Today is a special day for our family. Our twenty-eight-year-old son is getting married this afternoon. Our Daughter, now twenty-nine, was married just about two years ago. We dearly love our son-in-law, and our soon-to-be daughter-in-law. We are truly thankful to the Lord for his goodness.
The image above is from an old, beat-up postcard that I’ve had for decades. For a long time it was pinned to the wall in front of my desk. It reminded me then, and reminds me now, of the importance of praying for our children. The back of the card quotes James 5:16. In the NIV this states, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Since they were born, our son and daughter have meant more to my wife and me than can be expressed in words. I recall several times through the years reflecting on the wonders of childhood, and how quickly time goes by. In May 1997, I wrote the following words on a small card:
Like the postcard that reminded me to pray, this card reminded me to prioritize things so that we could spend a good deal of time with our children as they grew. Looking back, we cherish these years. The image below was taken not long after the words on that card were written.
When I have the opportunity, and it seems appropriate, I share with new parents about the importance of praying for one’s children. I explain that parents, and sometimes grandparents, are the only ones who will “stand in the gap” for their children. This wording comes from Ezekiel 22:30. In this verse, God says:
I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.
The verse in question concerns the fact that Israel had sinned greatly, and the Lord could not find one person willing to stand in the gap on their behalf. The truth is, there are a great deal of things in this world, and in the spiritual realm, that want to destroy our children. If we don’t stand in the gap on their behalf, both physically and in prayer, who will?
I still pray daily for our children, for others we love, and for many other concerns. And yet, I must say that I prioritize, both in terms of time and intensity, praying for our children and those they’ve chosen to marry. I can recall for years praying for their future spouses and for their future marriages as well. To me, wrestling for those I love in prayer is one of the greatest privileges and honors of my life.
Consistent and fervent prayer is no guarantee that everything will go smoothly in life. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, and challenges are sure to come in the future. One of the things I pray about most for our children and their spouses is that they will walk closely with the Lord, and be guided by his word. As I do, I’m reminded of what the Apostle Paul shared with one of his young friends. In 2 Timothy 3:12-15 (ESV), Paul wrote:
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Whether or not we or our children are faithful followers of God, all of us will face trials and challenges in life. This reality notwithstanding, we have many promises from God on which we can depend. One of my favorites is found in Romans 8:28. In the NIV, this reads:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
With this in mind I pray for myself and those we love to be forgiven through Jesus, to love God with all that we are, and to walk intimately with him as we are guided by his word and in prayer. In light of truth and eternity, nothing can be more important or significant. In addition, I also pray for the spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of those whom we love, especially for our children and their spouses. I also pray for their relationships, their finances, and their chosen vocations.
As noted above, there are many things in the physical and spiritual realms that would love to see all individuals driven from God and ultimately destroyed. I’ve chosen to stand in the gap through prayer on behalf of our children, their spouses, and many others whom we love. I hope that you’ve chosen to do the same for those who are most dear to you.
I pray that the Lord would give us the faith and strength to never stop believing, standing, praying, fighting, and trusting for as long as we have breath within us. I pray that he would also help us to take the time in this busy and chaotic world to reflect on the wonders of love, marriage, childhood, and life in general. There’s so much more to life than simply enduring. May we have eyes to discover that which is often hidden beyond the mundane.