparent in their relationship with God. I long for them to possess the proper character and to become salt and light in a dark and depressing world (Matthew 5:13-16). The church needs more people to openly confess both verbally and nonverbally that they are a child of God. The world needs to see true Christianity on display through our children and not the lukewarm faith portrayed by far too many within the church (Revelation 3:16).
The 23rd Psalm reads, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
This psalm portrays so many wonderful attributes of our Heavenly Father. Personally, I find peace in knowing that I may find guidance in my walk with God. Satan is doing everything he can to lure people away from the Lord. Far too often, worldly pleasures and its enticements are the guiding force in our lives. One of my greatest fears isn’t failing; but succeeding in things which really don’t matter. I pray my children will come to understand that God’s Word is a light unto their path and will lead them into a life of love, hope, and peace with our Father up above.
We find these words in Psalm 27:1-5, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.”
I must openly admit. When I was told the first time that we were have a son I was nervous. When I was told we were having a daughter I was scared to death. The reason is simple. There are so many hurtful people in the world and I can’t always protect my children from evil. But the one thing I do, is pray for the Lord to protect my children. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” I can think of no greater need as a parent than for our God to help protect our children.
James 4:13-15 proclaims, “Come now, you who say, ”Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”– yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ”If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Even though I became a Christian many years ago, it wasn’t until quite some time later that I came to realize my deep need to submit to the will of God. Submission can be a scary and often difficult thing for a person to do. However; once we learn to submit to His will and to follow His word our lives take on deeper meaning and develop stronger peace within our individual lives.
Paul penned these words in Philippians 4:5-7, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I pray my children will learn to depend on the Lord just like the men and women of faith in times past. I pray they can learn from the wilderness wanderings in the Exodus account and see how the Israelites depended (some of the time) for their physical needs (food, water, clothing). I also pray they will come to heed the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25ff and not live lives filled with anxiety but learn to pray and depend on God for all the things they need.
I pray these Scriptures and thoughts have served as a source of encouragement to you. I want to challenge you to pray for these spiritual attributes to be seen in each of us and especially our children. May God bless you richly.