Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Riverside prayer

When I think of all the things I could write about—things that have been so busy happening that they never bothered to materialize on the computer—I am overwhelmed. Every day my kids say and do things that are so cute, so disturbing, so hilarious, so instructive, that they demand being captured. Before beginning this blog, these things flowed like a waterfall, a steady stream that could be enjoyed but never caught. Beginning a project like this, I imagine myself cupping hands under that waterfall and hoping to catch it all. This, of course, would miss the point of enjoying the flow.

When I am in the mode of documenting important moments with my kids—ALL of them—I feel like Jesus’ friend Martha, so eager to get the carrots chopped up and into the soup that I neglect to be with my Guest. “Michael, Michael,” I can hear Him saying, “You are worried and upset many things [that you have missed writing about in the last several weeks]. But only one thing is needed.” (Apologies to Dr. Luke....)

I do want to spend more regular time here, where the rivers of childlike inspiration and parental desperation flow together, cupping hands, yes, but not to capture so much as to feel its shocking cold, to gawk at its transparency, to wonder and be refreshed. Much more will flow downstream than I could ever hold.

Today, despite all the unwritten stories begging to be documented, what I want more than anything is to pray for my kids.

God, please help them to be safe from all dangers—especially those more dangerous than loss of life. Deliver them from materialism, from the claustrophobia of self-absorption. Save them from the compulsion to please the audience of their peers. Rescue them from fear and its addictions: being right, looking good, coming out on top.

Make them citizens first of heaven, second of Earth, and third of their communities; may their contribution to our nation flow from these three loyalties. Teach them to value the differences in people, to crave new viewpoints and savor stories from less-heard voices. Help them to open their eyes and ears and hearts to the weirdos of the world and see, hear, love—Jesus.

Give them joy. Teach them to live for what they really want, beyond what they feel like, to set their course by the deep, silent yearning You have given them rather than the hollow cravings that shout for their attention. Help them acquire a taste for satisfying labor. When lesser options are more numerous and more obvious, instill in them the habit of choosing happiness.

Love them in ways they notice, or better yet, help them to notice all the ways You love them.

I love them so much, Lord. Help me be the kind of Daddy that makes palatable—even desirable—the idea of a Father-God.


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