Your ‘Regular Custom’?

Parents pray for their children. Job models well: “Early in the morning he [Job] would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom” (Job 1:5). We don’t sacrifice lambs or bulls anymore; Jesus took care of that—but pleading His blood to cover the sins of our children is one of our chief tasks as a parent.

But how else should we pray for them? I appreciated a recent e-mail I received from Deacon Chris Nyland. I have asked for permission to share it with you. In it, he wrote: “Pastor, I wrote a prayer a few weeks ago for my daughters. So often when I prayed for them my mind just went blank, and I got confused and so burdened for them I didn’t know what to say. Seems that after I read my written prayer my mind is more focused and I can pray more ‘effectively’ [for them].”

His prayer follows:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I acknowledge before Your Holy Majesty that I am a poor sinner, conceived and born in guilt and in corruption, prone to do evil, unable of my own power to do any good. Because of my sin, I endlessly violate Your holy commandments. But with heartfelt sorrow, I repent and turn away from all my offenses. And in removing my guilt, please grant me a daily increase of the grace of Your Holy Spirit, and produce in me the fruits of holiness and of righteousness pleasing in Your sight—through Jesus Christ my Lord.

Children are a gift from You, and I thank You for the ones I have. As much as they are a source of joy they are also a source of vulnerability for me. I have made many mistakes as a father, and I come to You with a grieving and humble heart. Lord, please shield my children from my ignorance and bad choices. Lord, I give my precious children to You. Like me, they are often unruly and disobedient to Your Word. I know that if I leave them in Your hands you can work a miracle in their lives. Because I have submitted to You, we are all in Your hands now.

Lord, bless me with the wisdom I need to make the right choices—the right words—that will lead them to righteousness and a blessed life. Let me not attempt anything whatsoever that is not pleasing to You. I therefore entreat of You, O Lord, not only to be my guide and director for the days to come, but that You keep my daughters under Your protection to the very end of life.

Grant, Almighty God, that my daughters will place their faith in You for their salvation. Let the Holy Spirit faithfully convict them of sin and fill the quiet moments of their lives with Your voice. Let the emptiness of sin and the world gnaw at their stomachs until they long for the true bread of life and water of eternal life that only Jesus can give. Let them get caught in their sins. I pray that You will surround them with people who intentionally or unintentionally point them back to You. Bring about divine encounters with Christians at unlikely times and in unlikely places.

I also pray that You open the door for me to continue a loving relationship with them and effectively share the Gospel with them. Keep their conscience tender and alive to right and wrong. Let every sin that grieves You sadden their own hearts as well. Cause them to long to be cleansed of sin, guilt, and fear. And when they come to faith I pray that they will grow in the grace of obedience to Your Word, leaning on Your promises You give for those who love You, regardless of how troublesome and turbulent their lives may become.

Lord, protect their lives from death, accident, and injury, and have mercy on them. Keep them from foolish decisions whose consequences will have lasting and tragic consequences. Guard their lives from Satan’s attacks and surround them with Your mercy.

Heavenly Father, be unrelenting in the pursuit of Your purpose for their lives. Permeate their daily lives with Your presence and let Your call be ever before them.

All of this in the Name of Jesus,

Amen

Perhaps Chris’ prayer will help your mind be “more focused” so that you might “pray more effectively.” Pray for your children, mom; pray for your children, dad. Make it your “regular custom’”

Pastor Rich Hamlin

January 31, 2013

Register or volunteer for Bible Day Camp now