How to Pray For Your Kids

I’m not sure when my nighttime routine began, though I’m fairly sure it was after I became a father. It’s nothing very elaborate, but that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. It is, truly. In fact, I find I can’t sleep unless it’s all been done.

Much of it revolves around a final pass through the house. I make sure the doors are locked and the porch light is on. (The second seems to take more importance; there are plenty of folks here who don’t bother locking their doors, just as they leave their keys in their vehicles. Don’t tell anyone, though. Our secret.) I make sure the timer on the coffee pot is turned on, and that the lamp by the window is lit in case someone stumbles out of bed thirsty in the middle of the night. I’ll check to make sure my son is adequately covered and hasn’t flipped and flopped his blankets off. My final stop is to check my daughter’s sugar, because she may sleep, and we all may sleep, but diabetes never does.

I always pray over my children then. Every night, without fail. They don’t know this; I’ve never told them. I suppose doing so is as much for my benefit as theirs. I have an uneasy relationship with the night, which may be why it appears so often in my stories. It’s the time of day when I get most of my work done, and yet I spend much of that time peering into the shadows for what isn’t there. My prayers are the usual ones—help us to sleep well, bless our family, let Your angels stand guard. 

And keep us safe, always that. Always a lot of that.

I once heard a preacher talk about praying for safety. He said Christians shouldn’t place a premium on such a thing as that. This is, after all, one of the safest countries in the world in one of the safest times in history. Praying for security is a waste of our words, he said. What we should pray for instead is boldness. That’s what we need. We’re often content to remain where we are because that’s where everything is safe and familiar. God wants us to go forth and conquer new lands, both within and without. He wants us to Become. According to the preacher, there is no Becoming in safety.

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