I’ve been blessed with three amazing kids. If you know our story, you know that there was a time when we didn’t expect to have one, much less three, beautiful, healthy, precious little ones.
As my kids have grown and changed, my prayers have changed, too. Of course I say prayers of thanksgiving for the blessing of having them. I pray for their needs and their concerns. I pray for their health and safety. All things that I think are good and necessary for parents to pray.
But lately, especially with my son, I’ve found myself praying this prayer:
“God, help him live his life completely sold out for You and for Your glory. Help him not get distracted with the things of this work. And God, please make him a better man than his dad could ever be.”
I pray these things for my son, and similarly for my girls, because I see myself in them. I see the good and the bad. And I know that it doesn’t have to be that way. I hope they will choose the better way, and choose it from an early age, not waiting and allowing the locusts to eat the years.
This morning I was reading Psalm 78, and I thought about these prayers. This chapter in the middle of the book of Psalms is subtitled in my Bible “God’s kindness to rebellious Israel.” When I read it, it struck me as the same heart that I have for my kids.
“For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments; and may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation…” (Psalm 78:5-8)
I hear this all the time from folks: “Kids will be kids. They’re just finding their way, sowing their oats.” Huh?
It doesn’t have to be. I want better than that for my kids. I didn’t heed the guidance of my father for a LONG time, and I paid for it. I paid dearly, and so did those that were near to me. The decisions I made in being a stubborn and rebellious man affected not only me, but my wife, my family, my friends, and my kids.
I don’t want my kids to “find their way.” I want to show them THE way, Jesus, and point them in that direction. I want to love them when they mess up, and encourage them that they don’t have to “touch the stove to see if it’s hot.” I want to help them not make the mistakes I made.
I want them to be better than me. I want them to live their lives with a singular focus: the glory of God.
And you know what? I think that’s a prayer that God would love to answer. So I’m gonna keep praying it.