“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4
Is this the greatest joy you could ever imagine? In our text John is, of course, speaking of the church as his children, but we may well draw the application to our physical children. Do you long more than anything else in the world to see your children amongst the redeemed?
Let me tell you a story about my mother. Thinking back about the person who had the greatest influence on my life I have to elevate my mom to the number one spot. For most of my life I never would have considered her an influence—she was just my mom. I knew she loved my brother, my sister, and myself with all her heart, but I didn’t really understand what that meant. I simply took for granted that she would always be there and that she would always love me. But life has its ways and one day my mom was no longer there. A stroke left her bed ridden and eventually took her life.
Over the years, since she passed away, I have thought a great deal about her and I am not sure if phycologists would think it healthy or not, but I still miss her beyond measure. There is hardly a day go by that I don’t wish I could hear her voice again, throw my arms around her and eat one of her amazing chicken dinners with the family all gathered around.
However, my mother left me far more than memories, she left me a legacy. I’m not talking about financial inheritance but a spiritual wellbeing that springs back to her years of praying for my acceptance of Christ. My mother believed in the power of prayer and knew within her heart that if she prayed for us children God would hear her prayers and touch our lives with the power of the gospel. As a result, she made it her mission in life to pray every single day for our salvation, and once we became Christians, we would walk in the ways of the Spirit and live healthy productive lives.
My memories of mom were of her praying. I would often see her kneeling by her bed in prayer for her family. Life was not always easy for my mother. She lost her father at a very early age and grew up without the opportunities that are so readily available to young women now. But she was happy in life. She found joy in her God, my father, and her children. Now, here is the point of this whole post. Because she loved us and cared for us, she prayed for us.
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good”. 1 Peter 2:2-3 This was the problem my mother faced, how was she going to have us “long for the pure spiritual milk” that would bring us to salvation. She didn’t have any support or anyone to turn to for direction on how to encourage us to give our lives to Christ so she took on the task herself.
Though none of us had any interest in religion we all had the greatest respect for her devotion and love of God. It might not have been right for us but we knew it was important to her and we could see the results of her faith in her life and how she treated us.
Looking back on my childhood I knew that when she was angry with me, and I gave her plenty of cause, it was never personal or a withdrawing of her love. She was simply angry over my stupidity in doing another crazy, dumb thing. Even in her scolding me I knew she still loved me.
So here is the question I must ask myself—do I have the same passion for my own children’s salvation? Throughout my ministry and the emails that come into this blog I have learned that many people have rejected Christianity because of how they were treated at home by their Christian parents and were not the recipients of continual persistent prayer.
Let me end this post with some words of encouragement. No matter how far away your child has strayed don’t give up or write him/her off spiritually. Claim the promises of God concerning prayer and then enter into prayer for your children. There is no greater work you can do for your child than to pray for their salvation and prosperity. Lift the child up to God and love the child with all your heart.
My mother was persistent in her prayers so when my brother, sister, and myself became Christians she still had my father to intercede for. Jump ahead from their marriage 72 years and they are both in long term care needing professional care. For five years she lay on her back trapped in a body that no longer functioned because of the stroke yet she never gave up praying for my father. Think of this—72 years of marriage and she prayed every day of her life for my father and never gave up. The last years of my father’s life he wouldn’t go to bed until he wheeled his wheel chair over to the side of mom’s bed, held her hand and listened to her prayers for the family and him.
Like I said, my mother left us a legacy.