raising children to be hope

Every night my wife and I pray with our kids as they go to bed.  It's been a sweet habit for all of us.  When Kathy and I pray, we often ask the Lord to give our children strength and courage to live for him as they grow. 

This morning I was watching the news about war around the world, about murders in our city, about the distressed economy everywhere.  So I sat down at our kitchen table, opened the Bible, and read about the sick behavior of a couple of priests.  Ugh.  But then, almost like finding the golden Willy Wonka ticket, I discovered a gem in the book of 1 Samuel.  Immediately after the section on the twisted priests there is a remarkable contrast… a wonderful hope.  The juxtaposition is almost shocking.  In the midst of a world of terror and violence and perversion there is a glimmer of hope.  1 Samuel 2:26 simply says: "As young Samuel grew taller, he also continued to gain favor with the LORD and with the people."  (NLT)

What a fresh breath for the clogged air.  And I am so encouraged.  This is what I pray daily for my children, and this is why I pray it.   I long for them to stand as keepers of hope for others in the midst of this often dark world.  I pray that as their bones and muscles and minds mature, that the Lord will give them his favor and that others will look on them and find encouragement to live well too.

The children and family ministry of our church has this verse as its
theme: "So Jesus grew both in height and in wisdom, and he was loved by
God and by all who knew him." (Luke 2:52)

This seems right to me.  What works for Jesus and for Samuel should be the right thing for my children.  The world holds in highest esteem those who stand with hope, for hope, in hope despite the circumstances around them.  No matter how pressing this world becomes for my kids, I pray that they will be treasured by God and be a source of inspiration for others. 

Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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