Monday, January 08, 2007

Prayer for the children

Two things prompted this prayer - first: a friend of mine e-mailed me last week and asked me to pray for her child. This “child” is an adult in the eyes of the law, but will always be her “child.”

This “20-something” was raised in a Christian home, and in Church, but now is not attending Church, which is indicative of our culture as many young adults are searching for their own way, their own faith, and their own beliefs.

And I got to thinking about my e-mail list. Some of them I don’t know, but an awful lot I do know. And, I know their children. Some of them have small children, some of them have teenagers (bless their hearts - they will live through it!) but the majority of them have older children, and children who are young adults with children themselves.

And I thought, “I pray for all of the list members regularly, but I’ve never thought to pray for their children, specifically…” And so, I will…

The second thing that prompted this prayer was John (our younger son) packing up and moving back to the dorm for the second semester. (Actually, he would have gladly stayed in the dorm over Christmas break if they’d have let him!) And I see his determination, his direction, and his questions. He is a young adult, yes, but he is still my child - as is our older son, even though he is married (to a wonderful young woman, I might add) he is still my child, and I pray for him (for “them” now.)

And so, I pray…

Father, I lift up to you this morning these children of my friends. I see their faces and call their names. I pray for them, Father - for their struggles in their different stages of life.

For the little ones, whose problems and concerns may seem so trivial to us, help us to see the weight that these worries place on them. Help us to see the “parable” in this - that no matter how trivial our own anxieties may be - if it concerns us, You are interested. You care. If it concerns them, Father, help us to be interested. Help us to listen and be there.

For the older children - those wobbling back and forth between childhood and adolescence and adulthood; those whose “bodies” cry “grownup” and whose minds still want to cling to “mommy” and “daddy.” Father, help us to be there for them.

Give us grace to stand hovering with outstretched arms to catch them when they stumble, while still allowing them to discover the “rock strewn path” on their own. Lord, help us to realize that we can’t sweep every obstacle out of their way. That just as the caterpillar must struggle to break out of the cocoon, these, our dear children, must struggle too, to become adults. I just pray Father, that they always know our love.

And then, Lord, I pray for our children the “adults in the eyes of the law” but in whose eyes we still see the child wavering sometimes. I pray for these young men and young women. I pray for the decisions they must make, for the career paths they must choose, for the mates they seek, and Lord, for the faiths, the rocks upon which they build.

We realize Lord, that it’s a little late for us to start teaching morality at this point. And we cling to the parable of “train up a child in the way he/she should go…” but still, we realize that there is no guarantee that they will serve You. And so, we pray for them.

Help us to remember Lord, that we were once their age. That, we once “had all the answers”, too. And we pray for that “time” when they come to understand that they don’t have all the answers. We know, Lord, that it will come, it’s only a matter of when, and under what circumstances it comes.

Help us to be there for them - help us to teach them that You are always there for them, as You indeed are for us. We understand Lord, that You have no “grandchildren”; that each and every individual must “choose this day Whom ye will serve.” And we pray, gracious Father, that our children will stand and say, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

I pray, my dear Father, for these children of my friends. And I pray for my own as well. For no matter how old they grow, and no matter if they are caring for us, they will still be our children, and we love them.

In Jesus’ name - Amen.


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