June 14, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
I pray for my family every day – my dear wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. But it seems to ‘get old’ just to say in one way or another, “Bless my family…,” and then to name them. So I sought other ways to pray for them. Since my wife and I have been Christians for a long time, we gave our daughter a Bible name. We thought long and hard about which name to give her. We liked the names Rachel and Rebekah, both Biblical names, but both had been used in the family for a couple of generations. Then in the newspaper one day we were reading Dear Abby, and this woman wrote in saying, “Why don’t parents think it through before they tag their child with a strange name they will carry all the rest of their life?” Her name was Bethany! We looked at each other, and said, “That’s it! ”
We also have another daughter, Ann, who was our foster daughter. We never adopted her because her biological mom was still active in her life. But she is our other daughter! Both our daughters are grown and have families of their own. Bethany is even a grandmother herself!
We did our best to heed Ephesians 6:1 through 4:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your
father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise, “that
it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you
fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the
training and admonition of the Lord.
We tried to bring up our daughters in the training and admonition of the Lord ! Bethany, especially, has chosen Biblical names for all her children. So here is how I often pray for my family:
• Bethany is the town just a short distance southeast of Jerusalem – the town of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. (See John 11:1). These three siblings – apparently being financially well-off – often hosted Jesus and his disciples at their home. Jesus was always welcome in Bethany! And so I pray for my daughter, “Lord, may Jesus always be welcome in Bethany’s heart and life.”
• Ann – while not a Biblical name, according to tradition and apocryphal writings, Ann was the mother of Mary, and the grandmother of Jesus! She is known as Saint Ann! (or Anna, or Anne). And so I pray for her, “God, our Ann is already a saint, in that she is a Christian [see Romans 1:7 and many other Scriptures]. But may she be a saintly person as was (apparently) Mary’s mother.”
• Our first grandchild is Chelsea Faith. And so I concentrate on her middle name, Faith! For the Bible says in Romans 5:1: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (See Ephesians 2:8, 9 – and many other Scriptures concerning faith). And so I pray for my grand daugher, “O Lord, may Chelsea live her life by strong faith, being pleasing to You.”
• Chris – Bethany’s husband, as well as their eldest son, are named Chris. I pray for them both this way: “The cross is often represented in the form of a ‘ t’. So may the cross be added to ‘Chris’ that they may represent Christ! ”
• Stephen is Bethany and Chris’ second eldest. In the Bible, Stephen was the first follower of Jesus who died for his faith! (See Acts 7:51-60). And so I pray for Stephen, “Lord, may Stephen be faithful to you, even unto death! ”
• Daniel – number three son. We read the story of Daniel in the Bible book that carries his name. Daniel served the Lord even though he was taken captive as a teenager from Jerusalem to Babylon! He was so faithful, he served in the Babylonian court for over seven decades, serving under six Babylonian kings, and two Medo/Persian kings. According to the Biblical record, he influenced at least two kings to come to faith in Jehovah! (See Daniel, chapters 4 and 6). And so I pray for our Daniel, “God Almighty, may Daniel be such a strong Christian that he will even influence those in high positions! ”
• Josiah – the fourth son of that family. Josiah was a godly king who led a great revival in Judah! (See II Kings 22:1-23:29). And that nation greatly needed revival after his father Manasseh’s long and wicked reign! (See II Kings 21:1-18). And so I pray for Josiah, “My Lord, may Josiah be a dedicated Christian, and lead many people in genuine revival! ”
• Gideon – number five son. In the story of Gideon (see Judges 6:11-8:32), this man led the Israelites to a great victory over Israel’s enemies, the Midianites and Amalekites. Later he further defeated two Midianite kings, Zeba and Zalmunna and the remaining Midianite army. But Gideon struggled! And he tested God with a skin of lamb’s wool! (See Judges 6:36-40). And he needed other supernatural assurances from God to accomplish what he was called to do! So I pray for our Gideon, “Lord, though he struggle with doubts, may Gideon receive assurances from You and accomplish great things for God! ”
• Isaiah – our youngest grandson in Chris and Bethany’s family. Isaiah was a major prophet who lived in the eighth century BC, and ministered to the southern kingdom of Judah. God’s dramatic call upon him is recorded in Isaiah 6:1-8. Isaiah saw a vision of the glorified LORD, and heard Him say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? ” And Isaiah responded, “Here am I! Send me! ” And so I pray for our Isaiah, “God, may Isaiah hear your call and respond, ‘Here am I! Send me!’ ”
More about Praying Biblically For Our Children in the next blog.