Praying for children has been heavy on my heart during this current season of school and church buildings being closed with the need for social distancing, self isolation, and stay at home orders. I pray often that families will be able to shield children to some extent from the negative emotions that cling to this COVID-19 pandemic. This is day six of the devotions from my “The Heart of a Child” book to help each of us pray for a child of any age, including our age. Through time in prayer, this devotional journal was written to help you understand, and live, some important traits of living and praying with the heart of a child.
Here is day six with an important reminder to know that we, and all those around us, can return to God from wherever we have strayed or been scattered.
Return to God
“When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. “
Deuteronomy 30:1-3 (NIV)
Have you ever been lost or found it necessary to be away from familiar surroundings for an extended period of time? How did you feel? Why? Are there times when you begin to doubt if you could ever return to a place, or person, you once valued? Why? What does it take to return to a relationship you once rejected? How does your forgiveness of children, and yourself, help each of you to know you can return to God even after you stray? Are there people that you think are too far from God to ever return? What does God say? How does your return to God when you stray give hope to those watching you?
Many people, including children, find themselves estranged from one another and from God. Sometimes the separation is so great, or the reasons so personal, that we begin to think there is no way back. One of the most beautiful promises in the Bible is the promise of God that He will be found from wherever we are when we seek Him with our whole heart. There may be no message more powerful that we can communicate to our children than the message that there is always a way home.
As you pray for a child of any age, ask God to help you remember your journey to Him, including the times you have strayed and returned. Pray that the children around you, and the child within you, would live in the humility that allows for a full reconciliation of those who stray. Pray for a softening and removal of pride which keeps the wandering child from believing they can return to God. Pray for a practice, and acceptance, of forgiveness which can bring about a restoration once thought impossible.