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 twenty-nine 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 twenty-nine with an important reminder to let God’s love shape both your words and your actions.
Know Real Love
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.“
1 John 3:18 (NIV)
How do you know if someone loves you? If someone says they love you but they don’t act like it, do you believe them? Why? What does genuine love look like? What is your criteria for the answer given? In what ways has God expressed His love for you? Do you believe Him? Why? Do you think the children (of any age) around you believe you love them? Why? When you have been corrected, by people or by God, has that been done in ways that you knew you were still loved? How? How will you love others in a way that they will know it to be genuine?
It seems that words only go so far when it comes to expressing love. We can say it all we want, but if our actions do not show love to others they will soon doubt our words. Children seem to be especially vulnerable as they try to determine if our words are true. Training up a child in the way they should go will generally require a good amount of correction. God’s training and discipline of His children is always done in the context of His love. When our service and sacrifice for others remains visible in the midst of correction, we help them know genuine love.
As you pray for a child of any age, ask God to help you know the depth of His love for you and for them. Pray that you would learn to love others with deeds and actions, in addition to words. Pray that you would pay attention to God’s discipline of you so you would know how to love others even in the midst of necessary correction. Pray for the courage to love fully, just as Christ has loved you. Pray for eyes that would see those who feel unloved and then pray for the wisdom to love them with the genuine love of Christ.