A Parent's Prayer
In Mark 9:24, we find the famous cry of the man who came to Jesus for healing for his son, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” It is the cry of a desperate parent. After years of caring for his demon-possessed child and having his hope deferred by the disciples failed attempt to drive it out, the father begged Jesus, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us!” Turning this insult into an opportunity to build the faith of this father and followers, the Lord commanded him to believe and then healed the boy. When the disciples asked why they could not drive out the demon, Jesus answered, “This kind only comes out by prayer and fasting.”
The longing of every Christian parent is to see their child healed of his or her sin by Christ and increase in the knowledge of God. There is planting and watering for us to do, but God must provide the life and growth. He bids us to come to Him and ask that our children would fear the Lord. Here is one such prayer I have prayed for my own children:
"Our God and King, worthy are you to receive glory and honor and to be praised for your unsearchable greatness. Who knows how the spirit comes to the bones of a child in the womb? Who understands eternity past and future? Who comprehends a throne founded on righteousness and justice? You alone are to be feared above all gods.
But Lord, we confess we fear worthless idols, obeying their commands to our destruction. Wood and stone, experts and popular opinion claim authority on our hearts, and we willingly surrender to any promise that offers a life of fearlessness. But you have not required us to be without fear, instead to live courageous lives, by fearing you alone. Forgive us Lord. Take captive our souls into your service and rout our rebellion toward all powers that tickle our ears with false assurances.
Before we can ask that our children fear your name, we must first plead that we will. The unspiritual are unfit to restore a brother caught in sin. Until we seek first your kingdom and righteousness our children are stuck fumbling around in the insecurity of dark and crooked paths. Greedy for unjust gain, we call our children to a standard that we don’t strive for and expect our wrath to get them there. Forgive us Lord. Grant us personal repentance, striving in sanctification, and gentleness in correction. Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Our families bear the name Christian. We claim that we and our households will serve the Lord. For your name’s sake then, generously work in us and through us to be a fragrance of life to your people everywhere we go now and throughout the future generations of our families.
Teach us not to despise the days of small things. Help us to fatten our babies’ souls with spiritual milk, nurturing their dependent little frames with your love. Give us patience with toddlers as we teach them to obey you and your appointed authorities. Give us faith to nurture the strengths and bear with the weaknesses of preschoolers. Give us knowledge to teach our school age kids your absolutely true ways. Give us wisdom to guide our teens into maturity among a perverse and crooked generation. Give us endurance to keep sharpening and humility to be sharpened by our adult children.
Teach our girls to be adorned with the beauty that Sarah had, fearing nothing that was fearful, instead being praise-worthy because she feared you alone. Lead our boys in the way of David, the man after your own heart. Give them whole-hearted devotion, bold repentance, and courage. Do not list our children’s names among the cowardly.
To raise children in the fear and admonition of your name is a weight that threatens us with death. In fact, it requires death. Thank you that Jesus has died once for all and that we have died with him. May the life we now live by faith free us to bear the fruit of generations of Christ-worshippers."
Danielle Spencer is the happy wife and helper of Chris Spencer and the homeschooling mom of 8 kids (1 of whom is due this August). They are members of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, MI. She writes about their adventures and other musings at talkingwall.org
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