Parenting is scary. You’re always wrestling with concerns like, will my children ever remember to brush their teeth on their own? (One survey found that the average age is 18). Will my children ever learn to read? Will they ever be able to do anything besides play X-box (or whatever the current video thingy is)? Will my 29-year-old son ever move out of the house? (This was probably my Mom’s concern).
But no doubt Christian parents’ biggest concern of all is their kids’ salvation. And now that I’ve become an ancestor in flowing robes with a flowing beard and a staff, I carry this burden for my grandchildren.
Though Scripture doesn’t absolutely guarantee their salvation, God gives us many strong reasons to pray and hope for our children. Charles Spurgeon urged parents to pray Isaiah 59.21, which I have written in my prayer notebook at the top of the page of requests for my family:
“And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.” IS 59.21
I read this verse often before praying something like this: “Father, thank you for promising that your Spirit that you have given me and your word that you have put in my mouth will not depart from me or my children or my children’s children from this time forth and forever. You did not have to make that promise, but you did. So I ask that you would save each of my children and my grandchildren and all my descendants until you return. I ask that you would fill each one with your Spirit and your Word.”
There are many other promises we can pray for our kids. For example:
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. IS 54.13
The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you. PS 102.28
Years ago I was inspired by James Dobson’s story of his great-grandfather, G.W. McCluskey, who died the year before James was born. His grandfather prayed between 11 a.m. and noon daily for the spiritual welfare of his family, including future generations. Before he died, he announced that God had promised him that every member of his family for four generations would be born-again. Did God come through? The McCluskeys had 2 girls, one of whom was Dobson’s grandmother. Both girls married pastors. These women had 5 girls and one boy between them. One of the girls was Dobson’s mother. All five girls married pastors and the boy became a pastor. Dobson and his cousin, H.B. London, were the first of their generation to go to college and were roommates. In their sophomore year, H.B. was called to the ministry. And we all know about James – he founded Focus on the Family and has spent his life writing and speaking about Jesus Christ.
Dobson says, “At times as I sit on a platform waiting to address a church filled with Christians, I wonder if my great-grandfather is smiling at me from somewhere. His prayers have reached across four generations of time to influence what I am doing with my life day by day.” (Tears are filling my eyes)
He continues, “What does that say about free moral agency and the right to choose? I don’t have a clue. I know only that God honors the prayers of His righteous followers, and you should stay on your face before Him until each child in your family and extended family has been granted every opportunity to repent.”
Let us pray regularly that Jesus would save each of our children, grandchildren and descendants and that each one would follow Jesus wholeheartedly as a disciple until the he returns.