By Kathleen Nielson
The following is taken from Prayers of a Parent for Young Children by Kathleen Nielson ISBN #: 978-1-62995-817-0 pages 18-19, used with permission from P&R Publishing Co. Phillipsburg NJ, www.prpbooks.com
For Love of God’s Word
You made us creatures of words, Lord God,
like you our Maker;
so we hear and understand and speak –
because you do.
I pray my child will take delight in words,
and most of all the words breathed out by you,
so mercifully given in your Holy Word.
Help me to carry your Word deep,
with stores that purify and sweeten
my words’ flow – while sitting in our house,
or walking by the way, or lying down, or rising.
May I teach your Scriptures well,
and joyfully, in harmony
with voices of your people all around.
May scenes and stories capture her,
The poetry enliven her imaginings,
The teachings take firm root
And bear good fruit, in every season.
May she love your Word,
and love the Word made flesh,
the Savior who shines forth
on every page.
Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. (Ps. 119:35)
With a child, we have the amazing chance to share the Bible’s living words not as rote truth to be transferred–but with delight, as we get to help them hear our heavenly Father’s voice speaking to us.
With a child, we can be amazed all over again that Scripture’s words are breathed out by God, that they are able to make us “wise for salvation”, that they are “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:15-16)
We will speak so many words to our children day by day as they grow. Our own words will not be perfect; in fact, they will often seem inadequate. What a joy to know that we can give them God’s Word–perfect, beautiful, and true.
*While sitting in our house: see Deuteronomy 6:4-9. The Word made flesh: see John 1:1-14
The following is taken from Prayers of a Parent for Teens by Kathleen Nielson ISBN#: 978-1-62995-820-0 pages 36-37, used with permission from P&R Publishing Co. Phillipsburg NJ, www.prpbooks.com
For a Delight in Books and Learning
Let him learn to treasure words, O God of words.
Let him read, and love to read,
according to the gifting of your sovereign grace;
let the habit of savoring words
grow in him, never to be undone.
Lord, shape his sapling mind;
he is not yet a firm and solid tree
but leans and sways with winds and breezes.
Use your Word, I pray, to root him deep,
and use wise words of many
to expand his limbs, stretch wide his branches.
Let wise ones around him guide him well
to discern and to reject evil or foolish words,
and to delight in stories that would call his mind
to travel far and focus deep on what is true and what is good;
to find surprising satisfaction in biography,
in history, in poetry–let him begin
to search these treasures out
with humble heart, and guided without fail
by you, O lord, who made us creatures of words,
and who leans down to grow us up
in the image of your Son
and in the unending wisdom of your Word.
There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them. (Josh. 8:35)
We often categorize ourselves as either “word people” or “number people.” And we often discern a leaning one way or the other in our children. The trouble with too simple a dichotomy, however, is that God gave his inspired Word to all of us–to women and men, young and old, “right brained” and “left brained”. We humans are made creatures of words, in God’s image, and through words we know him, glorify him, and tell others of him. Through words we pray.
It takes effort for parents to encourage care for words and literature in young people. How often do our teens hear complete passages and books of the Bible read out loud? Are we helping them take in all that Old Testament poetry–and in fact the abundance of literary forms that we’re meant to savor with all our hearts and minds and imaginations, as we learn to hear God’s voice more and more clearly?
Numbers are important, of course. And some children will grow up to love working with them all their lives long. But may we aim and pray for all of our children to grow up grasping the power of words–especially for them to take in God’s Word and to serve the living Word revealed in its pages.
About the Author
Kathleen Nielson is an author and speaker who has taught literature, directed women’s church Bible studies, and served as director of The Gospel Coalition’s women’s initiatives. She and her husband, Niel, have three sons, three daughters-in-law, and eight grandchildren.
You can find Kathleen’s work at: www.kathleennielson.com