revival in our families
John 17:15- "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one."
Her eyes filled with tears and her lips trembled as she abruptly paused. For ten minutes she had been sharing with me how her children, now grown, had rejected God, stumbled through drug addictions, and were now restored to faith in Christ. “All I knew to do during those dark years was pray.” She whispered as she dug through her purse for a tissue, “Always the burden weighed as I went through my day. My heart was continually crying out to God to save my children.” My own eyes burned with tears as I felt the pain of this mother’s heart. Later, I could only think how often I fail to pray with such urgency for my own children.
When our children are small, the stakes don’t seem as high. Sure, I have prayed for their safety since they were in my womb. I’ve prayed for protection against tragic accidents and many other frightening occurrences that are the reality of living in a broken world. But my prayers for their souls had been rather casual. I had not prayed as a mother who sees the spiritual war that is raging in her children’s hearts. It seems incomprehensible that the toddler tumbling around the living room floor has an enemy, not seeking to devour just his physical being, but ultimately seeking to devour his soul. Often, it isn’t until they fumble their way into adolescence that we start to realize the war that has been quietly raging all along. Then, our prayers change.
In this verse, Jesus prays for his followers, knowing that physical harm is imminent for these soon-to-be martyrs. He knew the dark days after his death would test their faith. What is striking is that he doesn’t pray that they would be delivered out of these tribulations, but rather, he prays they will be kept from the evil one. He knew that the greatest danger was not the world, or even death, for he would overcome both by the end of the week. He knew that the greatest danger was the destruction that the evil one would devise against their hearts and souls. And so he prayed, both for them, and for all of us who have followed after … “keep them from the evil one.”
If we want revival in our families, we must pray for our children as Jesus prayed for his disciples. There is work to be done in the hearts of these little, and not-so-little, disciples that God has entrusted to us. It is a work that can only be done by the Holy Spirit. We must have a sense of urgency, looking beyond the physical dangers, praying fervently and faithfully for their hearts and souls to be kept from the evil one.
Good Father, we pray today that you would do the work in our children’s hearts that only you can do. We pray that the seeds that are planted would find hearts that are soft and ready to receive. We do not ask that you take our children out of the tribulations of this world, but that you keep them from the evil one. Jesus, thank you for praying for us and for our children. Thank you, Holy Spirit for giving us the power to walk faithfully with Christ, and to teach our children to do the same.