When I was a student at Lee College, I took a class that had as one of it’s books, “Will Our Children Have Faith?” I don’t recall anything about the book today beyond the title. The title has stuck with me through the years. At various moments, it would come to mind and help me as thought through situations with my children as well as the children in churches where I served.
As a Dad, one thing I have always enjoyed is praying with my children at bed time. My oldest daughter is now 19, I am confident I have taken steps that have led her in the right direction. Just as I have done with each of my children. I trust I have been faithful to walk with Jesus in a way that honors him and leads my children to him.
My youngest daughter will be 4 years old soon. During the Summer, at bedtime we talked through one of our own made up stories. (Just as I have done for almost 19 years with each child along the way.) Now, just as then, they typically include my child as the central figure in the story along with a couple of her toys that come to life that she plays with. After the story time I pray. Recently after I prayed she said, “Daddy, I want to pray for you… ‘Heavenly Father, bless my Daddy – In Jesus Name.'” Then she said, “I didn’t do that right, I want to pray again… ‘Father, forgive my Daddy.'” I had quite the laugh, smile, and thought-filled contemplation over her prayer.
She prayed for blessing and forgiveness. I believe with all my heart her prayers were heard. I don’t know specifically what she thought I needed forgiveness for. But that’s alright. It has led me to think through a lot of areas of my life, as I have thought through I have sought to leave each area at the foot of the Cross. More than anything her praying that night… her desire to pray for me – has heightened my sensitivity to pray for others.
At times, I wonder why I have had on my life a desire to pray for others. This discipline began while at Lee College. I kept a notebook of people I prayed for. Today, I don’t recall all of the names but I remember many of those faces. There have been so many that I have prayed for in which I have not seen results (at least through my eyes). There are several people today I pray for regularly and those folks will never know this side of heaven about those moments in prayer.
This past Christmas Eve, my wife and I went to the mall to do some last minute shopping. I wasn’t feeling well, so I sat in the middle of the mall and watched people. It became apparent within my heart I was to pray for those that walked by. I’m not much on shopping but those moments made the trip more than worth it. Even now I don’t recall those things that were purchased, but I recall the people and the moment. I recall the urgency we all have to live our lives in a manner honoring Jesus.
Just as my daughter may not have fully comprehended her prayer for me. But the Holy Spirit did. Her prayer has led me to search my heart and invite God to search my heart and reveal to me anything that is separating me from Him. More than anything I want to live a manner worthy of the grace that has been so wonderfully given to me.