On several occasions in the past, I’ve mentioned how my prayer life has been deepened through the use of a variety of printed prayer books. One of these resources that I treasure the most is Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith. I’ve often heard people criticize books of written prayers, thinking that somehow they are less than heartfelt because they’re written by others and they aren’t spontaneous or heart-felt. I would respectfully disagree as I see them as valuable tools that help us to tap into the deepest longs of our heart, while teaching us how to pray in richer and more meaningful ways.
Most welcoming Lord Jesus, there’s no more important or necessary gift we can give our children than to keep on bringing them to you. Whether they’re babies, teenagers or adults, themselves… it makes no difference. At every stage of life, our kids need you, Jesus.
For our children who’ve yet to find life in you… have mercy on them, and bring them to a saving knowledge of yourself, Jesus. They don’t just need to “grow up.” They don’t need religion. They don’t need moral reform. They need the gospel of your grace. Show them how much they need you, and show them how much you love them. Keep them restless until they rest in your complete forgiveness and perfect righteousness. More than we want Harvard for our children, we want heaven.
Jesus, some of us grieve the ways we’ve made the gospel less than beautiful and believable to our children. Forgive us, and show yourself to be the God who’s limited by nothing, including parental self-righteousness. Transcend the ways we’ve “blown it.” But also grant us humility and grace to repent… first before you and then to them. Free us to give our children the gift of our repentance…
For our children who know you, but currently seem to have waning or zero interest in you… or even ambivalence or antipathy towards you… here our cry. Restore to them the joy of your salvation. Our confidence is in the our Father’s promise to bring to completion the good work he’s begun in each of us, but Jesus, we cannot afford to be either presumptuous or passive. Work powerfully. Work presently. Work persistently, Jesus, we ask for your name’s sake. Give uspatience with their doubts. Give us forbearance in their struggles. Give us grace to welcome prodigals home.
Lastly, Jesus, we ask you to restore us… restore me, to the childlikeness of our early days of knowing you. Free us from childishness, indeed, but renew our hearts in childlike joy, playfulness, gratefulness and simplicity. Our bodies and minds are getting older, but cause our hearts to dance again in the utter and matchless delights of being loved by you. So very Amen, I pray, in your glorious name.