Sometimes I get frustrated that the Bible gives us such little explicit instruction on the task of raising children. Honestly, there are few things that matter more than raising up the next generation to love the Lord. I have been a little weepy at the thought of my firstborn starting first grade this week. His love for life and zeal for God is amazing (and encourages me daily), but there is still so much I feel like we need to teach him.
As I was pondering all of this over the weekend, I began thinking about Jesus and how Mary must have felt when he was growing up. Obviously Jesus was the perfect Son of God and would never sin even in his youth…but I find comfort in knowing that even so, Mary and Joseph probably discussed the best ways to bring him up just like my husband and I do about our very imperfect children. The Bible tell us so little about Jesus’s childhood. But there is one tiny verse that encompasses the monumental years of his youth that I have been dwelling on:
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
As school begins once again, this is the verse I am praying for my children, specifically for my oldest. It includes three of the most important aspects of a child’s life: mind, body, and spirit. Each of these aspects come with their own strengths and weaknesses, with obstacles and challenges to overcome in every facet of life.
Lord, I pray that you will allow Caleb to grow in wisdom this year. I pray that he will learn everything he is expected to know academically. I pray that he will be successful in his studies and that he will be a diligent worker in what is asked of him. Most of all, Lord, I pray that you would allow Him to grow in YOUR wisdom. Help him to learn more about your character through his interactions with others. Help the scriptures and stories we have been sharing with him from your Word to be a lamp to his feet and a light to his path. Give us, his parents, the wisdom to help him discern between right and wrong in the situations he is faced with this year. Above all else, help him learn to love You more.
Lord, I thank you for the lives of our children. I thank you that they are healthy. I pray that you will protect their bodies and help them to continue to grow strong. Protect them from illness and harm, Lord.
As school begins, I pray that Caleb will know that he is created in your image. I pray that he will know that is “fearfully and wonderfully made”. I pray that he will know that You created him exactly the way that you want him to be. At times, words from others can be cruel. Protect his heart and help him to rest in the truth that he is a priceless gift to us and, most importantly, to You…so much so that you sent your son for him.
In Favor with God and Man
Lord, I pray that you would allow Caleb to be a light for you. I pray that he would be obedient to his teachers and kind to his classmates. I pray that he will show kindness and compassion to everyone, but especially those who are treated poorly by others. Give him the strength to stand up for the outcasts. I pray that he will have integrity to do the right thing even when no one is looking. Help him to surround himself with people who will help him grow closer to you. I pray that he will be both a leader and a follower– a follower of yours but a leader for his peers. Help his words and actions to be pleasing to you.
All this I ask in the name of your son Jesus. Amen.
No matter whether your child will be attending public school, private school, or will be homeschooled, I think this prayer is all-encompassing for what we desire for our kids. And I fully realize I am asking God for a lot…I certainly don’t expect my children to be perfect. In fact, I need to pray much of this same prayer for myself. But this is what I most desire for the lives of my children.
When we place the well being of our children in God’s very capable hands through prayer, we are surrendering control to Him. I’m not sure there is anything else as equally scary, freeing, and comforting as this. All I know is that He is certainly more capable than I am!
PS- I thought I would create a printable scripture card for those of us who wish to consistently pray this prayer for our kids throughout the year. Stick it on your bathroom mirror or in the visor on your car…any place that you will see it regularly. There are 4 identical cards on a page…you can print one for yourself and give the others to friends/neighbors if you would like.
Click on the image below to access the printable file:
Is your child heading off to school soon? What else would you add to this prayer?