Psalm 23 is a place I’ve turned to many times in my life when my heart ached, and I didn’t have words to say. Times when I longed for something only God could provide because the hurt cut deep, and nothing I did on my own would ease the pain. Somehow the psalmist David knew the words I would need.
Each verse of Psalm 23 feels like it came straight from my longing heart. So when I turned to this familiar psalm the other day to read it again, God surprised me by bringing to mind something different. I expected to be drawn in by God’s promise to “restore my soul” like many other times. I also expected the truth, “he is with me,” to offer needed comfort. But with every line, I couldn’t focus on my own situation. Instead, I pictured the faces of my children.
True to God’s nature, he revealed a new thing through something I’d read at least a hundred times. More than anything, I wanted my kids to know this same comfort. I wondered if they turn to Psalm 23 in times of trouble. If they know God “leads them in paths of righteousness” and prepares a table for them, right in front of their enemies. (Psalm 23:3,5) Do they understand the hope available to them?
We want the best for our kids, and we know it’s our job to teach them about God and his love. So, how do we know we’ve done enough? It’s fun snuggling up with their favorite books about Jesus or watching them say sweet prayers before bedtime, but what about when they grow up? We want assurance that they will continue to follow Christ through their teens, young adult years, and beyond. It’s hard to rest knowing their spiritual choices are out of our control.
But through the gift of praying for our children, God gives us a promise. He is faithful, and when it comes to our kids, that’s all the assurance we need.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 says, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” Yes, our children will experience difficulty. There will be hard days when they will “walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” but we can speak the truth of Psalm 23 over their lives and ask God to be with them. Just as he has brought us through, he will do the same for them.
God calls us as parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to sow seeds of faith in our children’s lives. He encourages us to talk about him day and night. (Deuteronomy 6:7) However, without prayer, our efforts will be fruitless. Thankfully we can call upon God and pray for our children to follow him all the days of their lives. As we pray, let’s insert our children’s names.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the love you have for my child. I can’t fathom the depth of your love, but because of your sacrifice, I know there is nothing more important to you than your children. You’ve made a way for my child to know you as Lord. You are a good Father.
Forgive me for my mistakes as a parent. Forgive me for feeling like my efforts aren’t enough. You are in control, not me. You have good plans for my child. You are my “faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keeps his commandments, to a thousand generations…” (Deuteronomy 7:9)
I pray the truth of Psalm 23 over my child today. I ask that you lead her beside still waters and also in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. May she know you are with her, and that your rod and staff will comfort her. I pray your goodness and mercy will follow him all the days of his life, and that he will dwell in your house forever.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Liderina
Teach Us to Pray is a FREE prayer podcast hosted by iBelieve writer Christina Patterson. Each week, she gives you practical, real-life tips on how to grow your faith and relationship with God through the power of prayer. To listen to her episode on What to Pray in the Morning for a Worry-Free Day, click below!
Now that you’ve prayed, are you in need of someone to pray for YOU? Click the button below!