Saturday, June 23, 2007

PRAYING FOR OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN

There is nothing I pray about as much as for our children, their spouses, and our seven amazing grandchildren.

While praying for them this morning it occurred to me that my selfishness might be reflected in the disproportionate amount of time I spend praying for them compared to world evangelism and for resolution of needs such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, injustice, and other prevalent kinds of global suffering.

I don’t know if the next thought was my own rationalization or a word from the Spirit, but I recognized that love of family is not evil, but rather is a reflection of being made in the image of the heavenly Father who takes great delight in His only Son. The problem is not that I spend too much time praying for my immediate family, but that I spend too little praying for the vast global family of which I am also a part.

Further, while praying for our family recently, I’ve been convicted about the shallowness of many of my prayers. I realized that a great deal of my prayers were focused on the short-term happiness of my children as a result of their living “good Christian lives,” having strong marriages, being good parents, having success in their vocations, etc.

But now, nagging at the edge of my consciousness was the thought that God’s plan for our children may include pain and suffering through which God would ultimately be glorified, though not always by joyous deliverances this side of “the renewal of all things.”

If the Old Testament prophet Hosea’s parents prayed for him, I wonder how they felt about how God was glorified in his life? His wife was repeatedly unfaithful to him and presented him with children not his own. It could not have been a happy marriage and then she left him for her lovers. Yet in obedience to God, Hosea took her back, restored her as his wife, and showered her and her children with an unconditional love which for more than two thousand years has been an astounding object lesson of the love of God for His wandering people.

Do I really want God to be glorified in the lives of our children no matter what it takes? Is the glory of God more important than the comfortableness of my family? Am I willing to pray that God would be honored even if it is through great suffering in the lives of those for whom I would gladly die to protect them from the slightest pain?

I’m struggling, but finding myself increasingly asking God to glorify Himself through our children and grandchildren and leaving the details of “how” to His infinitely wise, loving, and eternal plan. Of course I want them spared from pain, and often ask for that without sense of guilt or selfishness. But I find myself whispering what our Lord exampled for us, “Nevertheless not my will but Yours be done.”

“Lord teach me to pray and to love Your glory more than anything. Thank you for assuring me that you are always good and that you love my children more than I ever could.”

4 comments:

Barbara said...

Watching my children grow through trials is more painful to me than my own journey, as would be true with most parents. But it's only through coming to the end of myself that I learn what surrender is (I wish that weren't true). Why would it be different for my children who are so much like me? Sometimes I feel like I'm in a cocoon (both physically and prayerfully), immune to the world's pains and my own are magnified. Thankfully, God touches me with others -- who make me aware that my view is so myopic -- which is why I pray for God's eyes, not my own, to view others.

Rose said...

These words say everything. Even though we want to best for our children, sometimes a bit of 'rain' will fall...

MercyMe-Bring the Rain

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through

The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind

To turn my back on you oh Lord
My only shelter from the storms
But instead I draw closer through these times

So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus Bring the Rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain

You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain

So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus Bring the Rain

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

Jody said...

I've learned the lesson as a young mom- through a way I never would have imagined- through the death of my own daughter and through my grief. It was not long ago that through some Scriptures and experience and reflection that God gave me the insight to see how my grief is turned to joy so often. And in that, I have seen God glorified and my own faith strengthened and my life- through my pain and suffering- becomes a shining testimony of God's love and faithfulness. It doesn't make sense to me, except to know that God can use the brokeness of this world and the pieces of my life to reflect His almighty power, His ability to heal, and His desire to make me 'holy' as He is Holy. I have prayed many times for my kids and their lives to be full and beautiful. I have changed the words of my prayers- I ask God now to be merciful to my children and to my family and friends. I have learned that what I may perceive as 'bad' may be just the way God can draw my loved ones closer to Him...and so I pray too, for His will to be done. In their lives and mine. Even when it hurts!

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