I put effort into not saying the exact same thing every night that I pray for Jakob. It takes effort, because I pray for generally the same things each night, but I don’t want it to hold as much meaning as a script. Jesus warned against using vain repetitions when teaching us how to pray. I think, to an extent, we can cheapen the words we use with God. I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that God probably doesn’t wipe tears from his anthropomorphic eyes every time He hears “The Lord’s Prayer.” He never told us to pray that prayer constantly. He said to pray “in this manner,” which is tantamount to saying, “like this.” It is a format, not a script. When we choose rather to blurt out a script to God than to have a conversation with Him, I think we miss the meaning of prayer. I feel strongly about this, and I have for a long time, so I make it a point not to teach Jakob to pray this way.
I do have a basic format for my prayer over Jakob, though, and the first part comes from Numbers 6:24-26. This is the blessing that God instructed Moses to instruct Aaron and his sons to pray over the people of Israel. Most nights, Sarah reads him his Bible, and then I pray with him. That’s our standard pattern, but sometimes we switch it up, or if one of us isn’t feeling well, the other will do both things.
In not so many words, I pray over Jakob and ask God the following things:
- Bless him. Bless his life abundantly. Help us to be a blessing to him.
- Keep him. Do not let him stray from You. Help us to teach him to follow You.
- Make Your face to shine upon him. Make him prosperous in everything he sets his mind to, and help him to be more financially sound than I have been.
- Give him peace. Help him to have the peace of God in his life, and help him to have peace tonight as he sleeps.
- Please give him an awesome wife like You have given me. (When Sarah prays over him, she leaves this out.)
- Above all, please draw him to You. Please allow him the opportunity to accept your Son as Savior at the earliest age possible.
Then I tell him that I love him. I give him a tight hug, a kiss goodnight, and I tuck him in.
Do you pray over your kids before bed? What things do find yourself praying for?