"...and please, Lord, help him to grow up to be a..."
I don't even hesitate and Oliver chimes in: "to be a mighty man of God. I know, Mommy." He has my prayer for him memorized and it comforts him. He shifts down under the covers a little more and asks why his own prayers are never answered. I pause for a moment, a little surprised as his faith always seems to be strong.
"Well," I begin, "are you feeling sick right now?" He shakes his head. "Remember it was only two days ago you were hanging over the toilet begging God to heal you? I'd say He answered then, didn't He?" My boy smiles and rolls over satisfied with that response... for now.
He'll wonder again one day and he'll question God when things don't go well for him. That's okay, God is not surprised by His queries, nor is He too distant to handle them. The Psalms are full of David crying out to God for answers. We know the Lord does acknowledge David with encouragement and help as we read more Psalms of gratitude and peace. My son, will be content with my explanations for a while, but he will have to come to his own conclusions about God in the future. He will learn about God's timing and His process, that is often unexpected. Because my husband and I are praying for his soul, we believe Oliver will be overwhelmed with evidence of who his Creator is and that God will undoubtedly reveal Himself in a powerful way to him.
Where our words fail and our attitudes don't always align with Jesus, we can trust that the Lord loves our children more than we do. Our girls are included. We pray for them and with them and they grow in peace and strength with this practice. They ask for it. They pray for each other. We're not a perfect family, so we need it! At the end of the day, whether I'm tucking in my youngest or sharing daily news with my oldest after the other kids are in bed, I'm thankful that all my deficiencies can be left at the feet of the One who pardons and restores. My children hear my request for forgiveness often. They know God loves them even when they sin. Humbling myself and modeling prayer helps them to catch a theology I can't teach them in my own words. Somehow praying changes our voices, our character and our vocabulary. My children notice the difference, which just might explain why they ask me to pray :)
praying Jeremiah 29:11 over this one
praying Zephaniah 3:17 over her (not because she needs rebuke :)
praying Joshua 1:8 over my oldest
praying Psalm 4:8 over this one
praying I Samuel 10:26 over my boy
For further interest... 7 Prayers a Day, by Angie Smith