There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil…so it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually. Job 1:1,5NKJV
The body of Christ is amazing. Some are great-grandparents, some are expectant mothers, and a few are even learning to walk. Whether we have biological children or not, mature saints are called to be mothers and fathers in the faith. Throughout the Scriptures we find that older men are to be examples of godliness for the younger men, demonstrating how to be “be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; (Tit 2:2 NKJ). Likewise, within the body of Christ, older women are to “admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed (Tit 2:4-5 NKJ). But what is the most important aspect of parenting? What does it mean to be a ‘faithful’ and ‘godly’ parent? How can I impact my children (physical or spiritual) for the Lord Jesus Christ? The most important job or function of a parent is prayer. Here are two important principles to remember this year as we pray for our children here at Providence.
1. Pray Precisely - There is a quote by the great Puritan Richard Rogers that goes: “I am so precise, because I serve a precise God.” Often when we pray, we pray generally: “Lord, give us our daily bread.” When Christ taught His disciples to pray, He was teaching them biblical principles that should guide their prayers. He was teaching them ‘specific’ areas of their life they needed to address when they prayed. They needed to pray for sustenance and acknowledge who is the giver of all good things. They needed to pray for Christ’s return. They needed to pray for the gospel and Kingdom of God to advance. They needed to seek forgiveness of their sins by crying out to the ONE they had sinned against. Note what the Divines teach us concerning confession: “Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man's duty to endeavor to repent of his particular sins, particularly” (WCF XV:V). When we pray, we should pray specifically, or as the confession states ‘particularly’. James reminds us “you have not because ye ask not”. Do you confess your sins specifically? Do you cry out for your children by name? Do you go over the prayer list in this bulletin and intercede for the saints in our midst who are enduring suffering and hardship? Notice how righteous Job cried out for His children, and their sins, continually! How truly sad it is when our last destination is the throne of grace. But the greatest tragedy is when we fail to cry out to our merciful and loving God at all.
2. Pray Boldly - Believers often struggle with boldness. We tend to fall into two camps. We either try to put God on our puppet strings, or we are scared to take Him at His Word. We often forget God welcomes bold prayers if they are prayed according to His nature and His will. You remember as Moses was receiving the two tablets of the law that the Israelites were fashioning a golden calf. And as God was preparing to destroy them, Moses cried out: “O Lord GOD, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. `Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look on the stubbornness of this people, or on their wickedness or their sin, `lest the land from which You brought us should say, "Because the LORD was not able to bring them to the land which He promised them, and because He hated them, He has brought them out to kill them in the wilderness.” ‘Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your outstretched arm’ (Deut. 9:26-29 NKJ). Moses boldly cried out to God: “Remember Your COVENANT!” Moses pleads according to God’s promise, according to His Covenantal Love. How could God not honor His Covenant? Even in His wrath God remembers His Covenantal Love for His children. Beloved, we don’t summon or command God to do anything. We plead His precious promises and we cry out to Him according to His Word. He is our Heavenly Father, a Father that loves and cares for His children.
So this day remember to pray continually. Remember to pray precisely. Remember to pray boldly. Above all else remember to PRAY. God hears the prayers of His people. As an ole’ pastor once said, “The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayer-less studies, prayer-less work, and prayer-less religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray”. Beloved, may this year mark the revival of prayer here at Providence Presbyterian Church.