As a dad, I pray for each of my kids just about every day, and I take it as both a joy and responsibility to bring them before the Lord. Praying for the kids is a helpful way of training myself to remember that they are his before they are mine, and that any good they experience will ultimately find its source in God himself. And I believe that prayer works–that God hears a father’s prayers for his children, and that he delights to answer those prayers. One of my most common prayers for my girls is a prayer for their protection. Here is how I pray for God to protect them.
From them. I pray that God will protect my girls from themselves. After all, for all the dangers they face in life and all the trials they will face in the days and years ahead, the vast majority of those trials and temptations will arise from within. I ask God to protect them from their own sin and unbelief, from their own hard-heartedness, from their own fleshly desires. I pray that he will save them from themselves and then cause them to grow to be more like Christ.
From me. I pray that God will protect my girls from me, from their own father. I fear that my selfishness or my negligence could harm them, or even that my ignorance would expose them to some kind of sin or danger. I feel a great swell of love and affection for both of my girls, but also see so much sin and ugliness within myself, and fear how my sin could harm them. And so I pray that God will protect them from the worst of me and only ever allow me to be their guardian and protector.
From others. I pray that God will protect my girls from other outside influences. I pray that they would be good friends, have good friends, and not be unduly influenced by foolish acquaintances. I pray that their teachers would be for them and not against them, and that they would teach them what is right and good. I pray that God will guard them against any of those people who may today or some other day begin to plot evil against them.
From Satan. I pray that God will protect my girls from Satan. I know that the devil knows my girls, and that he sees their spiritual progress, and the he loves to do all he can to choke out the gospel before it can really take root and bear fruit. I know that he desires their utter death and destruction. This is his great and wonderful plan for their lives—to bring them to complete ruin, and to do it through endless waves of temptation. So I pray that God will protect them from Satan and from all of his power.
From himself. And finally, I pray that God will protect my girls from God. Ultimately, God saves people from himself. R.C. Sproul says it well: “The grand paradox or supreme irony of the Christian faith is that we are saved both by God and from God.” I long for God to protect my girls from his own wrath which he must pour out on those who will not put their faith in Christ. And so the deepest saving my girls need, is to be saved from God. And I pray again and again (and explain to God that I will continue to pray again and again) until he saves my girls by himself, from himself, for himself, and to himself.
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