6 Prayers for the Next Generation
One of the privileges I have is to compose the letter inside the baton that parents receive when they dedicate their children at our church. The baton and the letter are designed to be a special gift on the child’s eighteenth birthday. In each letter, I try to express what I hope will be true for the child by the time he or she reaches that significant milestone. High on the list is the hope and earnest prayer that each child would be “Bible-saturated.”
Condensed into this simple two-word phrase is the image of our children being immersed like a sponge into the water of God’s Word for the first eighteen years of their lives, becoming so saturated with its truth that it shapes and influences everything about them. The image is rooted in at least six longings of my heart for our children:
1. That they will delight in the Word of God like King David
The man who was after the heart of God spoke of God’s word with great joy: “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97), and “more to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold” (P. 19:10). If our children love the Word of God, they will read it, memorize it, meditate on it, and “soak” in it.
2. That they will be born again
A heart of stone can have no genuine affection for and craving of the Word of God. The Lord promised through the prophet Ezekiel: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezek. 36:26-27).
3. That they are shaped and influenced by the Word of God
I pray that everything they observe, everything they are taught, all the opinions they consider, and all the decisions they make, will be shaped and influenced by the Word of God. If they are saturated with the Word, they will have an ever-present and infinitely wise counselor, comforter, and interpreter to guide them through life.
4. That they will be effective and fruitful in ministry to others
The speech of a Bible-saturated person is seasoned with the Word of God and thus has the weight of biblical authority. No words bring more comfort than words that are soaked in the Word of God. No prayers we utter can lead us into the presence of God more effectively than Bible-saturated prayers. No speech that can touch the human heart like Bible-saturated speech.
5. That the knowledge of the Lord will spread to generations we will never know
Future generations will never know the truth unless the Word of God is on the hearts of those who outlive us and who then diligently teach their children (Deut. 6:6-7).
6. That they never fall away from the faith
In Hebrews 6:5-6, we read of those who have “tasted the goodness of the Word of God…and then have fallen away. Merely tasting the Word is not sufficient to sustain faith in a world that is hostile to the truth. Our children must drink deeply from the truth and, by God’s grace, never turn from it. Bible-saturated children have the best chance of remaining faithful until that day when they stand before the throne of a smiling Savior and hear him say “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23).
May the Word of Christ dwell richly in us and may God grant us the grace to faithfully impart that Word to our children.