8Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.” 9God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field, but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!” Judges 13:8-10
The Father and Mother of Samson were desperate for more instruction, guidance, and direction from God regarding the raising of their Nazarite son Sampson. It was the miracle in and of itself that someone who was barren and childless could bare a child. Then to hear that their child would “take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines” they knew they needed all the help they could get. They would be raising a child among a people oppressed and a people in sin and far from God. The Nazarite vow required strict guidelines to keep their child pure. They couldn’t do this without God’s help and God was there to help.
The prayer of Manoah should be the prayer of every parent given the responsibility of raising a child in the ways of the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.” Cyndi and I have prayed like this but they sounded much less holy and much more desperate and often started with just one word: “HELP.” Our oldest of five boys is about to graduate from High School and I’m asking myself if I have done enough to prepare him for the world he is about to step in to. The nearness of this milestone in his life has increased the urgency of prayer in my life, not only for Elijah but for my other boys. The truth is that Manoah’s prayer needs to be prayed all the time, “teach us how to raise our children in the way they should go.” Just as with Manoah, God will always answer that prayer. I love how Monoah and his wife stop everything they are doing when the angel shows up so they can receive the detailed instructions from the Lord. God has called every parent to do the same. That we would never allow our schedule, our work Lord, or daily responsibilities to crowd out one of the most important uses of our time: Hearing the Lord on behalf of our children. As with the story of Sampson, our children have a free will and will ultimately decide whether our faith in Christ will become their personal faith in Christ. Praying these prayers don’t guarantee a positive outcome for our children. Yet, as we position ourselves before the Throne Room of Grace it positions our children with the best chance to step into the mighty purposes God has spoken over them. Why? Because at least a few people in their lives will be there to remind them of what God has spoken over them in contrast with the lies being spoken to them. Because when we can’t see past their rebellion, their disrespect and seeming disdain for our leadership in their lives, prayers like these help us to see them as God sees them- a child of promise! I’m determined to not let a day go by where I’m not praying these promises over my children:
Isaiah 54:13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.
Isaiah 59:21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.”
Psalms 102:28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.
Psalms 112:1-2 Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! 2 His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Isaiah 44:3-5 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. 4 They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. 5 This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s,’ another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and name himself by the name of Israel.
Isaiah 61:8-9 …I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed.
Isaiah 65:23 They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them.
Proverbs 20:7 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him.
Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.
Jeremiah 32:39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them.
Deuteronomy 4:40 Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.
Acts 16:31-33 And they said, “Belief in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.
Thank you, Jesus, for this reminder of the power of a praying parent. I know for a fact I would not be here if it weren’t for my parents, grandparents, Uncle’s, Auntie’s, mentors in my life who continued to pray for me as I grew. I’ll be honest. As I read of Sampson’s foolish choices with women and the squandering of his strength this is one of my biggest worries. I turn this worry into a prayer this morning and ask that each of my boys would choose you over the longings and permissions of this world. You have given each of them specific gifts and strengths that could be used against them if they choose to live for themselves. I pray that you would set their hearts afresh and afire with a passion for you. Thank You for filling Justice and Jaxon with the Holy Spirit this past Thursday and giving their prayer language. They are so happy! So am I. I’m so glad I don’t have to do this parenting thing alone.