I was reading Matthew chapter 7 this morning and was arrested by the phrase, “good gifts for your children.” Everyone wants to give their kids good stuff. This past Christmas I got a card from my god-daughter and she was regaling gifts she received over the years. She mentioned the year her grandmother and I redid her bedroom (Pocahontas theme). And she remembered what she called her “jackpot year,” a turquoise bike and a computer.
It is always a joy to bless her. But I got to thinking about the import of those “gifts.” What do I really want her to have? What are the “biggies” that truly matter? I can assure you that they are not “things.”
Which brought me again to the conclusion that praying for our children is critically important. Most parents and grandparents would agree with that statement, but little prayer actually happens. I think we are not sure of exactly what to pray for. So, may I make a few suggestions?
One: Pray that they will submit to Christ and make Him Lord of their life. Use the words of 1 Peter 5:6 to pray that your son, daughter, grandchildren humble themselves before a gracious God and receive His free gift of salvation. It is the most important thing to pray for in all of life!
Two: Pray that they would develop a genuine love for God’s Word. They will need its sustaining power and clear guidance their entire life. Use the words in Joshua 1:8 to form your thoughts. Your prayer might sound like this: “Lord, please do not let my child ignore your scriptures. Help them to meditate on it every day and do what it says. Strengthen them with your words.”
Three: Pray for their friendships. Nothing will impact their life more than the crowd they run with. Over the years, I have asked God to give my god-daughter Godly friends at school, at work even in the apartments around where she lived.
Prov. 12:26 reminds us that a righteous man is cautious in his/her friendships. Our prayer for their companions might be: “Father help my child to understand that friendships with fools will cause them harm. Help them to choose and enjoy the company of wise men and women.”
And fourthly, pray for their joy and contentment. I never pray that my “kid” would be happy. That just seems like such a trite “gift.” I would far rather want her to experience the joy that God has for her life. I pray for her contentment (Phil. 4:11). I pray that she would be free from the love of money (Heb. 13:5).
And I pray Psalm 16:11 with her in mind: “Father please help her to know the path for her life and chose to stay on it. Help her to understand that real joy only occurs when we remain in your presence. Your blessings are always available at your right hand. Help her to seek those and not be satisfied with cheap imitations.”
Take some time today to start some new habits, some giving habits. Give your extended family (regardless of their age), the gifts of prayer. They matter!