This summer I have been reading a number of Elisabeth Elliot’s books. (Her husband was martyred in the 1950’s while they were serving as missionaries in Ecuador.). In “The Shaping of a Christian Family: How My Parents Nurtured My Faith,” I was struck by the role of prayer in her parents’ lives and therefore their children’s lives. She talks about her father rising early for Bible study and prayer for the family every day and how he instructed the children as they got older in how to pray…for people around them, their future spouse and life work, and “any area of life where you find mistakes or trouble.”
Elisabeth’s mother shared about how she started praying for workers to enter the mission field after hearing a missionary speak when her children were in young adulthood, and eventually realized that that meant being willing to surrender her children (six of them!) to that call if it was the Lord’s will. Eventually all six of them served in foreign missions at some point.
These examples have been a good exhortation to me to pray more specifically for my children, and for situations and struggles in my own life. At the same time, I was also reminded of the truth in Hebrews about how Jesus is constantly praying for us, and knows my needs and the needs of my children even better than I:
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV
“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them”
Hebrews 7:25 ESV
He is the perfect pray-er! It brings me great comfort to know that someone who knows me so deeply is interceding on my behalf.
The words of one of the verses of “O, Holy Night” also go through my head:
“He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King!”