Raising Kids In Favor With God and Man

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52

BLYoder photoChristmas is over. Baby Jesus is born. It’s time to go on with our lives, our faith, go on with our families, and perception of the Christ.

God’s Word gives us few glimpses of Jesus between birth and age thirty. At the end the Christmas story in Luke 2, these tender words always bring wonder to my soul.

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52

As a young mother, these words were the hope I had for my children. I wanted my girl and young boys to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

I’ll be honest. Wishing your children will live as sincere, committed followers of Christ as kids and teens can be risky.  I’ve taught public high school.  It’s one thing to go to church and youth group, but it’s another thing to be a kid who really lives out your faith.  The whole be-kind-and-loyal-and-sexually-pure behavior is not the Microsoft clipartticket for being cool in high school. That’s not even throwing in the in the whole “I actually believe what they teach me at church” stuff.  Living this way can be a spiritual, emotional, and social death sentence. If you question that, spend a week in any high school as a fly on a wall. Then, let’s talk.

When my children were still young and pliable, I began praying Luke 2:52 over them at night. It wasn’t every night, but often.  My prayer? They didn’t need to be the coolest kids in school, but I hoped they would grow in maturity, stature (natural height, importance or reputation gained by ability or achievement) and in favor with God and others.

The secret prayer for my children is that they please their Father God and be respected by others.

The Message version of Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and Spirit, blessed by both God and people.”

This is still my prayer as my children are coming of age and making choices for themselves when I’m not around. My teens have had their share of heartaches in their growing up years. We’ve had tears when doing what is right doesn’t pay off, where their eyes have been opened to favoritism, social cruelty and gross moral corruption. In those moments, my prayer has been for God to give them wisdom.  In moments where favor from God or man seems to be lacking, my prayer becomes that growth will take place.

In these moments I’m reminded raising children to be Christ-like does not involve simplicity.  Attending youth group and singing for the elderly is only part of it.  The deeper moments in raising children comes in modeling our reactions when favor and blessing don’t come.  It’s speaking words of forgiveness when words cut deep. It’s pointing them to a God who loves them and has their complete life in their hands when the in-the-moment-circumstances seem unbearable. To a child, preteen and teenager, these moments are real.

Raising Christ-like children also involves helping them understand the power of scripture, in praying to a God who hears and cares for their every need, and walking in the way of Christ, who endured heartache, betrayal, and sorrow. Between the Christmas baby and the Easter Savior, Christ was a boy and a man just like my child. Though He also was God, He lived, walked and breathed every trial we do. Even as a teenager.

Praying God’s word is powerful. As I see my older children reaching adulthood, I see God growing them in favor with Him and others. When The Lord allows me to catch a glimpse of this, I bow in humble praise because I know it is by hard work, constant faithful prayers, and God’s grace, that it is so. Parenting children in 2012 is not easy. Many days in past years I’ve wanted to give up, to go the easy route, or to give pat answers. But in Him, we have persevered. In Him, He’s carried us when the going was too rough. In Him, He answered the prayers at just the right time.  It’s His power, despite our failures.

Wisdom first.microsoft clipart

Then stature.

Favor with God first

Then man.

Wanting my children to be like Jesus means all of it.   It’s risky to pray this, but I’m thankful I have and I continue to do so. We’re still in the children raising business.  With each year, the prayers are more frequent. Looking at 2013, part of my heart is honestly scared for world my children are entering.  But I’m reminded, again, they’re not mine, but His.

Dear Father, in this coming year, will you grow each of our children in divine wisdom, in stature, and in favor with You and others?  Will you cause them to be an influence to those around them for Your honor and glory, being tangible examples of a God of grace, hope, and love in an increasingly fragile world?  Make our children strong for the future you have for each of them, that people will know Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

5 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post. I too pray every single day that children grow up and be faithful and true Christians. I understand how this can be difficult with all the temptations all around but I know that with constant prayers and God’s help and guidance, I can raise my kids to be in favor with God and man.

    • Thank you Janet. You words of “constant prayers” is so true, in season and out of season, on the good days as well. May God pour richly into your children. Blessings for the new year!

  2. I’ve been praying the same scripture over my children for several years. And, I have glimpses of Him answering this prayer. 🙂

    • Kathy, I’m thankful you have the blessings of God answering this prayer for you. It’s one of the most rewarding yet faith-inspiring feelings there is. You pour much into your kids and the next few years for them, and you, will go so fast! Thanks for sharing.

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