As we saw last week, advice in God’s Word about parenting occurs in patterns of three, reflecting not only His Triune nature but the family trio consisting of mother, father, and child. Scripture tells us to love, discipline, and teach our children about His Word, His nature, and our faith.
Just as Jesus prayed for every child of God, we should pray for our children to be kept in the Name of God, to be kept from evil, and to be sanctified through His truth (John 17:11,15,17). If we follow this and other Biblical wisdom about parenting, we can anticipate many blessings.
We see many examples in Scripture of fathers praying for their children. Abraham prayed that God would not abandon Ishmael, even though he was conceived in opposition to God’s will (Genesis 17:18). In answer to that prayer, God promised to bless Ishmael, to make him the father of twelve princes, and to make him a great nation (v. 20).
Even better, God promised to bless Abraham’s wife Sarah, to give Abraham a son by her, and to make her a mother of nations (v. 16). These were conditional promises, so to show his honoring the covenant with God, Abraham obeyed by circumcising himself, Ishmael, and every male in his household (v. 23-27)
King David prayed that God would spare the life of his first child (2 Samuel 12:16), who was deathly ill and who had been born from David’s sins of lust for Bathsheba, wife of Uriah; adultery with Bathsheba; and murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 11:2-17). He begged God in prayer so intense that he fasted, went in (locked himself in his prayer closet; Matthew 6:6), and prayed all night prostrate upon the earth (2 Samuel 12:16). Paradoxically, when the child died, David cleansed himself, worshipped God, and ate. His cleansing consisted of washing, anointing himself, and changing his clothing (2 Samuel 12:20).
Although God had not answered David’s prayer as he had hoped, David resigned himself to God’s will, saying, “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:23).This is an excellent illustration of God knowing what we need far better than we do (Matthew 6:8), so that we can have faith that He will answer the prayer in the best possible way (Romans 8:28).
God allowed David the supernatural understanding that the child was in Heaven where he would one day be reunited with him, for all who turn from their sins and place their faith in God alone are born again to everlasting life (John 3:3-8, 16).
God dealt with David’s sin by chastising him through the death of his son, yet He responded to David’s prayer by giving him three blessings: faith in eternal life in which he would be united with his son, restored marital relations with Bathsheba, and the birth of a second son, Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24).
David had been a man of war, which prevented him from being the one to complete God’s temple. However, his son Solomon would be suited for this task because God promised him rest from all his enemies and peace and quietness for Israel throughout his lifetime. David prayed for his son Solomon to be a wise ruler over Israel, to serve God, and to build His temple in accordance with God’s will, keeping His commandments, testimonies, and statutes (1 Chronicles 22:8,9,12; 29:19).
But as a good father should, David put his money where his mouth was. In addition to prayer, he supported Solomon’s building of the temple by giving him an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight, He also gave him an abundant supply of timber, stone and skilled workmen for the project (v. 14, 15).
King David supported God’s will for Solomon’s life from his abundant riches. But even if we have only meager financial resources, our children will appreciate, remember and be blessed by our sacrificing to help pay for their education, development of their talents, missions trips, or other opportunities in accordance with God’s specific plan for their lives.
The Bible tells us God’s general will for every child, which is to be saved (2 Peter 3:9), to love God and love one another (Matthew 22:36-40), to keep His commandments (John 14:15), to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to study and share His Word (2 Timothy 4:2), to witness (Matthew 28:19-20), to be faithful to church (Hebrews 10:25), to tithe (Malachi 3:8-10), etc.
We also need to pray that God’s specific will be fulfilled in our child’s life, calling on His promise to think of them with thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give us His desired outcome. If we call on Him, we will pray to Him, and He will listen to us. When we search for Him with all our heart, we shall seek Him and find Him (Jeremiah 29:11-13). It’s never too early to start praying or God’s will for our children’s higher education, career, and even for their future spouse.
As we pray for our children, we can have faith that God knows, protects and loves them even more than we do, understanding their every thought, word and deed. He knows where they have been and where they will go and guides them with His hand where they are. He knew them before they were even conceived, designed their unique being, and guided their development during gestation. He created every child to be marvelous, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:1-16).
May we pray earnestly for our children as Jesus prayed for us! May they grow in God’s grace as Jesus did, physically, mentally and spiritually, increasing in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52),
© 2014 Laurie Collett