Note: This week, a parent of young children asked me about how to pray for his children. His question reminded me of this challenge I wrote about three years ago. Because I still believe in its significance, I am updating it and posting it again. I encourage you to send it to parents and grandparents you know.
No lists today on this blog post – just a challenge. A challenge a friend unknowingly gave to me a few years ago, and a challenge that pushes me every week.
His story was not unlike the story of so many other parents. One of his children had wandered spiritually, and he and his wife committed themselves to fast and pray every Friday on his behalf. That exercise not only led to his son’s return to the Lord, but it has also become these parents’ practice since then. For more than a decade, they’ve fasted and prayed one day a week for their children.
Pam and I don’t have children, but I happened to be traveling with one of my mentees when I heard this brother tell his story. That day, my devotional text in my reading plan just “happened” to be Moses’ interceding for God’s people in their sin, including his request to be blotted out of God’s book if God did not forgive His people (Exod 32:32). I had a strong sense then that I was to be a regular, sacrificial, fasting intercessor for some of the young men I mentor (see here for why I believe fasting in general matters).
These men may not be my biological offspring, but they are sons in the faith to me – and one of the most loving gifts I can give them is something they may never see. In God’s grace, I can wear out my knees on their behalf, thinking little about my own physical food while I long more for God to feed, lead, and protect them spiritually. I’m growing in the practice (and I’ll never do it perfectly), but I want to fight beside, and for, my brothers in the real battles of spiritual warfare.
Perhaps you, too, might prayerfully accept this challenge. Maybe you can fast and pray for one meal once a week, one meal each day, or one day a week on behalf of your children and grandchildren. If they’re just babies and preschoolers, let them hear you praying on their behalf each week; pray now that the enemy does not win in their lives. If they’re wrestling with God, agonize in faith on their behalf in prayer and fasting. If they’re walking with God now, pray and fast that they will never be drawn astray – regardless of how old they are.
Take the challenge my brother in Christ unknowingly gave to me. Make a commitment. Keep it regularly. Love your children, your grandchildren, and your mentees enough to push away from the table to focus on the Father – and trust your offspring into His care as you lie at His feet.