Last August I wrote a post called "Prayers and words for my family (and anyone else who dares to read them)" that's accumulated a surprisingly large number of views. Since it apparently struck some kind of a chord, here's another similar post based on what I read this morning in my time with the Lord...
Jill and I prayed last night together for all of our children, as we sometimes do (but not nearly enough), and with that still fresh in my mind I woke up to the Bible reading and prayer that I usually do in the mornings (though still not often enough).
I read through the book of Isaiah by itself a few months ago and since then I've been reading through it again with comments by Charles Spurgeon interspersed. And I couldn't help thinking of my children when I read this verse and Spurgeon's comments (in italics):
Isaiah 26:11 - "LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them."
There are some people who will not see; and, as the old proverb hath it, there are none so blind as those that will not see; but they will one day be made to see, if not to their salvation, then to their everlasting shame and confusion. They shall he made to see that, after all, there is a God, and that he is strong to punish the ungodly, and to overthrow his adversaries. I pray that no one of you may refuse to see by the light of the gospel until he is forced to see by the blaze of the judgment-day; yet, alas! there will be such.
Does it surprise you that I pray for my children's salvation (especially if you know them and know that they are wonderful people)? I pray for their souls precisely because they have so many great things about them, and especially because I love them so much, for I know the dangers of false profession and apostasy all too well. For me to assume that neither of those horrors could assail my own children would be highly presumptuous on my part. (I'm starting to talk a bit like Spurgeon, aren't I? Well, worse things could happen.:)
And because my children are so great and so loved, I well know the Adversary will spare no attack on their souls. Shockingly numerous and creative false gods can be generated by the idol-factories in their hearts and encouraged by Satan's world system. So I pray along with Isaiah and Spurgeon that God would grant them repentance, even as He does so in my own unfaithful heart:
Isaiah 26:13 - "O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name."
O Lord, how sadly, how long, how grievously, did those other lords domineer over us; but from this time forth we will know no name but thine; and, when we mention it, it shall be by thy grace, and by thy power alone, that we even put our trust in thy wondrous name!
Above all, I pray that God would be glorified in my children's lives and that they would live for His glory. I also pray that they would live for the good of others, because as I was reminded in a recent conversation with my son Nathan, we are communal people created for community, and the community that God created for us is the community He calls "the Church." (It is also called His new "nation" and the "kingdom" that Christ came to establish on earth, far superior to all usurpers.) So I'll end with Isaiah 26:15 and Spurgeon's comment on that verse:
"Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified."
God is always glorified in the increase of his people, therefore, we should, above all other reasons, pray for the increase of the Church because God will be thereby glorified.