When my children were younger, Marion and I did our best to teach them God’s ways. We had family worship, family Bible study, family prayers. Now that our family is pretty well grown up (our youngest is almost 17), I find that my role has changed. My young adult children are making their own way in life, and rather than give direction, my part is to give unconditional love, encouragement, support, and advice if asked. But in addition to all those things, and at least as important as any of them, in this season of my life I find that I am very motivated to pray for my children.
Sometimes, though, I’m not sure what to pray for. Recently when praying for one of my sons, I was trying to discern the real need of his heart, so I asked the Holy Spirit to show me what he most needed at that time. As soon as I had asked, I knew the answer. Immediately in my spirit I heard these words: “He needs to know how much I love him”.
My first thought was “But that’s too simple! It sounds too easy! What about all the other concerns I have for him – don’t they matter? ” But as I continued praying and listening and reflecting, I asked the Holy Spirit for more insight and I soon realized that this really is the deepest need of every heart.
If my son really knows how much God loves him – if he sees the full extent of the wonder of his creation in God’s image, of the many ways that God has provided for him and made a way for him, of the depth of Jesus’ sacrifice for him on the cross, of the plans God has for him in this life and the eternal destiny he has in God’s kingdom – if he really sees all that, then everything else will fall into place. If he really sees how much God loves him, he will trust God with the details of his life and make wise choices as he listens to God’s voice. If he really sees how much God loves him, he’ll have confidence in each step. If he really sees how much God loves him, how can he help but respond to God’s love with his whole heart and serve God with his life? And if he does that, what more could I ask or hope for?
Too simple? No, just right.