Monday, December 05, 2011

A Parent's Prayer

On my oldest daughter's 10th birthday, a prayer from Starck's Prayer Book:
Lord, almighty God, Father of mercies, among other gifts of Your grace You have given me my children, and for such a blessing I heartily praise and magnify You. Yet I regard these children of mine as precious pledges, and know that You have entrusted them to me and will require them at my hand. I regard them as souls that Jesus has purchased with His holy blood, the Holy Spirit has sanctified in Holy Baptism, and You have adopted as Your own children. I am, then, concerned lest any of them be lost through my own fault. You tell me and all parents: Take care of this child; if it is missed, your soul shall answer for its soul.

And so, O Father of all grace, I come to You and in heartfelt prayer commend to you my children. I will do what I can: I will bring them up for Your honor, admonish them, correct them, instruct them, and pray for them. But, O Lord, in all my efforts You must perform the most important part. Immediately after their natural birth I placed them into the arms of Your mercy in Holy Baptism. Behold, I now do the same in my prayer. Bless my children. Attend them at their going out and their coming in. Keep them in Your holy fear, that they may never burden their conscience with sins, nor offend You, nor worst of all, fall from Your grace. Give them believing, humble, obedient and godly hearts, that, like the child Jesus, they may increase in stature, wisdom, and favor with God and men. Imprint on their hearts the image of Jesus in order that they may always keep, until their blessed end, a gracious God and an unstained conscience.

Let my children be devout at their prayers, well-grounded in their Christian faith, steadfast and zealous in worship, chaste in their living, godly in their conversation, so that by their words and actions they may give offense to no one and thus bring upon themselves a fearful judgment. Preserve them from temptations and evil company. By Your Holy Spirit keep them constantly in mind of Your most holy presence, so that they remember that You are with them at home and away, in their room, by day and by night, in company with others and when they are alone. Let Your holy angel be with them when they go out and when they come in. Let Your angel guard them when they travel, pursuing their business, or journeying to foreign lands. Give them Your holy angels as their companions, as You did to young Tobit. By their aid rescue them from dangers, as You did with Lot. Let them, like Jacob, live under the angels’ watchful care.

But if it should please You to make my children a cross to me, either by their sickness, or death, or any other calamity that I might have to see them suffer, grant me patience in such affliction, and remind me that nothing happens without Your divine direction, that my children were Yours before they were mine, and that You have sovereign power to take them again to Yourself. But if it is Your design by the suffering, misfortune, and death of my children to draw me to You, in order that I may recognize also in them that Your visible gifts are perishable, to stir me up to love You alone, the true and perfect Good, keep me while traveling this thorny path in firm confidence and hope in Your almighty power, which can end and mend all things, even the crosses of my children.

Impart Your blessing to them also in their temporal affairs. Care for them, provide for them, give them food and clothing, and deal with them as their mighty heavenly Father. Be their Helper in dangers and calamities, their Physician in sickness, and their Counselor whenever they are in need of good advice. Give to my children a pious soul, a healthy body, and a sound mind, and let them live in Your sight, in order that they may at all times honor and praise You. Implant in their hearts true godliness and continue Your blessing on them that I may have comfort and joy in them.

O God, hear my prayer, and remember that they are Your children as well as mine. Therefore be pleased to hear my supplication on their behalf at the throne of Your grace. Preserve me, O God, from being brought into shame by my children, either during my lifetime or after my death. On the last day let me stand at Your right hand with all my children and say to the praise of Your holy name: “Behold, here I am, my God, and the children which You have given to me; I have lost none of them.” Yes, my God, grant me Your divine favor to this end, that none of my children may be lost, but that they may all enter with me, and I with them, into Your glory.

 HT: Weedon's Blog

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