The great news is that I can pray. Rather than pouring my own imperfections into my children, I can ask my Father to pour His perfect grace into their lives. The scope for what we can pray for for our children is limitless. I pray short-term, medium-term and long–term for my children. More of that tomorrow.
For now, listen to these words from John Flavel. Continuing from yesterday’s snippet, Flavel has more to say on intercession. His father Richard, referred to here, suffered for the Gospel in his ministry. He and his wife were arrested for Richard’s nonconformity, thrown into Newgate Prison, and died from the plague caught there. John was undoubtedly shaped by witnessing his parents’ suffering and death, and he would imitate those sufferings when he left his parish church in 1662, rather than conform to the dictates of an apostate church leadership.
As well as seeing his father suffer, John saw him pray. And he gives an incredible value to those prayers. Read, and take note. Can we leave the best legacy to our children, of a prayed-for grace which will bless them all the days of their lives? Maybe it was his father’s prayers which ensured that John was so strong in the Lord, and his writings are a blessing to many still today. Maybe our prayers might bring blessings which far outlive not just our lives, but our children’s, too.
‘For my own part, I must profess before the world that I have a high value for this mercy, and do, from the bottom of my heart, bless the Lord, Who gave me a religious and tender father, who often poured out his soul for me. He was the one that was inwardly acquainted with God, and being full of compassion for his children, often carried them before God, prayed and pleaded with God for them, wept and made supplication for them.
This stock of prayers and blessings left by him before the Lord, I cannot but esteem above the fairest inheritance on earth. O, it is no small mercy to have thousands of fervent prayers lying before the Lord, filed up in heaven for us. And O that we would all be faithful to this duty! Surely our love, especially to the souls of our relations, should not grow cold when our breath doth. O that we should remember this duty in our lives, and if God give opportunity and ability, fully discharge it when we die; considering, as Christ did, we shall be no more, but they are in this world, in the midst of a defiled, tempting, troublesome world. It is the last office of love for ever we shall do for them.’
John Flavel, Sermon on John 17.11, Works Vol. I, pp. 257-8