He Loved Her

She was married at the age of sixteen with her mother’s consent. Her father was a cruel and harsh man, and to protect the daughter, a marriage license was quickly obtained. Soon she was married to a young man seven years older, whom she had been seeing twice a week for the last year with her father’s consent.

The situation had erupted when the daughter had asked the father if she might now see the young man three times a week. This had made the father very angry, and he had whipped her mercilessly. After the dad left the house, the girl went over to her boyfriend’s. When the boy’s mother saw the girl, she was broken-hearted and sought a solution. Together they went to the girl’s mother, who soon consented to signing the marriage license for the daughter.

Through a dear older woman, she came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior at the age of nineteen, and she is a beautiful testimony of God’s faithful work in the human heart. I detected no bitterness or anger as she spoke of her father, but a sweet and tender heart. Truly, it is amazing how the love of Christ Jesus can change a person.

One would think that to have been married fifty-three years it must have been a beautiful, storybook kind of marriage. Yes, one might think that, but instead it was a dramatic testimony of God’s grace. The good man of twenty-three who rescued her from a terrible home situation brought her into a new set of undesirable circumstances. Her knight in shining armor was to become an alcoholic and a gambler. He then shared with her the multitude of difficulties that go with those addictions.

She gives credit to the Lord Jesus for sustaining her through those fifty-three years of marriage. Does she harbor bitterness toward her husband? No. She says, “He loved me.” Many times she repeated, “He loved me.” Even with such a hard life, by God’s grace, she chose to look back on her husband’s love instead of the injustice that she received through the years.

As a lost man, her husband could not love her as Christ has called husbands to love their wives. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Brothers, do we love our wives? Not “do we provide for them,” but do we love them? When they think of us, do they think of our love for them? Do our wives find comfort in knowing we love them? Do we love them not just in word but in deed? To love our wives as Christ loved the church is not just a nice saying, it is a command of God through the Holy Spirit.

Here is a secondary thought for us to consider. What appetites are we creating in our children? This woman’s husband of fifty-three years became an alcoholic and a gambler largely due to his well-meaning mother. She felt it was special for her family to have some home-brew always available. That she did, and her son developed a real taste for alcohol as he grew up. I said “largely due” because we are all individually accountable to God for the sin in our life. Others may place a stumbling block in our path, but we are still responsible and will be judged accordingly.

The well-meaning mom also wanted her family to spend time together in the evenings, so they began playing cards together. They never played for money, not even pennies, but they used matches and toothpicks. After years of playing cards in the home, he was hooked as a youth and became a serious gambler as an adult.

A brother in Christ once shared with me how his mother taught him to play penny-pat when he was young, and that gave him a hunger for gambling. Even though his mother was well-intentioned and wanted to spend some time with her son, in reality what she did was to give him the appetite for gambling. Therefore, he was addicted to it even at middle-school age.

Brothers, what sort of appetites are we creating in our children? Whether it is a part of our lives that they observe, something we allow in their lives, the gifts that we give, or something we encourage them to do, they will readily develop appetites. “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father” (John 8:38). “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:1-2).

May we evaluate our lives and what we encourage in the lives of our children for the fruit it will produce in them. I’m amazed how occasionally I will see a child doing something they shouldn’t, and when I correct them, they will say, “But you saw me doing this before and didn’t say anything.” Since they weren’t corrected previously, they took that as approval to do it again, when in fact we might not have really noticed what was going on.

Men, may our hearts be turned toward our family. May we love our wives sincerely with great honor and respect. May we guard the hearts of our children and be ever so careful of what appetites we introduce in their lives. As we love Jesus Christ and obey Him in all that He calls us to, our family will be drawn to Christ as well, and He will be glorified.

Praying Scripture for Our Children

Praying for our children is a high spiritual priority in the life of Christian mothers. We know that the work of spiritual growth in our children’s lives is accomplished by the power of the Lord Jesus. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). As an example for us in praying for our children, we have many Scriptures that tell us that Paul prayed for his spiritual children without ceasing and with thanksgiving. If we are to invest heavily in prayer for our children, what exactly will we pray?

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). I believe these verses show us that Scripture is an excellent basis for some of our prayers for our children.

My two favorite Scriptures for prayer are ones Paul prayed. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21).

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:9-13).

Do we want our children to choose righteousness over sin? Then praying from Romans 6 would be worthwhile. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:12-13).

Is your child struggling with worry? You can pray Philippians 4:6-7 for him. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Does your child lack a thankful heart? Consider praying that your child would begin, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

Do you realize how Scripture can be used to pray for our children? No matter what need you see in your child’s life, you can find a Scripture to pray that will relate to that need. If you desire growth in your child in a certain spiritual direction, you can look for Scripture to pray that will support and endorse this growth.

I have begun to memorize the verses that I am praying for my children so that I have them available any time I want them. I can pick out portions of the verses to pray, and I can individualize them by putting my child’s name into the words from Scripture as I pray. I have found that everything I memorize to pray for my children is applicable to praying for myself and others as well.

There are some things that I pray for my children day after day, prayer after prayer. Should I stop praying them because I have prayed them so many times? “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). My repetitive prayers for my children fall into this category of what I am not to become weary in doing because, in time, there will be a harvest of spiritual fruit.

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8). This parable gives the example that we are to continue crying out to our Lord Jesus Christ in prayer for our children, even if we pray the same or similar things for them very often.

When I pray Scripture for my children, I feel assured in my heart that I am praying God’s will and desire for them. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

As you commit your heart to pray for your children, I encourage you to use Scripture as part of those prayers. Memorize the passages that the Lord directs you to pray for your children so that you will have them available anywhere and anytime to pray. Then be faithful in spending much time in prayer for your children.