Most kids are not great at subtlety – especially regarding the things they want. Around birthdays or Christmas time, they make sure to let us know what gifts they want, whether by texting us photos, leaving magazines lying around, or just flat out telling us!
The truth is – our kids may think they know what the best gifts are. And while those things may make them happy for awhile, as parents, we’ll find that there is a gift we can give them that will stand the test of time. It’s nurture. When we nurture our kids well, we establish a legacy for them that will last long after we are gone.
Nurture is defined as the process of caring for and bringing forth the full development of someone or something. 1 Thessalonians tells us that to nurture our children well, we must encourage them that God has a plan for them, comfort them, help them overcome obstacles, and urge them to fulfill their God-given potential.
I know what you’re thinking. That sounds a lot easier than it is. So what’s the key? It’s prayer. The age-old fact is that God has always empowered blessing through effective prayer. Jesus taught us how to engage in effective prayer starting in Luke 11:2 when He said, “…“When you pray, say:…”
That alone makes it clear that when we pray, we must first say the right things. Now, don’t let this intimidate you! He doesn’t mean that your prayer needs to be formal. He just means that we must be intentional with what we are asking for.
Secondly, Jesus shows us that we must stay persistent. In Verses 5-8 He says in essence, “Suppose you have a friend who needs food. So one night, he knocks on the door, and you say, ‘Please don’t bother me. My family is already asleep.’ But he keeps on knocking. Eventually, you will get up and get him the food! Why? Not because you are such a great friend to him, but because of his shameless persistence.”
It is the same with us in prayer. When we keep on asking, keep on knocking, keep on hoping, our prayers are effective.
Third, we must seek God properly. In Verse 9, Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Finally, we must honor the spirit of fatherhood by nurturing legacy, as we mentioned at the beginning. Verses 11-13 says, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
God has great things in store for us, our children, and our children’s children. Together, let’s choose to nurture legacy through prayer.