I’ve been praying for my children since before they were born – certainly that they would be healthy and I would be the best mommy for them I possibly could be. But also that they would know God and would grow to love Him.
Lately, I’ve begun adding this to the prayer—“Lord, please help them grow closer to You than I ever have or ever could.” And God’s been showing me just how dangerous this prayer is. It’s certainly right and noble…but completely dangerous—to their little selves.
The older I get (and the closer I get to God through prayer and Bible study), the more I realize just how terrible it is to be stuck here on Earth. The effects of sin are evident all around us all the time, and I’m starting to notice them more. In fact, I’m starting to notice sin more, in general—my sins, as well as other people’s sins, and…well, it’s just not very much fun.
We’re called to walk in the light, but something happens when we walk in the light. The darkness is exposed, and we see it for what it is. We’re no longer blinded by ignorance. And the result is not pretty. The more I see the truth, the more I realize how ugly and despicable just about everything is in the eyes of God…even myself. And that hurts.
So, this is what I’m praying for when I pray that my little girls will grow closer to God than I ever will. I’m praying for them to see the ugly truth of who they are in comparison to who God is. I’m praying for them to have to hurt physically, mentally, and emotionally by dying to themselves every day—every minute and every hour of every day for their whole entire lives. I’m praying that they will suffer for being the sinful creatures they are. And, as a mother who loves her children dearly, it hurts me to know the truth of what I’m praying for them.
Yet I know the hope of that most dangerous prayer, as well. The hope is that the grace and the love of God will draw them close to Him. Yes, they’ll know their sin and the horribleness of it, but they’ll know the wonders of His love and grace too. They’ll understand just how much they need His mercy and forgiveness, and He’ll give it to them without reserve. Because that’s just who He is.
In the grand scheme of things, we are so very small, and yet God loves us so very much. That’s what I came to realize the other day. Actually, it’s what God told me the other day as I prayed during my quiet time, reveling in the wonder of His creation and realizing what a very small part I play in His vast universe. But the next morning He brought a couple of lines of a song I used to sing when I was a child into my head: “How small, how small but important am I. To the God of the Universe, important am I.” It was a message I needed to hear that day…and it’s something I pray my girls will understand as they grow up in Him. They were important enough to Him that He sent His Son into the world to suffer and die for them, so they could be reconciled to God.
We experience pain here on this Earth because of sin’s destructiveness and God’s disciplinary work within us to make us who we were meant to be, but as Paul told the Corinthians, our present troubles are light and momentary and “are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV) That, ultimately, is what I’m looking toward when I pray that most dangerous prayer for my girls—their eternal glory, the greater good.