Job 1:1-5 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. (2) And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters…(4) And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. (5) And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
We are familiar with the story of Job, and Satan’s complaint:
Job 1:9-10 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? (10) Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
There was a spiritual hedge around everything in Job’s life – including his family – that the devil could not breach. Hedges were often planted with thorn vines to create an ancient form of barbed wire fence to keep out predators and intruders. I believe that the hedge around Job’s family was made up of at least three elements:
- His integrity as their father. He was perfect and upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil.
- His involvement as their father. He “sent and sanctified them.” He was involved in teaching and training his children in spiritual matters.
- His intercession as their father. He offered sacrifices on their behalf and prayed for them continually.
Christian parents have a responsibility before God to put a hedge around the lives of their children. This begins with our personal integrity (do as I do, and not just as I say) and our parental involvement (sanctify your children – train them up in the way they should go). But the often missing element is parental intercession.
I began praying for my children as soon as I learned that they were coming. Before I knew their gender, I was praying on their behalf. I know that my wife has also personally prayed for our children daily – but I do believe that there is power in a father’s prayer. The father is God’s deputy in the home. I consider the father to be the family’s executive vice president, with the Lord Jesus being the Head of the Christian home (see 1 Cor. 11:3). And I believe that as the father of four children, I have a divine responsibility to plant a hedge around their lives through integrity, involvement in their lives, and intercession on their behalf.
I pray with a prayer list and in that list I have a special section for my children. Without sharing any specific or individual requests for any particular child, these are the things that I have been praying for each of them together since before they were born (note: except for the first one they aren’t in any particular order of importance):
- Salvation and baptism. I prayed that my children would be saved at an early age and readily follow Jesus in baptism. All four children were saved early and baptized. I have continued to pray that if they ever began to doubt that God would give them assurance, and also that if any had a false profession that they would come to true repentance and faith in Christ.
- Tender hearts. I have prayed that their hearts would be tender and sensitive to the things of God, and that they would not grow hardened, stubborn or rebellious.
- Surrendered. I pray that each will be surrendered to God’s will for his or her life. I do not claim to know what that specific will is, and have not tried to persuade or push my kids into any particular career or calling. If God wants them in full time service, that is His business; if not, that is His business also. I just want them to surrender to God’s will. Shouldn’t that be every Christian parent’s desire?
- Soul-winners. I pray that my children will have a burden for the lost and a boldness to witness to them about salvation.
- Spiritual. I pray that they will grow to be genuinely spiritual and not just “go through the motions,” or learn to “play the church game.”
- Purity. I pray that they will keep themselves pure in body and mind. Of course, we have standards that help to keep them out of trouble, but I want them to have purity in their hearts. I pray that they will WANT to be pure.
- Health. I pray especially that they will never be afflicted with cancer or certain other problems that have been in our family histories. (I encourage men to pray especially for their wives and daughters to be spared from the scourge of cancer).
- Friends. I pray that God will give them good friends that are good influences. If not, I pray they will be content to be alone rather than to be in bad company.
- Bible college. I pray that when the time comes, they will desire to go to Bible college for at least a year and that we will know which one is right for them.
- Modesty. In this immodest age, I pray my kids, especially my girls, will be modest. You can make a girl wear modest clothes but you can’t make her have a modest heart.
- Convictions. I pray that “the eyes of their understanding will be enlightened” (Eph 1:18). I pray that they will see truth in the scriptures which will become convictions in their own hearts. They won’t go through the same process of developing convictions as I did when God saved me out of the world. I pray that they will see the truth for themselves, and that they will decide for themselves to believe and do what is right. Then, I won’t have to worry when they are out of my house and raising my grandchildren.
- Wisdom. I pray that they won’t just have knowledge, but the ability to use it wisely.
- Discernment. I pray that they will be level-headed and learn to make good decisions as they grow up and assume adult responsibilities. I pray they won’t be fooled by the devil’s lies or false advertising.
- Mates. Last but not least, I pray for their future spouses. They are all somewhere out there right now. Maybe I know them, maybe not. I pray that God will help them to stay as pure as my children, and that they will meet under the best of circumstances, and marry under the best of circumstances. God has someone for my children – and so does the devil. I pray that my children each choose the right one.
Too many parents wait to pray until their children are grown. In prayer meeting, they ask for prayer for their son in prison or their daughter who is off in the world. Why not begin praying for your children “while there is hope” (Prov. 19:18)? Perhaps my prayer list will help you make one of your own. It does not take long to mention these 14 items daily for your children.
Remember, however, that Job did more than pray. He also set an example in integrity and was involved in their lives.
Raise a spiritual hedge around your family.
Thank you for reading. God bless.