Note: I am grateful that this week's blog features another honored guest writer, one of our BCS alumni. Hope you are encouraged as you read and inspired to keep praying! As we pray this week, perhaps we can use the words from John 17 as the basis for our prayers. Read on to find out why...
Time is running out.
As the clock ticks, the more we lose direct influence over the lives of our children.
I was recently talking with a dad who shared with me how difficult it was when he realized that his son had grown up, grew his own wings, and had flown out of the nest known as home. He was now on his own, responsible for the consequences of his actions.
Will he live out the values he learned at home?
What will happen when he makes the wrong choice?
Was I a good enough parent?
If you are kept up at night asking these questions, this blog is for you. And trust me, you’re not the only one.
Just before Jesus was arrested, he prayed for his children - his disciples and followers. He was facing the reality of physically leaving those he had lived with so closely for three years. I can imagine there was a part of Jesus that wondered, “Will my disciples continue my work, or will they go back to their boats once I’m gone? If I had a little more than three years, maybe I could help Peter be more consistent in his faith or Thomas to stop doubting.”
What is labeled in our Bible as Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17 reveals his hope for his children. What better way to pray for our children than to model our prayers after Jesus’ prayer. Below are 5 things that Jesus prays for his children. These are five things that we can pray for our children as well.
1. Pray that they would know the true God
I’ve never met a real atheist. I thought I did once, but when I asked him why he doesn’t believe in God, he recounted a hurtful story about a specific person and a specific event. It’s not that he didn’t find the Watchmaker or the Teleological arguments convincing, it was that God was wrongly used to manipulate and hurt him. It’s not that he had a problem with the true God, it’s that he had a problem with an inaccurate version of God. Let’s pray that our kids will come to know and experience the true God.
2. Pray that they may be one
The best evangelism tool in the Bible is unity. It is how we treat and care for each other that functions as a microphone to a needy world. A great blessing in my life has been getting to re-know my siblings as adults. When I was a kid, I viewed them as competition for my parents’ attention or the last serving at dinner. My one-ness and unity with my siblings have been a source of daily encouragement and strength. Perhaps a family movie night or a weekend trip can be the most spiritual thing you can do all week. Let’s pray that our kids will be one with each other.
3. Pray that they would have joy
One day when I was in fifth grade at BCS, I came to school wearing sweat pants. For some reason, I thought it was dress-down day, except I was wrong. I broke down in tears because I was the only kid not wearing the normal khakis. Thankfully, at the end of the day, I could go home and be away from the judgmental glares. The same does not happen today. Our kids are growing up in a world where they are being judged, and judging themselves, by the standards set on social media. They can’t escape it. Let’s pray that they will experience joy that can only come from a Heavenly Father.
4. Pray that they would be kept from evil
My greatest fear in life is dropping my baby. I hate even thinking about it. The other day when I turned my back for just a second, she went from sitting up to bonking her head on the floor. I felt like the worst father in the world. Now that she is beginning to crawl, I have come to realize that there are much greater threats in the world than bonking her head. I can’t protect her from every bump and scratch, but I can show her how to react and grow stronger in the face of struggle and trial. Let’s pray that difficulties would not be taken away, but that God would use those difficulties to shape our children into the people He wants them to be.
5. Pray that they would be with Jesus
I have a mentor who prays for hundreds of people each morning. Before you think he is super spiritual, here is what his prayer time looks like. In his mind, he pictures Jesus sitting on His throne. Outside of the throne room are all the people on his prayer list. By hand, he leads each person to the feet of Jesus and says, “This is my Jesus. He will take care of you.” It only takes about a half-hour to get through a few hundred names. I love this way of praying because this is what actually happens when we pray. Our prayer doesn’t change anything, but it’s Jesus who does the changing. If they are with Jesus, no matter where they are or what they are doing, He will take care of them.
These are five things that we can pray for our children taken from John 17. Did I miss any? Do you notice any others? Comment below!
Before you add these things to your to-do list, can I remind you of one thing? These are not just things that we can pray for our children, but realities that are already true of us because we are His children. As a parent, you have access to the true God, you belong to the body of Christ, His fulfilled joy is yours, the evil one can’t touch you, and Jesus is with you.
Don’t try to be a better parent - simply learn to be a child again. He’s praying for you and He’s got you.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for BCS/WCA. My plan is to publish weekly on Wednesdays, Lord willing. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you’d like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published.