My daughter was born with respiratory problems. She spent the first 4 days of her life in the EOPC at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, OK. There was an IV in her foot, breathing mask on her face and they kept her in a well lit pod you had to reach into in order touch her. It was scary. Thankfully, she recovered relatively quickly.
She came home with an IV in her head. We had to administer antibiotics daily. There I was, a first-time father, with a beautiful baby girl, completely powerless to take away the hurt, fix the problem and make her healthy. At one point, as I held her and she received another round of medicine, I realized, no matter how much I may want to, I will never be able to protect this girl from all the hurts this world can inflict on her.
It was an overwhelming thought.
When I’m overwhelmed I pray. While I’ll never be able to protect my daughter from a broken heart, or save her from the bad choices of stupid people, I know the One who can. So I turned my thoughts toward God and began to poor out my heart to Him. It’s a simple prayer I continue to pray for my family and myself to this day. It goes like this:
“Father, protect my family from sin, temptation & harm.”
Short, sweet, to the point – but there’s a depth of meaning just beneath the surface of every word.
Protect my family from SIN.
I’ll be honest. I’m a knucklehead. I’m going to make mistakes. Sometimes I’ll just step it in it. Others, I’ll deliberately run headlong the wrong direction simply because I want to. Either way, my sin has consequences. God forgives my sin. Even through His forgiveness sin often comes with consequences. I may deserve these consequences, but God, please rescue my wife and my kids from the consequences of my bad choices. Do what you want with me, but don’t make them pay the price for my bad choices.
Protect my family from TEMPTATION.
Let’s face it. We sin because we like it. If it were ugly, nasty or gross it wouldn’t be tempting. But it’s not those things. Sin is always attractive. It usually looks like a good idea at the time. We choose it. We stumble, not because we’re stupid, but we have an appetite for sin. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus prayed, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” What if we asked God to change our appetite for sin? What if we asked Him to give us a hunger and thirst for righteousness? What if sin became repulsive and righteousness became our driving thirst?
Protect my family from HARM.
Our world is a dangerous place. We’re going to face problems caused by other people, circumstances or simply because life happens. God can protect us from harm. Matthew 28:18, Jesus says, “…all authority has been given to me on heaven and earth.” Jesus has all authority over all things. He can use his power on your behalf. He can do this to fix things. He can do this to protect. He can do this to save. Sometimes, when we face the potential for harm Jesus will use His power on our behalf.
Matthew 28:20 says, “…and lo, I am with you always…” Sometimes Jesus doesn’t fix the problem. Sometimes He allows the hurt to happen. When He doesn’t use His power on your behalf He promises to walk through the situation with you. We may not understand, we may not agree, we may not like it, but sometimes the hurt is necessary. The Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” When Jesus doesn’t use His authority on your behalf to protect or to fix He will walk through the situation with you and produce in you a story that will ultimately benefit you and others. It becomes the epic tales we tell of battles won, insurmountable odds overcome and the glory of our God at work in us, through us and sometimes even in spite of us.
How will you pray for yourself and your family today? Perhaps this simple prayer is a good place to start.
“God, protect my family from sin, temptation & harm. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN.”