But first, a brief story:
On Tuesday, I went with Luke’s class on a field trip to see a play. Anna came, too, and we all sat and laughed as the silly animals onstage revolted against their silly farmer. There was singing and dancing and plenty of comic relief. It was great. After the play was over and the house lights came up, Luke’s classmates, Darvon and Juan turned and looked at me, beaming. I grinned and raised my eyebrows at them. “Did you guys LOVE IT??” I asked. “Yeah!” was their enthusiastic reply. Then, Luke and Anna started chatting with them about their favorite parts. Much smiling and laughter ensued.
They chattered on while we waited for our bus to be called, and I leaned my head against the back of my seat while I waited. “I hated that play,” said a voice behind me to his friend. “Me, too!” his buddy replied. “It was so kiddish.” “Yeah, I hated it, too,” said a third, “It was stupid.” I glanced around and saw that the original speaker was an adorable blond headed boy talking to his friends. His hair was long and swooped across his forehead like a little Abercrombie Kids model. He and his friends wore the matching “field trip shirts” from a wealthier school in town.
“Please, God,” I silently prayed, “save my kids from that attitude.”
“Oh,” I added, “And thank you for Luke’s classmates.”
And now, a second quick story:
That same afternoon, I sat on my friends’ couch while our children played happily in the backyard. She had told me on Sunday that she was praying for God to bring helpers to our church–our “little wisp of a church,” as I affectionately call it. Just that day, two of her (Christian) friends called expressing interest. One of hers approached the subject like this: “My daughter is really starting to worry and frustrate me. She feels so entitled all the time, and seems to honestly think the world revolves around her. I’m not sure what to do…..So, tell me about your church.” I laughed. It’s no secret that our church will change your perspective on life and especially on materialism. I understood her friend’s hope that maybe getting to know her lower-income neighbors would help her daughter reexamine the difference between wants and needs.
These two events rattled have rattled around in my heart and have finally coalesced into a silent prayer that my soul prayed all day yesterday:
God, please be with my children…our children…the children of your church here in the West. Protect them from the self-absorption and greed that are such hallmarks of their culture. Guard their souls from ingratitude and wastefulness–the wastefulness of their resources, their opportunities, their lives. Show us as parents, Father, how to guide our children into your Kingdom. Show us what it means to live in the world, but not of the world…because honestly, God, I’m not sure what that means half the time. Show us how to spur our kids on to the radicalism to which you have called us all, without making them resentful toward it. Show us how to challenge them without exasperating them. But mostly, God, I pray you protect them from the evil one. So often, I pray for their protection from the physical manifestations of evil. Today, I pray for protection from the spiritual. As scary as the physical can be, the spiritual dangers are so much more prevalent. Protect them, God. Protect us all. Amen.
What do you pray for your children?